SFOR - BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Stabilization Force OP Palladium
The NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) is the successor to Implementation Force (IFOR). Although force levels have been reduced in recent years as a result of continued progress towards stability and efforts towards reintegration into the European Union, its overall mission continues to be its support towards a lasting consolidation of peace through its continued military presence and support to primary civilian implementation organizations. Canada’s major military contribution, known as Operation PALLADIUM, was in the form of a Task Force consisting of a National Command Element, National Support Element, and a task organized Battle Group; this Task Force rotated every six to seven months.
The last maneuvers unit to conduct tactical operations was the Royal Canadian Dragoons Battle Group, Operation PALLADIUM Rotation 13, from September 2003 until March 2004. The Dragoons Battle Group consisted of a reconnaissance squadron (A Squadron), mechanized infantry company (B Company 1 RCR), composite reserve infantry company (C Company), Headquarters Squadron, and Battle Group Headquarters. Canada’s commitment to SFOR was eventually reduced to a reconnaissance squadron group, based upon A Squadron RCD, during the last two-months of Rotation 13 because of SFOR restructuring.
SFOR restructuring introduced a new type of unit was within the framework of Multi National Task Force South West known as Liaison and Observation Teams (LOTs). A LOT is a group of approximately 12 soldiers who live and work from rented civilian accommodation within the community they are responsible for providing the dynamic, responsive and locally based 'public face' of SFOR. The purpose of LOT is to be more accessible to citizens and authorities, which want to make a better Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Dragoon Battle Group played a vital role in the development of these teams, as it was tasked to develop and stand-up LOT’s predecessor, the multi-national MOST (Monitoring, Observation, Surveillance and Targeting) Team. In total, there are more than 40 LOT houses across Bosnia and Herzegovina providing daily information exchange with the local authorities and communities.
The Regiment has played a considerable part in the Balkans, namely its first Battle Group deployment as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in 1994/1995, to its rotational deployments of Cougar and subsequently Coyote-based reconnaissance squadrons (Implementation Force (IFOR) and Op PALLADIUM Rotations 2, 3, 8). Of note, A Squadron RCD was deployed to Macedonia for a short period during its tour on Rotation 8 in order to reinforce the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) because of instability in the Tetovo Valley.