Article and photo from
Aurio Pierro, 3AD 1941-45
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Cold War Aftermath:
New Military Partnership with Russia
unthinkable only a few years earlier -
Starting with the Bosnia mission and its ending of the worst civilian
atrocities and ethnic cleansing in Europe since World War II.

An article written in 1996 by then Supreme NATO Commander
& former 3rd Armored Division CG (1988-89)

  WEB STAFF PREFACE: As he relinquished command of the 3AD in 1989 to serve as V Corps commander, it's hard to imagine how MG George Joulwan would have reacted if told that in six years he would be in command of Russian troops. But in the ultimate of ironies, that's exactly what happened. The Dayton Peace Accord of 1995 and initial stages of the multi-national occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina occurred during Gen. Joulwan's watch as Supreme NATO Commander from 1993 to 1997. The General, who retired from the Army in 1997, could be seen regularly on ABC-TV news shows as a consultant during the Iraq War of 2003. In 1988, he was the keynote speaker at the national reunion of the 3rd Armored Division Association in Scottsdale, AZ.


Below from Officer Review Magazine: June/July 1996


by General George A. Joulwan
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

The Dayton Pence Accord has resulted in the most historically significant military and political cooperation with Russia since World War II. The international community forged a peace accord bringing the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina to an end and simultaneously lowered the risk of a wider war. As a result of the Accord, NATO was charged with establishing the peace Implementation Force (IFOR) to achieve the military provisions of the peace agreement. NATO-Russian cooperation in IFOR has fostered mutual trust and understanding between the Russian military and their Alliance counterparts at all levels of IFOR planning and execution. Moreover, in jointly committing to implementing peace in Bosnia, NATO and Russia have taken historic steps in elaborating the post-Cold War framework for future military cooperation.


NATO and Russian military planners developed the special arrangements for this remarkable event in little more than two months. Their intense planning efforts quickly developed the unique arrangements for command and control of NATO and Russian troops deployed in cooperation to help implement the peace. For the first time, this arrangement mutually satisfied NATO and Russia's desire for a special relationship in a military operation.

The first step was taken on 15 October, 1995 when a Russian General Staff delegation, led by Colonel General Leontiy Shevtsov, 1st Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate, arrived at my headquarters at SHAPE to begin discussions on the Russian contribution to IFOR. General Shevtsov and his delegation received orientation briefings and began the planning and coordinating process with my NATO military planners. Colonel General Shevtsov visited 5th Allied Tactical Air Force (5 ATAF) Headquarters in Vicenza, Italy and the Headquarters of Ace Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in Germany. This orientation provided a basis for the Russian delegation to understand Allied Command Europe's command and control arrangements, general military tasks, and coordination procedures for the NATO forces involved in the IFOR mission. This foundation was important for the decisions that would follow on how to integrate NATO and Russian forces to take best advantage of this historic opportunity for joint cooperation.

The next step was development of a mutual understanding on common military principles for conducting the IFOR mission. After decades of Cold War separation, NATO and Russian military officers were able to agree on fundamental principles in just 13 days. On 28 October, General Shevtsov and I signed the first important agreement that would shape the decisions to develop the command and control arrangements between NATO and Russia. This agreement provided the basis for all aspects of military cooperation: unity of command, common mission, purpose and rules of engagement; impartiality; no dual key decision making process; and single systems of ground movement and air space control.

The third step centered on the crucial question of command and control. Colonel General Shevtsov and I achieved unity of command through an arrangement that placed the Russian contingent under my command, through Colonel General Shevtsov, who would serve as my Deputy for Russian Forces. In this arrangement, I assign all missions and tasks for the Russian contingent through the Deputy for Russian Forces. This command and control arrangement met Russian requirements not to be included in the integrated NATO military structure, but preserved the unity of command so essential to protecting our soldiers, both NATO and Russian. It was also agreed that the Russian Force contingent would operate within the boundaries of Multi-National Division (North). The MND(N) commander does not have the authority to assign missions or tasks to the Russian contingent. However, the MND commander would exercise tactical control over the Russian contingent.

Tactical control (vzaimodeistviye or 5 military interaction in Russian) would be facilitated by Russian liaison groups assigned to NATO headquarters and NATO liaison groups assigned to Russian headquarters. On 7 November, the formal Terms of Reference for the Deputy for Russian Forces was signed. On 8 November, Russian Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev and US Secretary of Defense Bill Perry agreed to the special, historical, and unprecedented, command and control arrangements for Russian forces contributing to the IFOR mission. Secretary Perry then presented the special agreement to NATO's North Atlantic Council.

Finally on 21 December, 1995, I issued the Operational Directive to the Russian Brigade. The Operational Directive established Russia's force contribution, area of responsibility, mission, and deployment schedule. It was agreed that a Russian airborne brigade would implement the military provisions of the Dayton Agreement in a critical 75 kilometer long section of the Zone of Separation. The Russians would operate in the so-called Sapna Thumb, an extremely difficult mission in an area that experienced some of the most bitter and intensive fighting during the war. Additionally, it was agreed, in a further show of solidarity, that NATO and Russian troops would conduct joint patrols of the Brcko area in the heart of the Posavina Corridor. As a demonstration of IFOR impartiality, it was further agreed the Russian brigade would establish one battalion headquarters on the territory of the Federation and one battalion headquarters on the Bosnian Serb side of the Zone of Separation. The Russian contingent had completely deployed by D+45 to begin the dangerous process of providing security for areas to be transferred from one side to the other.

These four steps moved NATO-Russian cooperation from theory to practice. NATO and Russia have forged a true partnership in implementing the military provisions of the Dayton Agreements. This partnership has sparked a new momentum in the overall NATO-Russian military relationship, a relationship for too long held up by the suspicions of the past. In just over 60 short days, NATO and Russia took giant steps forward in harmonizing military concepts, military terminology, and military planning procedures of two military systems separated by political realities for over 50 years. In these four historic stops, Europe has moved closer to the stability and security envisioned with the end of the Cold War.


The Russian Brigade Headquarters and battalions completed their deployments flawlessly as scheduled. Over 75 Russian strategic airlift flights and 11 trains simultaneously moved Russian forces into the theater as part of over 2,500 airlift flights, 280 trains, and 30 ships moving IFOR forces. The professionalism of the Russian military in planning and operating with NATO forces was critical to this successful deployment under extremely difficult conditions. Colonel General Shevtsov's operational-strategic planning staff worked closely with the SHAPE Movement Control Center to orchestrate the complex movement of forces into the theater. Additionally, a five-man Russian Air Force team was established at the 5th Allied Tactical Air Forces (5 ATAF) Headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, to work the details of air movement into the theater with their NATO partners. Another Russian Air Force team was located at the main airfield in Tuzla to coordinate the arrival of Russian forces.

Again, these liaison forces worked closely with their NATO partners to coordinate the deployment. Another Russian liaison group was located with headquarters of the Commander of MND(N), MG Bill Nash, U.S. Army, while a NATO liaison group was established with the Commander of the Russian Brigade, Colonel Lentsov. The professionalism of the Russian soldiers and the close coordination at all command levels ensured successful deployment of the 1,500-man brigade. This effort is typical of the remarkable cooperation going on today between Russian and NATO officers in accomplishing this difficult mission.

The Russian brigade is performing magnificently at the tactical level of the operation. They have established 12 check points along the Zone of Separation and created extensive coordination procedures with the brigades of MND(N) to include fire support and medical evacuation procedures. NATO and Russian soldiers are now conducting joint patrols, sharing intelligence, developing joint assessment of minefields, and impartially implementing the military provisions of the Dayton Accord. For example, by D+60, the Zones of Separation were marked, the enforcement of removing Bosnian and Serb military equipment from these zones had been executed, joint military commissions had been established, former warring factions continued to separate, demobilize, and move heavy equipment to cantonment areas.

On 7 February, Russian Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev and I had the privilege to visit MND(N) in Tuzla and Russian Brigade Headquarters in Uglevik. Minster Grachev and I stressed the importance of the mission and the continued cooperation between NATO and Russian forces. It was clear that NATO and Russian soldiers had become close partners in this peace enforcement mission, key to ensuring continued stability in southern Europe.


This joint NATO-Russian mission proves that the two former adversaries can work together and achieve peaceful goals through military cooperation. It has also widened mutual understanding and trust between NATO and Russian soldiers working in Uglevik, Vicenza, Tuzla, and Mons. This mutual trust is the direct result ­ a natural result ­ of a genuine partnership in a common mission. This common mission also has improved the frequency of contacts between NATO and Russia. Contacts which were as infrequent as once every 18 months are now a day to day reality as the IFOR mission continues. General Shevtsov's operational-strategic planning group plays a critical role in IFOR planning. But more importantly, his staff provides the General Staff in Moscow a window of understanding about NATO and a direct channel to address military issues of mutual interest, This is a giant step forward in the NATO-Russia partnership in the post Cold War era.

We can, and should, build upon the success in IFOR. IFOR can be the impetus for further Partnership for Peace initiatives or joint exercises in the spirit of NATO policy on cooperation with Russia. The lessons learned on NATO-Russia interoperability should be institutionalized into both the NATO and Russian military planning process through joint seminars, conferences, and working groups. These activities can build upon our successes of today and prevent these accomplishments from escaping the next generation of NATO and Russian military leaders. NATO nations, Russia, and all of Europe would benefit from the stability and predictability offered by such regular military interaction.


Looking ahead, 1996 will be a year of great challenge and promise for the Alliance. However, every course of action has risks, and no one can predict with certainty Europe's future security environment. But I believe we must be prepared to take risks for long-term peace. The rewards for careful and deliberate engagement can be great. The further development of a NATO-Russia special partnership is as critical to the development of a Europe, whole and free, as was the development of a special partnership in implementing and ensuring a just and lasting peace in Bosnia. As NATO, Russian, and other non-NATO troops jointly conduct their difficult mission in Bosnia, we must not only accept the challenge of implementing peace, but accept the challenge of answering to future generations in building that new Europe. NATO's historic cooperation with Russia in implementing the peace in Bosnia is only the beginning of a new NATO-Russia relationship. This cooperation can become an enduring framework for partnership into the next century.

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