At the recommendation of Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh H. Shelton, President Bill Clinton has approved the request of Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command Gen. Wesley K. Clark to deploy U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) unit in support of NATO's Operation Allied Force.
The President's approval of the deployment constitutes an offer to NATO of these assets. NATO will consider the offer this week. After that, and pending further consultations with the host government, the units would deploy to Albania. The President has not yet made a decision on the employment of these assets.
In anticipation of NATO's acceptance of this offer, the U.S. European Command has already begun preparations for the movement of the units from Germany to Albania. It is anticipated that it will take up to ten days to deploy the units.
U.S. Army, Europe has designated the deploying units as Task Force Hawk. These 24 Apache AH-64 helicopters (two battalions) and 18 MLRS launchers (one battalion) will enhance NATO's ability to conduct tactical strikes against specific Federal Republic of Yugoslavia units in Kosovo, especially during periods of limited visibility and poor weather.