Communications

Perhaps the greatest impediment to effective command and control by either side was the lack of adequate communications.74 Although both the ABiH and HVO were equipped with a variety of communications equipment—including radios, telephones, facsimile machines, and computers (linked with radios in the so-called packet system)—neither had such equipment in sufficient quantities, and neither could ensure the security of the communications means at their disposal. Both sides had fairly effective electronic warfare units, and all of the available modes of communication were subject to interception and constant monitoring. Thus, sensitive orders and information often could not be transmitted to subordinate elements. Moreover, maintenance deficiencies and enemy countermeasures often interrupted communications with higher headquarters, particularly for the HVO, which was surrounded and had to communicate by indirect means with the HVO Main Staff in Mostar. Achieving secure courier communications was seldom possible. Without reliable, secure communications, neither the HVO OZCB nor the ABiH III Corps commanders could exercise effective command and control over their often-fractious subordinate units. Strict adherence to the established laws of land warfare was impossible under such circumstances, as the atrocities committed by both sides attest.

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