December 1, 2022
Since its formation, the Armed Forces of BiH has served with distinction and honor at home and abroad. Its contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations across Africa solidified its reputation as a professional military capable of operating in complex environments. The Armed Forces of BiH represent the best of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a patriotic and multi-ethnic team of volunteers who, despite attempts by some to undermine the institution, excels in every task assigned to it.
The United States has a deep relationship with the Armed Forces of BiH. For over a decade, the Armed Forces of BiH and American forces fought and bled together in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the Armed Forces of BiH is a close NATO partner and contributes to the NATO mission through the Partnership for Peace Program. With this in mind, I congratulate the members of the Light Infantry Battalion Group (LIBG) for their distinguished performance during NATO Evaluation Level 2, and for becoming a designated unit in the NATO Partnership for Peace pool of forces. The United States is proud to have been part of the LIBG’s development, supporting it through training and by providing it with $11.5 million worth of equipment, which has enhanced the LIBG’s combat readiness.
America’s partnership with the Armed Forces of BiH
America’s partnership with the Armed Forces of BiH is ironclad, forged over years of close cooperation. Since 2003, the Armed Forces of BiH has maintained a rock-solid military-to-military relationship with the Maryland National Guard through the State Partnership Program. American cooperation with the Armed Forces of BiH also takes the form of U.S. Security Assistance programs. Recent grants include the procurement of four Huey II helicopters, 86 Humvees, and the equipping of the LIBG, which totaled of over $60 million.
The United States regularly invests in the professional military education of AFBiH personnel, sending approximately 25 members of the Armed Forces of BiH to various military institutions across the United States each year. Since its establishment, the United States has been the Armed Forces of BiH’s number one partner. There is no other country more invested in BiH and in supporting the Armed Forces of BiH than the United States, and my country is proud of that.
And the United States will do more. Today, I am pleased to announce that this year the United States is committing an additional $17 million to support the Armed Forces of BiH. This new funding includes $5 million for cybersecurity infrastructure and training for the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces of BiH.
This will help build the capacity and resilience of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of BiH to defend against malicious attacks on their IT networks.
The United States will also continue to invest in developing the Armed Forces of BiH’s aviation capabilities. This year, we are committing $12 million toward the procurement of advanced helicopter simulators. We are also investing an additional $23 million in new Huey II helicopters to further modernize the Armed Forces of BiH’s helicopter fleet.
These investments are testaments to the continuing commitment of the United States to the Armed Forces of BiH. Through the decades of combat deployments, training, and cooperation, the United States has remained Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strongest and most steadfast security partner.
The people of this country can count on the United States to remain committed to our partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina whether confronting political instability within BiH or confronting the acute threat of malign actors from outside BiH.