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DoD NewsBriefing: General John J. Sheehan, USMC, CINC-USACOM

Presenters: General John J. Sheehan, USMC, CINC-USACOM
August 01, 1995 1:45 PM EDT

Tuesday, August 1, 1995 - 1:45 p.m.

[Also participating in the briefing was Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ATSD/PA]

Mr. Bacon: As part of General Sheehan's briefing, he's going to show a briefvideo. For those of you with television stations or networks, we have copiesof the video back in DDI. You can get a copy from Ms. Pat Toombs afterwards.

[Video Shown]

Moderator: Welcome to the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort PolkLouisiana, and COOPERATIVE NUGGET '95 -- a multinational military exerciseconducted as part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Designed to buildmutual trust and promote interoperability between NATO nations and theirEuropean neighbors, the Partnership for Peace program is a major initiativeaimed at enhancing security and stability in Europe. PFP expands militarycooperation throughout Europe, increases stability, and diminishes threats to apeaceful continent.

 

The program works to strengthen relationships among allies, and promotescommitment to the security of the European continent and its people.

 

General Sheehan: Partnership for Peace is a major NATO initiative that hasbeen in progress now for the last couple of years. It's designed to create theprocess that allows the European nations who were part of the former-SovietUnion to participate through military exercises in an overall improvement ofthe security situation in Europe. It allows the military to create thedialogue that's necessary to develop a European identity and a securityidentity.

 

Moderator: During three weeks of intensive training, more than 4,000soldiers -- from three NATO nations and 14 Partnership for Peace countries --will take part in this, the 6th PFP exercise, and the first of its kind to beheld on American soil. COOPERATIVE NUGGET is one of nine Partnership for Peaceexercises to be held this year -- along with almost 150 related activities.All of these events are designed to achieve specific training goals NATOnations and their partnership countries are working toward.

 

General Sheehan: This, again, allows the Partner nations to participate,albeit at a tactical-level -- platoon- and company-level -- that allows them tobe exposed to interoperability issues and standards of training that will allowthem to bring back those standards to the nation to improve theinteroperability, and eventual inclusion in the NATO process.

 

Moderator: Fort Polk, the Joint Readiness Training Center, or JRTC, is oneof the world's premier military training facilities. In addition tostate-of-the-art technology -- such as the Multiple Integrated Laser EngagementSystem, used to assess casualties -- the JRTC training staff has developedrealistic scenarios and tactical situations based on lessons learned duringrecent military operations.

 

During the exercise, soldiers will practice communication procedures anddevelop skills used for combined peacekeeping and humanitarian reliefoperations. The scenario for COOPERATIVE NUGGET centers on a fictional borderdispute between two hypothetical countries.

 

The exercise is conducted in accordance with current U.S. Army, NATO, and UNtraining methods, and is aimed at army companies and platoons. Among taskingsCOOPERATIVE NUGGET participants will perform are locating and clearing landmines, and establishing checkpoints.

 

General Sheehan: These troops will be trained to conditions and standardsthat, I think, you would normally expect for any organization that would benecessary to achieve in order to participate in humanitarian operations. Ithink the important issue is that we are beginning a process that allows themto be exposed to these kinds of standards.

 

Moderator: Having participated in COOPERATIVE NUGGET, PFP Forces will beprepared to conduct military operations alongside their NATO counterparts.This preparation will stand forces from both groups in good stead and they jointogether to respond to a variety of contingencies.

 

COOPERATIVE NUGGET is but a small step toward making NATO the selectivemilitary force for extending security and stability into Eastern and CentralEurope. If Partnership for Peace succeeds, the security of the continent maywell be guaranteed as we move into the 21st Century.

 

General Sheehan: I think any time you can get organizations from othernations to participate in joint training it's a tactical evolution; and you canbring the ministers of defense in; then, I think, you add to the understandingthat's so necessary for a much more stable world.

 

Moderator: NATO has successfully kept the peace since 1949. The cornerstoneof that success is centered on NATO's member nations working together as aunified force. In light of events in the post-Cold War era, the Alliance iscommitted to maintaining its relevance in a changing international securityenvironment.

 

The activities you observed during your visit to COOPERATIVE NUGGET are a keycomponent in NATO's continuing transformation.

[End of video]

General Sheehan: . .. I'd like to go through the first chart.

As was indicated, we have three NATO nations that are forming the core ofthis, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom; 14 Partnership forPeace nations; and 11 observers. Those are the countries that are indicated inthe chart that you have before you. It starts on the 8th of August --actually, this Sunday. Arriving at Norfolk, we have a number of ministers ofdefense, relatively high civilians and military coming from the Partnership forPeace nations. Their intent is to host them at Norfolk, for about a day or so,to kind of expose them, not to macro-level kinds of things, but, very frankly,what we're going to show them is barracks, how troops live, how troops train --the things you would ordinarily expect for an exposure and an understanding andappreciation of what the American way of life is all about.

The opening ceremony is on the 8th of August. Right now, scheduled to open itup is Field Marshal Vincent, who is the Chairman of the Military Committee forNATO. They then -- from the 9th to the 15th -- go through situational trainingexercises as you saw here. Those are graded lanes, where they're taught theskills that are kind of necessary -- which you would find in a Chapter VIIoperation.

The 18th, they helicopter into the area. From the 18th to the 23rd, the fieldtraining exercise is conducted out in the field, with closing ceremonies on the26th.

We have a number of ministers of defense that are attending. There will be amedia day -- I think it's the 11th of August. I would encourage you to go downto see it. It is really a unique opportunity to see a lot of different nationsparticipating. This is the first time we've done this in the United States.It's being done through my SACLANT hat, but being executed through my USACOMhat. So there's some savings and utility in that part of the process.

The participants you see here... It's a 51-man platoon -- per Partnership forPeace nation. What you see is a 40-man platoon; two liaison reps -- a lot ofthat's required; two logisticians; public information from the countries. Thisis a very big deal in a lot of these Partnership for Peace nations, from a homenews perspective. We have four observer/controllers to control whattranspires; and a chaplain per platoon. It's a total of 51 people per unit.

The task organization you see, it's essentially the platoons are broken down.As you might expect, the interaction of some of these forces -- it's the firsttime they're interacting in a positive, in a friendly way as opposed to in aconfrontational way.

Total people -- 3,782.

Let me make some explanations on the exercise overhead chart. COB -- that'stypical Pentagon for civilians on the battlefield. So we have room for acouple of extra if anybody here wants to sign up.

The EMC and the ESG -- that's the Exercise Maneuver Control and Support Groupto handle the exercise -- that's most of the U.S. personnel who are already atFort Polk.

The cost of this is $6 million -- $2 million is for transportation, and $4million is for the ordinance and other kinds of things you'd use during thistimeframe to train people.

That's pretty much where we are. I would encourage you to come down and seeit. It's a unique opportunity. It's the first time, as I said before, we'rebringing Partnership for Peace nations to the United States, and I think it's areal positive step forward.

Q: General, three months ago, Moscow agreed -- finally, agreed -- to join PFP.Two months ago, the Russian defense minister didn't even send a representativeto Brussels to take part in a meeting between NATO and PFP defense ministers.Now, Russia isn't even an observer here. Why?

A: Part of it has to do with the timing. This has been in planning now forsome five months. There was a timeline that we had established. Just becausewe have sent liaison teams to each of the Partnership for Peace nations overthe last four months in terms of training standards, equipment accountability,all those kinds of things. Because Russia did not sign the Partnership forPeace agreement until very recently, very frankly, they missed the cutoff.

Q: But there was no way they could send a 51-man...

A: No. Right now, it's... We had a couple of other nations who would like toattend. It's just that they didn't reach a decision in their particularcountry until after the cutoff. There is some preparation.

For example, every nation that arrives has to sign a status of forcesagreement and all those kinds of things.

Q: So it's not their decision?

A: No.

Q: How do you judge if this exercise is a success? Do they have a particularobjective that they have to complete? Or is it just, basically, "If everyoneshows up," it's a success?

A: The training, Jamie, as you know -- from probably having been down invarious exercises -- it's a telescoping kind of capability.

The observers/controllers have the ability to raise the requirements for aparticular lane that somebody's being put through. So it can start at kind ofthe basic-level, and move up to an advanced- kind of capability. That's partof why we've had liaison teams going into each of these nations, to kind ofassess where are they in the training level.

The intent is that these forces should be able to operate at thecompany-level, so that if they were put in a Chapter VII-type operation, therewould be interoperability in terms of tactics, techniques, and procedures, andalso from a communications perspective.

So, from a troop-level, the criteria is their ability to operate. From apolitical- level, it's the ability to bring these nations together for thefirst time in the United States, to enhance this interoperability from apolitical perspective also.

Q: Among those civilians on the battlefield, will you have somebody playingthe part of Christiane Amanpour?

A: We talked to Tom Johnson at CNN. He said she was unavailable -- becauseshe's in Bosnia, I believe.

Q: Seriously, will there be people playing the media, and coverage on thefield, and that sort of thing?

A: Yes. It is the same standards that we put U.S. Forces through when we runan Operations Other Than War battlefield exercise at Fort Polk. It's the samething. Much of this is similar to what we did for U.S. Forces that we'retraining in replacing to go to Haiti.

Q: Like refugees...

A: Yeah. Refugees, all those kinds of things.

Q: Is Secretary Perry, or the Deputy Secretary, going to be there toobserve?

A: Secretary Perry will be there to greet the ministers when they arrive. Ibelieve, it's on the 8th. I'm not exactly positive... Yes, it is the 8th.

Q: Just as a general rule, is the spectrum of training shifting towards moreOOTW-type of training?

A: In the Partnership for Peace program, it is, right now, focused onpeacekeeping operations. This is what was agreed to among the Partnership forPeace nations in Brussels, at the last meeting. Eventually, they will migratetowards what I would call Article 5-type operations, but that is a ways off.

Q: Fort Polk in August, is that some way of discouraging the Partners...

A: No, actually, Fort Polk is probably one of the best training centers wehave in the United States for this type of activity.

Q: The climate there is not exactly what the Poles and Lithuanians areexpecting.

A: They're actually looking forward to coming.

Q: Is this going to be a best case scenario, where both sides involved in apeacekeeping have agreed to peace? Or have you taken into account any of thebad lessons you've learned in Bosnia, where these people might get shot at?

A: We have invited the UN as observers -- not as part of the dual-key process.So... [Laughter]

Q: According to the Bosnia situation, if there is a need for expandedairstrikes around Gorazde -- or if it's approved by the NAC, around the otherenclaves -- what type of air assets would have to come from the U.S.? Have youactually designated any air assets? And can tell us, specifically, what typeof planes would have to beef-up those forces over there now?

A: Clearly, the 40104 calls for a wide range of capability from electronicsupport aircraft to air-to-ground aircraft. That is going through the processright now -- on what they call the ACTREQ/ACTWARN-process -- through NATO, andthe U.S. is prepared right now to provide the initial [tranche] of air supportaircraft, or electronic aircraft. The EA-6B's are set up initially rightnow.

Q: What about Joint Stars?

A: There's been no decision made in JSTARS.

Q: Has there been a request for Joint Stars?

A: There has been no decision that I know of from a JSTARS perspective. As youknow, it's not an operational aircraft. It's still in the R&D phase. So rightnow, to my knowledge, General Joulwan in his SACEUR hat, or in is EUCOM hat,has not asked for JSTARS.

Q: Weren't they used in the Gulf War?

A: There was a mod one version of JSTARS used during the Gulf War --especially, during the Battle of Khafji -- and subsequently after that, butit's, basically, about a one month-to-one month slip. If you use it for amonth, the program gets slipped a month, and there's cost associated with that.Like I say, to my knowledge, there's been no formal request for JSTARS.

Q: What's your assessment of the success, the likelihood in terms ofsuppressing enemy air defenses -- either electronically or with ordnance?

A: That's never been a problem. That's never been the issue. A number of ushave testified before Congress. The real issue is not the suppression of enemyair defense, it's rather locating targets, destroying targets in proximity tochurches, schools, and urban areas. That has always been the difficulty in theterrain that's in B-H.

Q: I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said about the status of the EA-6Bs.

A: The EA-6Bs, we're either sending six or a total of 12 over there, as partof the package.

Q: Will they be land-based?

A: More than likely, maritime-based, right now. They could be land- based,also. It kind of depends on how... That's up to Lieutenant General Ryan todetermine how he uses assets.

Q: To what extent are these military exercises relevant to any scenario youmight envision with the United States or our allies being involved in Bosnia?

A: These are not related to Bosnia. We are purposely not scripting this thingfor a Bosnian environment, but rather it's just an operation that's beingconducted in a peacekeeping mode. It's to teach tactics and techniques at thecompany- and platoon-level.

Q: I notice among the countries here is Ukraine, which has peacekeepers inBosnia. Will any of these countries, following this exercise, be ready toparticipate in any sort of NATO or UN peacekeeping exercise? Or is this stilljust an initial...

A: I think that's a decision each individual country has to make. They decidewhat they participate in, and who they send to those exercises. This isstrictly a training exercise, and a Partnership for Peace scenario, again,being conducted in the U.S. for the first time.

Q: How much is language a problem? Do you have to have special translators?

A: That is part of why you have additional people there. We have madearrangements to have translators. Some of the people who are there -- as faras logistics/liaison personnel -- are, practically, bilingual -- or trilingual,depending on the particular country that's involved.

Q: How about the cost?

A: $6 million total -- $2 million for transportation, $4 million for theoperations and maintenance part.

Q: The United States is bearing the cost of that?

A: Canada, U.S., and the UK are paying for their portion of their trueparticipation. The other part is coming out of the Partnership for Peacebudget. I think, $30-million was allocated for that budget.

Q: Is there any consideration of moving WASP -- the replacement schedule --ahead?

A: I don't speculate on what may or may not happen, or moving ship schedulesearlier. WASP is -- right now -- in port, undergoing a refurbishment.

Q: You say you're purposely not scripting it to a Bosnian environment. Whynot?

A: Because Bosnia, I don't think, is the norm. I think, when you look aroundthe world -- in places like Rwanda or Haiti, etc. -- there are places that arenot necessarily the same character and texture as Bosnia.

Press: Thank you.

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