Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has authorized the alert of U.S.-based B-52 bombers and air refueling aircraft to support possible NATO operations in the event of noncompliance by the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the agreements negotiated to end the violence in Kosovo.
These U.S.-based aircraft would be on alert to meet NATO mission requirements and allow other B-52 and tanker aircraft currently forward deployed in the United Kingdom to return to their home bases where they will be available to meet U.S. national security requirements around the globe.
The repositioning of these air assets will have no significant impact on U.S. ability to support NATO air power requirements for Kosovo should it become necessary. The alert posture assigned, combined with the range of the B-52, will enable the United States to meet any NATO tasking. NATO continues to have approximately 300 aircraft in the region ready for possible operations in Kosovo.