Developing higher military education (HME) is embedded in the overall development of modern armed forces. This development normally reflects adaptation to changes in the external strategic environment, changes in military technology and doctrine, and changes in the societal environment of the armed forces.
While this is true for armed forces with an unbroken tradition, the pattern differs when a given military’s development had been interrupted by historical events. This article will focus on the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), which constitutes a unique case in itself. The particular political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the break-up of Yugoslavia, the ensuing war of 1992–95 and the General Framework Agreement on Peace (“Dayton Agreement”) of December 1995 had led to a rather de-centralized state structure, with two largely autonomous political “Entities” that each kept the armed forces they had established during the war, leading to the de facto military division of BiH. Thus, when the West initiated a defense reform process in BiH in 2002, it aimed first at establishing state-level control over these armed forces (2003), and then at merging them into one single military force for the nation (2005), with other issues mostly put on the back burner.
This was also the case with regard to military education. While a coherent system for the training and education of the now joint state-level armed forces of BiH would have been a key element for completing defense reform, it has not yet been established. There
have been serious attempts, but up to this point they have failed.
Thus, this article will:
Briefly outline the political and military situation in BiH, including the lack of a coherent system of military education
Present early initiatives within the context of defense reform as well as parallel to it
Describe the initiatives undertaken in establishing higher military education as well as the resistance they met
Assess the process with respect to its impact, including the causes of its failure.