Members of the Dutch, French and U.S. military watch as an Italian honour guard hoists the new Stabilisation Force flag during the Stabilization Force (SFOR) activation ceremony in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the 20 of December 1996.

The Stabilization Force (SFOR) was a NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Bosnian war. Although SFOR was led by NATO, several non-NATO countries contributed troops.


The stated mission of SFOR was to "deter hostilities and stabilise the peace, contribute to a secure environment by providing a continued military presence in the Area Of Responsibility (AOR), target and coordinate SFOR support to key areas including primary civil implementation organisations, and progress towards a lasting consolidation of peace, without further need for NATO-led forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina".[1]

Structure and history

SFOR was established in Security Council Resolution 1088 on December 12, 1996. It succeeded the much larger Implementation Force IFOR which was deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 December 1995 with a one-year mandate. The commanders of the SFOR, who each served one-year terms, were General William W. Crouch, General Eric Shinseki, General Montgomery Meigs, Lt. General Ronald Adams, Lt. General Michael Dodson, Lt. General John B. Sylvester, Lt. General William E. Ward, Major General Virgil Packett and Brigadier General Steven P. Schook

Troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002, and to approximately 7,000 by the close of 2004. During NATO's 2004 Istanbul Summit the end of the SFOR mission was announced.

It was replaced by the European Union's EUFOR Althea, on 2 December 2004 at NATO HQ, Camp Butmir, Sarajevo, B-H.

Sentry at "Mud" Govern by United States Army by Col. Gary N. "Butch" Cassidy. This painting represents typical duty for the task force.

SFOR was divided into three zones of operation:

The three AOs were known collectively as Multi-National Divisions until the end of 2002 where they were reduced in scope to Multi-National Brigades.

SFOR operated under peace enforcement, not peacekeeping, rules of engagement. For example, it was cleared, in 1997, to neutralize Serb radio-television facilities.[2] During its mandate, SFOR arrested 29 individuals who were charged with war crimes. Those arrested were transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands.

US service members serving in SFOR were awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the NATO Medal.

SFOR operated as part of Operation Joint Guard and Operation Joint Forge. As time progressed, the numbers of troops allotted to SFOR declined. On December 2, 2004, SFOR disbanded and its functions were assumed by military units from the European Union.

Member forces

The SFOR operated under the code names Operation Joint Guard (December 21, 1996 - June 19, 1998) and Operation Joint Forge (June 20, 1998 - December 2, 2004). NATO nations providing troops included:

 Bulgaria (member since March 2004)
 Czech Republic (member since 1999)
 Estonia (member since March 2004)
 Hungary (member since 1999)
 Latvia (member since March 2004)
 Lithuania (member since March 2004)
 Poland (member since 1999)
 Romania (member since March 2004)
 Slovakia (member since March 2004)
 Slovenia (member since March 2004)
 United Kingdom
 United States

Non-NATO nations providing troops included:

 Albania (joined NATO in 2009)
 New Zealand


  1. "SFOR MISSION". SFOR HQ Sarajevo: NATO. 14 January 2003. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  2. "Physical Attack Information Operations in Bosnia". Airpower.maxwell.af.mil. 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-08-10.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to SFOR.
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