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At the hub

Providing equipment and materials for both combat operations and construction work is a major logistical operation in Bosnia.

The task is handled by 6 Headquarters Squadron under the command of Major Richard Burnett.

Everything needed must either be shipped in from the UK via Split in Croatia, or sourced locally if it is cheaper.

'We are trying to shift from the Army's traditional 'just-in-case' policy to operate a 'just-in-time' approach,' says Burnett. 'But rapidly changing priorities mean the reality of what we do means being prepared to put things on the ground only to find that plans have changed.'

In addition, the size of NATO's force in Bosnia has dropped significantly under SFOR and the scope of its work has changed. This means that much equipment, including plant and vast amounts of Bailey-type panel bridging, can now be decommissioned and taken back to the UK.

'At the moment we have around £9M worth of 'green kit' in Bosnia. Much of this was brought in when the force was three times bigger,' explains Burnett.

Project Basha, the reorganisation of the resources operation into the north port of Split, is central to his plans. The port is the main route into Bosnia for all equipment and military hardware.

'Project Basha is costing £1.27M but should save the Army around £6M in warehouse rental over the next five years,' explains Captain Steven Davies, who is in charge of the project for 5 Field Squadron. 'But the locals are also keen to boost tourism by reducing the military presence around Split.'

The plan is to centralise all stores around the Split area into one location. Main work will see accommodation for 375 soldiers constructed in a warehouse and the old port canteen refurbished to feed them. The Army already has use of around 80% of the port facilities in addition to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's floating warehouse Port Grange, and with reorganisation should make better use of space.

'We are trying to speed construction,' explains Davies. 'We had intended to relocate accommodation by 24 June but we should now make it by 1 May and save around £100,000 in warehouse rent.'

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