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DoD NewsBriefing: Secretary of Defense William J. Perry

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William J. Perry
December 04, 1995 1:40 PM EDT

Monday, December 4, 1995 - 1:37 p.m.

Secretary Perry: The NATO enabling force, which will include about 1,400Americans, has begun to arrive in Bosnia and Croatia. This force will preparethe way for a large NATO peace implementation force after the Dayton agreementis signed in Paris on December the 14th.

Before providing the details of that deployment, I want to emphasize, again,that U.S. troops are going to Bosnia to enforce a peace, not to fight a war.

I want to start off by just reviewing very briefly with you a chart which Idiscussed with the Congress in the last week, and the points I made to U.S.forces in Germany who are about to deploy in Bosnia. I want to highlight twopoints from this chart which gives the reasons why the United States must playa role in IFOR.

The first of these is that there's only one real alternative to U.S.participation in IFOR, and that is a restart of the war and a resumption of thekillings and the atrocities. That's what we mean when we say to seize thisopportunity requires a commitment of U.S. troops.

The second point I want to emphasize: this last point about the risks to theUnited States. There are risks to United States forces in IFOR. I havetestified on those to the Congress; General Shali has testified on those. Butthe risks to the United States of the war restarting are even greater; becauseif the war restarts, there is a very real prospect of this war spreading northinto Croatia, threatening Slovenia and Hungary, spreading south into Macedonia,Kosovo, Albania and threatening Greece.

Those are the two points I wanted to make from this chart. Let me go on tothe next one on the mission of IFOR. Again, I'm not going to go over thischart in detail. This is one that I covered with the Congress in my testimony.Two points I want to make on this chart, though. Because we're not going in tofight a war... In fact for two and a half years we've said we would not sendground troops to Bosnia until a peace agreement is reached. That peaceagreement is now in hand, and that's why we are preparing the forces -- not tofight a war. And we will have a limited -- and a clear -- peacekeeping missionwhich are spelled out on this chart.

The second point I want to make is that we are taking significant measures tominimize the risk to the force. The most important of these is this verylimited peacekeeping mission that's spelled out here. We are not going toallow mission creep in this operation.

Secondly, we have a large and a well-armed force capable of intimidating anyforce which tries to tangle with it.

Third, this force is extraordinarily well trained. I have talked to theCongress -- and I've testified before -- on the extensive training in thisforce. Now I want to go on to describe to you something about the deploymentwhich is now underway.

This enabling force is going in to provide for the expeditious, the efficient,and the safe deployment of IFOR in the days after the peace agreement issigned. So this is an advance force to the main force which would go in onlyafter a peace agreement is signed.

This force will establish the essential infrastructure -- communications,command and control, intelligence -- to prepare for movements. The IFOR forceis going in, and some of the UN force is going out, and it will arrange formilitary and civil relations.

Let me show you the composition of this force. The NATO total is about 1,400,of which the United States has just over 700. That's in Bosnia. In Croatia,1,200 NATO total, United States, again, about 700. The enabling force willtravel to Croatia and Bosnia by air, taking with them the communications gearand other equipment necessary to perform their missions.

A small number of the troops going to Bosnia will go to Sarajevo to help setup the IFOR headquarters there, but most of the other U.S. participants will goto Tuzla where the 1st Armored Division Headquarters will be established underthe command of Major General Nash.

Let me show you more about the U.S. contribution of this enabling force.We're going to be augmenting the IFOR headquarters and subordinateheadquarters. The tasks are listed here. I want to emphasize the two keyUnited States roles -- one of them is building the communications network,obviously an important and a crucial function. The other is we will use ourspecial operations forces to establish liaison between the NATO and non-NATOnations.

This enabling force will be protected in several ways. First of all, Iobserve that the cease-fire has been in place since October 11th, so for almosttwo months now we've had a cease-fire holding there.

Secondly, the enabling force has their own ROE -- rules of engagement -- whichallows them protection, and they will have arms with them to provide for theirown protection. We do not believe that will be necessary because of theenvironment they will be in. They will be working primarily out of existingheadquarters and facilities of the UN that's there, and will have theprotection that comes from that. We do have, if necessary, a MarineExpeditionary Unit off the coast, and we also have close air support. We donot expect either of those will be needed for this operation, but they areavailable in case they are needed.

Let me go from the enabling force to talk about some of the support forces.We have a total... The United States now has a total support force of 7,000going to Hungary and to Italy. Today I signed an order to deploy 3,000 ofthose from Germany to Hungary. Of those, 2,000 will set up a logistics system,and 1,000 will be in an engineering brigade. Their job is to build the stagingfacilities for the movement of the forces and to open the road networks for themovement of the forces. The new forces in the theater, then -- when thisdeployment is completed -- will be these 7,000, which will be in Hungary andItaly; the 20,000 which will be in Bosnia; and an additional 5,000 in Croatia.That's not including the air operations in Italy which have been going on forsome time now.

Now let me talk about the actions we're taking relative to Reserves. I ampursuing a two-step approach to Reserves. First of all, the identification andthe initial training. Then we will go to a Presidential selective Reservecall-up. The first step begins today.

Today we are beginning the identification and training of Reserve force unitsand individuals who are scheduled for deployment as part of IFOR later thismonth. We are advising the Congressional members today of units identifiedfrom their districts and their states. I have the list here, and I'll be happyto cover this in any detail that you'd like. It will be available to you, butit's a fairly extensive list, as you can see.

First, we are going to be training all of these Reserve forces before they gointo Bosnia. The training will consist of three parts. The in-garrisoninitial training, both for units and individuals; a NATO orientation at FortBenning at our Joint Processing and Outward Movement Center, that's for theindividuals; and then there will be in-theater training for appropriateReserves in Germany. That training will focus on cold weather training, onmine awareness, and on the specific rules of engagement which they will havewhen they go into Bosnia. So every individual, every unit, whether it isReserve or active, will have this training before they go into Bosnia.

The second phase of this operation -- the Presidential selected reservecall-up -- will involve approximately 3,800 reservists. The first rotation ofthis 3,800 will be for 270 days. It will include all four services. Rightnow, the Air Force and the Marine Corps will fill all of their needs withReserve volunteers. The functions will include civil affairs, medical,military police and transportation. Some of these functions -- the mostimportant component of our total force -- comes from the Reserves. Therefore,any time we go to any significant deployment, we go as a total force. We gowith active duty and with Reserve components.

These Presidential selected Reserve call-ups will deploy with the main bodylater this month.

You see on this map the dispositions of IFOR. The U.S. 20,000 troops inBosnia will be located around the Tuzla area. This U.S. division is really amultinational division. It will include 20,000 U.S. forces. It will include aNordic brigade of approximately 4,500 personnel. It will include a reinforcedTurkish battalion, and a Russian brigade. All of these will serve in the U.S.division under the command of Major General William Nash.

These forces -- unlike the enabling forces -- these forces will enter by roadand by rail. They will take rail from Germany into the staging area inHungary, and they will go from Hungary into Bosnia by road. They will makethis road travel by military units, and they will make them under their ownpower -- that is, the tracked and wheeled vehicles will go in on their owntracks and their own wheels. They'll be prepared for any emergencies thatmight develop on the way in -- not that we're expecting any, but we will beprepared for them. We will use routes that are currently in use and known tobe safe from mines. We're continuing with the repair and expansion of theTuzla airport. And the small survey team currently in Tuzla will stay, andjoin the enabling force there.

This whole force -- the U.S. force -- will be in place in Bosnia within eightweeks of the signing of the peace agreement in Paris.

This lists the functions of the U.S. main body forces. These activities willbe the responsibility of the U.S. commander from the day he arrives. Thetransfer of authority from the UN forces to the NATO forces will take placefour days after the signing of the peace agreement.

I mentioned, a little bit, this joint military commission. They'll haverepresentatives from NATO, from IFOR, and the parties to the agreement. Theyare designed to help resolve any disputes that arise about what the agreementsays should be done. Therefore, they minimize the need for IFOR to useforce.

I mention this point because it is worth stressing again: that the NATO andthe U.S. forces are going in to enforce a peace, not to fight a war.

The other point worth making about the Dayton agreement is that the warringparties -- who have been fighting with each other and who signed the Daytonagreement -- have signed up that they themselves will take significant steps tolay the foundations for the peace.

I'd like to have one more chart. This just summarizes some of the obligationsof these parties after the signing. Day one, they have to begin withdrawingforces and removing mines from the zones of separation, marking minefields, andbeginning the dismantling of mines.

By day three, all air defense radars must be shut down. The importance ofthat is because NATO will continue to supply close air support -- and so theclose air support function for IFOR will be provided by NATO -- and shuttingdown the air defense radars simply makes that mission safer and more effective.

By day 30, there must be a complete withdrawal of all foreign troops fromBosnia. By that time, they're supposed to start the talks on the arms and thetroop limits. This is the arms control discussions.

By day 45, complete withdrawal behind the zones of separation. And by day180, complete the negotiations of the arms limits. These are specific taskswhich the warring parties have agreed to undertake in the Dayton agreement, andwhich we expect them to comply with.

With those opening comments, I'll be happy to take some questions.

Q: Dr. Perry, British troops began arriving in Sarajevo today. When will themain body of 700 U.S. enabling troops start moving into Bosnia, and when willthat be completed? And given the possible threat from terrorism, will U.S.intelligence keep special watch over fundamentalist Muslim troops and takespecial precautions against car bombs and other types of things?

A: The United States component of the enabling force has already startedmoving in. We have a few people already today in Bosnia. They will be goingin gradually over the next two or three days. By the end of the week, I expectthe entire force to be in.

On the terrorist question, everywhere our forces are deployed we are concernedabout the terrorist threat. Indeed, even in the United States we have had, asyou well know, problems with terrorist attack. Most recently at Fort Bragg andat Oklahoma City, both of which caused casualties of U.S. forces.

There are many things we do to protect ourselves against terrorists, butperhaps fundamental to all of those is good intelligence. So we will have avery special dedicated effort to intelligence support for our troops there,using all of the resources -- not just the resources that the 1st ArmoredDivision will have organic to it, but there will be special provisions made toprovide national and strategic intelligence to them, with the primary focusbeing on getting this kind of background information about those sort ofthreats. And providing it to them in a timely fashion.

Long experience has shown us that fundamental to the success of dealing withterrorists is good intelligence about their planned operations.

Q: You've said in the past that you expect that all the military tasks spelledout in the Dayton agreement could be completed in about six months. Do youenvision that you'd begin pulling out some American troops at that juncture?And what would be the tasks to be performed by those who stay behind for thosefinal six months?

A: It's premature to make the decision as to whether there might be any basisfor... It's simply premature to make that decision. I can tell you what ourplan is, though. Our plan is that the forces will stay in there to within afew months of the one-year period. So the phase-down, which occurs the lastfew months, would be, in a sense, the reverse of the buildup which will beoccurring during the first two months. So you can imagine perhaps a two-monthbuildup, then maintaining the full force, and then the last two months to builddown again.

As we get to the sixth and seventh month we can reexamine whether there's anypossibility for an earlier drawdown of any U.S. forces. In Haiti, for example,we found out after we'd been in there for a few months that it was possible tohave some drawdown of forces before we got to the turnover to the UN.

Q: There are some concerns that there may be a flashpoint in the area wherethe French are presently located -- what will be the French sector. The Frenchgeneral there has expressed concern that they may find themselves in a wave ofethnic cleansing and that they will be unsafe. Mladic says that his troopswill not allow the transfer of the territory to a federation government. Whatis your thinking about that?

A: We've seen General Mladic's statement. I would say, first of all, we donot have any intentions of renegotiating the Dayton agreement, nor are any ofthe parties asking us to renegotiate that agreement. At Dayton, SerbianPresident Milosevic was authorized in writing by the Bosnian Serb leadership tonegotiate on their behalf. Since that time, the Bosnian Serb political leadershave supported that agreement, including initialing all of the Daytondocuments. So we simply expect President Milosevic to ensure compliance by theBosnian Serbs with the terms of the peace agreement. But we fully expect thatbetween now and the time of the signing in Paris, that there will be all sortsof statements -- all sorts of concerns which effect a pressure to renegotiate-- to get better terms for the party that's putting on the pressure.

Q: But if there is not compliance?

A: You'll have to be more specific.

Q: You said you expect compliance.

A: Yes.

Q: If there is not?

A: If, by non-compliance it's meant that some Bosnian Serbs or for that mattersome Croatians or some Muslims are complaining about the agreement, then we donot consider that a substantial issue. We are looking for the parties to cometo Paris and sign the peace agreement. If they come and sign the peaceagreement, that means they are committing to comply with the agreement. That'swhat's called for in the agreement. A very important part of this agreement,as I mentioned early in my talk, is that the warring parties agree tofacilitate implementation of the agreement. If they don't sign at Paris, thenwe do not have the basis for sending forces in. But we fully expect them tosign, and we fully expect the people authorized to speak for their governmentto sign.

Q: Mr. Secretary, can you walk through the way the zone of separation is goingto work in your mind? American troops on both sides of the zone at variouscheckpoints, constant patrols, will it be sort of ad hoc -- if you find troubleareas you put more forces in there? Sort of walk us through what that's goingto look like. And will American forces freely roam on the Bosnian Serb side?Will they be going through Srebrenica regularly? Will they have freedom ofmovement as the treaty specifies?

A: I think that will vary from week to week, from area to area, how theyactually enforce the zone of separation. We want to give the tacticalcommander the authority and the flexibility to implement that the way he thinksis best for that time and for that region and for the circumstances.Therefore, to answer your question, we have in the agreement... We have givenhim the full authority to go anywhere he needs to go in Bosnia. So he has thatauthority.

As I have reviewed the plans -- at least how they initially plan to do that --it would involve periodic patrols of the zone of separation, it would involvesetting up checkpoints at roads that go in and out of the zone of separation.It would involve detailed reconnaissance, including drones that fly over andtake imagery of the area. So there will be a variety of ways of checking andenforcing these zones of separation.

But to get to your point, we want the tactical commander to have the fullauthority to do whatever he needs to do; and therefore, he has to haveauthority for free movement anywhere in Bosnia.

Q: Secretary Perry, these several hundred Mujahedin that are said to be inBosnia, what kind of threat do they pose to U.S. troops, and how can you beconfident that they will, in fact, leave, as called for by the Daytonagreement?

A: To review, the Dayton agreement calls for the removal of all foreign troopsin 30 days. We had our Dayton team visit the three countries just a few daysago, [who] reviewed this and many other issues with the three parties. At thattime, President Izetbegovic reconfirmed that he would enforce that provision,and we fully expect him to do that.

I met just on Friday with Prime Minister Silajdzic, explained to him howimportant it was. We consider this a serious issue, and how important it wasfor the United States, and in particular for the United States military, thatthose forces go out of there. The Prime Minister reconfirmed to me that theBosnian government would see that that happened, would take responsibility formaking that happen. We count on them to do that. We have no reason to doubtthat they're going to be able to fulfill that requirement.

Thank you very much.