Mines, vengeful soldiers and Islamic militants all await U.S. troops in Bosnia, but their biggest challenge may be dealing with high civilian expectations, U.S. officers say.

"I'm not sure all those (expectations) will match what we're going to do," Col. John Brown, chief of staff of the 1st Armored Division, said after a four-day tour of northeastern Bosnia, where U.S. NATO forces will patrol."We're here to implement the peace agreement signed by all of these parties, and I hope that matches the expectations of all the parties," the Army's reconnaissance chief said.

Brown's 10-man team, based in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, scouted airfields, staging grounds, burned-out villages, potential minefields, U.N. bases and front lines in the third of several reconnaissance missions.

The date for the NATO deployment has not yet been set. The information gathered by the team will be used to decide where to site U.S. weapons, offices and barracks.

Tuzla area officials said they expect investment, reconstruction and friendship for the city whose industry has stagnated during the war. Newspapers have hailed the U.S. arrival as a boon for the local economy.

Brown said he expected U.S. Army engineers would improve "the civilian infrastructure . . . and that the nation will be able to take advantage of that during the time we're here and when we leave."

But he added that civilians may be expecting too much. He apparently was wary of the kind of resentment faced by U.N. peace-keep-ers who failed to live up to expectations during their three-year mission.

"We will take the steps available to us to make sure that all the populations and the factions are aware of the rules of engagement that we're operating under," Brown said. "We would also expect that the governments involved do that for their own populations."

Brown declined to reveal any conclusions from his trip or confirm whether the 20,000-member U.S. NATO mission - dubbed Task Force Eagle - will put its headquarters at the Communist-built Tuzla military airbase - many parts of which are still mined.

He said the U.S. mission will bring light, mobile military vehicles along with armor, and will use "a strong mix of air assets" - likely meaning attack helicopters and fighter jets.

The 1st Division soldiers also will have "very long-reaching" artillery capable of hitting hostile forces, and radars capable of detecting shells as they are fired at the Americans.

"We've got a lot of folks here who, for many years, have been settling their arguments with guns. There are a lot of lost land mines. There are very rough . . . roads. And there's a Balkan winter to cope with," Brown said. "It will be a difficult mission."

In the past three years, several thousand Bosnian and foreign Islamic fundamentalist fighters, known as mujahedeen, have joined forces with the Muslim-led government against rebel Serbs. Some reportedly are opposed to the NATO mission and are based near the area to be patrolled by Americans.

Brown said U.S. officials and U.S. Army planners know roughly where the mujahedeen fighters are located, but insisted they do not pose a greater threat than mines or vengeful civilians themselves.

"That element has been mentioned among all the (risk factors), not greater than others," he said. "We are aware of that and we will take all the precautions."

NATO intends to take over the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Bosnia by January, and the U.S. mission will include soldiers from non-NATO countries, such as Sweden and Pakistan.