1996 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security



Army Lieutenant General Patrick Hughes
Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
Senate Armed Services Committee
1 August 1996

I am pleased to provide the military intelligence perspective on developments in Bosnia and the challenges that face the military intelligence community. In my testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February, I stated that the situation in Bosnia was likely to become more complex as the implementation of the Dayton Accords moved from the military phase into the civil phase. This has indeed been the case with economic revitalization, freedom of movement, refugee repatriation, handling of indicted war criminals, and elections taking center stage. The NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) has been a success. Through its execution of the military aspects of the Dayton Accord, IFOR is helping to establish viable conditions for the further implementation of the accord. The former warring factions have generally complied with the ceasefire provisions and other elements of the peace settlement. Indeed, no significant military activity has been conducted by any of the parties since IFOR's arrival in December 1995. The implementation of the military provisions of the accord, along with IFOR's presence, have effectively rendered the forces of the former warring factions incapable of conducting significant military operations without considerable lead time. Essentially, IFOR has overseen the withdrawal of Bosnian Federation and Bosnian Serb forces along the zone of separation and the demobilization of those forces to nearly half of their wartime strength. All former warring faction air defense radars have been shut down. There has been no significant air activity. Most prisoners of war have been released. IFOR has overseen the movement of forces and heavy weapons into designated cantonment areas. Some resistance, including attempts to hide weapons and other equipment, have been detected. When faced with a determined IFOR resolve, the FWF's have complied. However, compliance has become more selective, and foot-dragging by the FWF's has become more pronounced. This has required constant vigilance and a firm hand by IFOR. The main hazards facing IFOR remain: land mines, accidents and random acts of violence, and the threat of terrorism. The force must also guard against attacks by indirect fire weapons, such as mortars. Such attacks remain a possibility. Since my testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February, the threat environment for IFOR has increased slightly primarily due to the steps taken to implement the civil aspects of the Dayton Accord. Pressure to remove indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic from power has succeeded in securing his resignation from both the Presidency of the Republika Srpska and the leadership of the Serbian Democratic Party. Nonetheless, the overall effect of Karadzic's withdrawal on Bosnian Serb policy may be limited since he has been replaced by Karadzic-loyalist, Dr. Biljana Plavsic. In addition, Karadzic and Bosnian Serb Army commander General Ratko Mladic, remain popular figures among the Bosnian Serb population, and discussions about the use of IFOR to arrest them have resulted in direct and public threats being made against the NATO-led force by the Bosnian Serbs. The status of indicted war criminals is but one of several key issues affecting IFOR. The run-up to the country-wide elections scheduled for 14 September shows the primary nationalists parties which currently head their respective ethnic communities: the Muslim-led Party of Democratic Action (SDA -- President Izetbegovic's party), the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS -- Radovan Karadzic's former party), and the Bosnian Croat, Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ -- Kresimir Zubak's party), are likely to hold sway. Complicating matters has been the issue of the participation of the SDS in the election, with the SDS leadership likely to impede implementation of the Dayton Accords or engineer a popular Serb boycott of the elections should it be banned from the ballot. The Muslim-Croat Federation remains a tenuous arrangement of grudging accommodation. As I stated in February, it was our belief that the Bosnian Croats would continue to work toward "de facto" integration with Zagreb. Bosnian Croat moves to retain their self-proclaimed state of "Herzeg-Bosna" in violation of the Dayton Accord is indicative of the Bosnian Croat reluctance to cede real authority to the Federation. For their part, the Muslims have insisted on maintaining separate civilian control of the Bosnian Government Army and not subordinate it to the President of the Federation. In addition, some key functions remain dual-hatted between the Bosnian Government and the Federation. The city of Brcko, in northeast Bosnia, the status of which was deferred at Dayton, remains a significant flashpoint. As you recall, retaining control of the Posovina corridor was and remains the key strategic objective of the Bosnian Serbs. The corridor serves as the link between the eastern and western halves of the Republika Srpska and maintaining full control of Brcko, which straddles the corridor, and its environs, is key to that objective. The Bosnian government would at the very least like to ensure the return of refugees and economic transit rights through Brcko -- both of which may be resisted by the Bosnian Serb side. There appears to be some, but precious little maneuver room between the demands of both sides. Dissatisfaction on this key territorial issue could sow the seeds for future conflict in the area. Under the freedom of movement provisions of the accord, the desire of Bosnian Muslim refugees to return to their home regions, either to visit relatives and grave sites or to permanently relocate, has resulted in clashes between local Serbs and returning Muslims. On occasion, IFOR troops have had to intervene to prevent serious violence. To date, movement of displaced persons across the Inter-entity boundary line has been minimal, and few refugees have resettled in areas controlled by the other ethnic groups. These examples illustrate the continuing challenge facing the international community and point to a trend toward de facto partition of Bosnia into at least two, if not three parts. This trend has represented a "slide" rather than a "rush" toward partition, the results of which could potentially be confirmed by the upcoming election unless more moderate political elements, which are currently weak and fragmented, are given a fair chance at challenging the three main political parties. Even this, however, may not be enough to avoid practical partition. Given the fact that the strategic goals of the main political protagonists have not changed, continued international engagement and pressure, over some period of time, will be required to proceed with the work of trying to establish a viable Bosnian state. Without such continued engagement, it is, in my opinion, likely the former warring factions will turn once again to violent conflict in an attempt to achieve their goals. On the subject of intelligence challenges relating to Bosnia, it is difficult to discuss specific aspects of this issue in this open forum. In general, the military intelligence community has adopted an approach that differs significantly from our normal doctrine, which was designed for a high-intensity, mobile battlefield supporting conventional warfighting. Peace implementation missions such as the one in Bosnia require a different allocation and use of resources. IFOR has brought together a unique coalition of NATO and non-NATO forces, which demand a "common view of the situation." This has ushered in significant changes in how the military intelligence community supports the force. This is especially true in the area of releasability and dissemination of intelligence and in the level of cooperation, especially among NATO intelligence elements. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the application of many other sensors and sources to the unusual circumstances in Bosnia and the surrounding region, and the use of advanced automation and telepresence to ensure connectivity from the operational to the strategic level, are indicative of some of the many changes in military intelligence support. We have begun to discuss and plan for post-IFOR intelligence support, but a firm plan will not be in place until we discuss the issue with our allies this fall. Specific intelligence challenges that IFOR and the United States will face in the future require a more in-depth treatment in closed session. I will be pleased to return to discuss this issue in such a forum at your convenience. (end text)