(Also participating in this briefing was Major General Chuck Wald, J-5, Colonel Joseph Stein and Colonel James Young)
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
Let me start with an announcement to bring you up to date on some of the facts about the latest deployment.
As you know, Secretary Cohen signed an order to deploy an additional 176 fighter and tanker aircraft to Operation ALLIED FORCE. This is part of a NATO-wide effort to increase the size of the air force to be used against targets in Kosovo and Yugoslavia more broadly.
I have a few more details. There will be, so far, an additional 2,789 Reservists called up to help take over and man additional A-10s, 18 A-10s that will come from three Air Guard units. That's the 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Field, Westfield, Mass; the 110th Fighter Wing, Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Michigan; and the 124th Wing, the Boise Air Terminal in Idaho.
In addition there will be--included in this number of 2,789 additional Reservists will be 524 Red Horse engineers coming out of Kelly Air Force Base in Texas and Great Falls, Montana. The ones from Kelly are Reservists and the ones from Great Falls, Montana, are members of the Air National Guard.
There are weather forecasters being called up, 60 to 70 weather forecasters, and also some Air Force intelligence people.
The Red Horse team will work on refugee camps in Albania helping to cope with the flow there.
It's likely that additional Reservists will be called up when we settle on the exact tanker units that will be going over from the Guard or the Reserve. This total of 176 aircraft includes as many as 80 KC-135 tanker equivalents, and we reckon that about 15 of those 80 will come from the Guard or the Reserve, but we don't have those units identified yet. When we do, we'll give you an updated figure.
So far this means the Reserve call-up will be 5,035.
In addition to the A-10s there will be 18 F-16CJs deploying from the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. The 4th Fighter Wing in Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is preparing to deploy 36 F-15E Strike Eagles. And Marine Aircraft Group 31 from the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina, is preparing to deploy 24 F/A-18 Hornets.
In addition, we're going to deploy another logistics support vessel to join two that are already in theater to support the surface movement of equipment and supplies between ports in Italy and Albania.
That's the latest on the state of the deployments. We do not--we'll give you details when the planes move as to where they're going, but we'll hold off until the planes actually arrive to tell you where they're going to bed down, but the bed-downs are worked out.
Before I turn this briefing over, first is General Wald for his standard run-down, and then to two people who are going to talk on JSTARS, and we'll introduce them later. I want to just bring your attention to one chart here which details some of the facts we've been accumulating over the last month and a half about mass executions and the depopulation of villages in Kosovo. I think you can see from this chart here a long list of villages from which refugees have been pushed out and also where people have been executed. This is all from information that we've gathered from the State Department and from refugee and other sources over the last couple of months.
Let me just point out a couple of things. You can see, for instance, in Pec over here, 50,000 people have been expelled since early March. In Suva Reka which is right here, we have reports that up to 350 people have been killed and buried in mass graves.
We are still getting reports of atrocities occurring in Kosovo. For instance, recently we heard that 40 people were executed; 40 men were taken out of a group of refugees and executed in this town right here which is called Glogovac, right here in the middle of Kosovo. That happened on May 1st, according to reports that we're getting from refugees.
We're also hearing reports that the VJ is mining a number of these towns after they have emptied them to make it difficult for refugees to return after the NATO campaign leads to the reestablishment of peace and stability in Kosovo. As you know, one of the five conditions that NATO is promoting is that the refugees will be able to return to their villages, but the VJ is mining the approach roads back to the villages to make it more difficult for the refugees to repopulate their villages when the opportunity comes for them to return.
So this is something that is available to all of you. We've passed out copies. There's a summary here of exactly what some of the dimensions of this brutal campaign are. 100,000 military-age men are missing. We reckon that over 4,600 have been killed in mass executions in over 70 locations. The number killed is far larger than that if you add those who have died from starvation, which seems to be more and more deliberate now, and those who have died in individual murders that have happened along the way.
We have confirmed two mass grave sites out of the seven reported. We're obviously investigating the other five as best we can and working in conjunction with the International Criminal Court. We've also, of course, had reports of systematic and mass rapes including rapes taking place in what have been called rape hotels of the type that were run in Bosnia during the Bosnia War and seem to be going again in places like Pec and elsewhere in Yugoslavia.
With that, I'll turn this over now to General Wald.
Q: Ken, could you, just quickly if you could, do you have any comment or any observation on reports from the Serbs that NATO bombs hit a hospital today and killed perhaps 11 people?
Mr. Bacon: We are evaluating those reports now, investigating them in Europe, at SHAPE, and we don't have any determination yet as to what happened. I hope that we'll have some sort of resolution of that relatively soon, but we don't yet.
Q: Along that same line, the reporters in Belgrade have been taken to these towns, seen these two areas, and they report finding both remnants of U.S. cluster bombs and evidence that the bombs went off. In other words, shrapnel that has penetrated cars and buildings and stuff like that.
Do you know at this point whether or not any of the planes that went against targets in Nis at 11:30 local time this morning were carrying cluster bombs?
Mr. Bacon: I'm going to stick to our policy of waiting until we have the full facts and then commenting on those. That will come out of SHAPE. I'm not going to get into salami-slicing this information as it comes out. I've seen those reports. We're investigating the reports. When we complete the investigation, we will, as we have in the past, give a full accounting of what we believe happened, but the time isn't right to do that now. Work is still underway at SHAPE and at NATO. When we have the facts, we'll release them.
Our policy is to avoid civilian casualties. We know that we make mistakes from time to time, but Milosevic's policy is to incur civilian casualties, and I think this chart here illustrates how successful he's been. These deaths are not by mistake. If there are civilian casualties caused by the NATO campaign, they're caused by mistake.
Q: Another missile hit Bulgarian soil today, very close to Sofia capital. Do you know (unintelligible)
Mr. Bacon: I'm afraid I don't know about that. That's something else that we're checking on.
Q: I just wanted to follow what you had said about starvation was more and more deliberate now. I take it that the MUP and the VJ are preventing people from exiting the country, or is that people that are not allowed to go back in their towns that are in the hills, or what?
Mr. Bacon: I think there are basically three reasons. One is that they are not always allowed to leave the country rapidly. Sometimes, they're held in areas for periods of time.
Two, there is a shortage of food generally, and that shortage will get worse, because now is the time when people should be plowing fields and planting crops, and they're not doing that. They can't because they're on the move, because they're being terrorized. So when there's a shortage of food, the VJ and the MUP, that is the Yugoslav army and the special police, take the food for themselves and deprive the Kosovar Albanians from food that should be rightfully theirs.
The third is that because they're on the move, it's just difficult for them to get food. So those are the three reasons.
Q: Is there proof of actual starvation by...
Mr. Bacon: Well, what we found is initially, in the early stages, the refugees coming out were in pretty good health and well fed. As the depopulation campaign has continued, we are finding--and as the refugees spend more and more time in the hills away from their homes many of which are destroyed, thousands of homes have been destroyed and burned--we are finding that those coming out are weaker and weaker and less well fed. That actually is not new. That's been happening over the last couple of weeks.
Q: Can you tell us the location of the two mass graves that have been confirmed and the location of the other five reported graves?
Mr. Bacon: I don't have them here now, but I'll get them for you.
Q: General Grange this morning sidestepped the question, so let me just ask you, about whether in retrospect it was a mistake to allow those U.S. soldiers to separate from their fellow soldiers during the patrols on the border. Looking back on that, in retrospect, was the threat level estimated clearly?
Mr. Bacon: Jamie, General Grange has spent more time evaluating what happened along the Macedonian/Serb border with these three soldiers than anybody else, and I would be an idiot to walk where he's not walking.
He, I thought, gave a very forthright and detailed interview today. I felt that he laid out the facts extremely well. I felt that he answered your questions extremely well, and I have nothing to add to what he said.
Q: Back to the chart. How prevalent does it appear--use of human refugees as human shields? And if it is fairly prevalent, has there been any kind of an increase as we go after the deployed forces more and more?
Mr. Bacon: What we get are reports from refugees and from others that Kosovar Albanians are being used as human shields. There was a recent report, for instance, that there were more than 1,000 Kosovar Albanians kept at the Pristina airport one night as human shields. These are anecdotal reports that we get from refugees as they come across the border. We know it has happened from time to time. It's hard to know how widespread this practice is, but it's certainly happening enough to be very disturbing.
Q: What's the latest on the two Serb POWs?
Mr. Bacon: They remain in custody. They have been seen by the International Committee for the Red Cross, and they will continue to be seen by them. That's the status.
Q: Have either of them expressed a reluctance to return to Serbia?
Mr. Bacon: I can't comment on what they've said or haven't said.
Q: I see on your chart there you have mass graves. Seven reported, two confirmed. Admiral Wilson, last week, when we were asking specifically of any proof of mass graves, he said he didn't have any. Is this something new? How did you confirm...
Mr. Bacon: This is information that the State Department has put together, primarily, and this is information that they have confirmed in two ways -- one, pictorial; and two, refugee reports. As I said earlier to the question from the New York Times, we will provide information on where we believe these are.
I see that the State Department here lists actually two, the two confirmed sites are in Izbica and Pusto Selo.
The other reported sites that have not been confirmed are at Drenica, Malesevo, Dakovica--which is over here--and also in Rezalia and also in the Pagarusa Valley. Those are the five other sites that have been reported but not confirmed.
Q: If there are over 100,000 military-age men missing and only 46 reported killed, what do you think happened to the rest of them?
Mr. Bacon: 4,600 reported killed. This could well be a conservative estimate of the number who have been killed in mass executions. Some may have been used to dig graves, some may have been forced to support the Serb military in various ways.
We have reports that some have been used as human shields. Some may have died in the hills or working. We just don't know. That's one of the mysteries that won't be resolved until this conflict is over.
Q: Does that 100,000 include some who presumably have joined the KLA?
Mr. Bacon: It presumably includes people the Serbs fear could join the KLA. They're people of military age, of draft age, of men from their mid-teens to their late 30s or 40s, and we assume that they have been taken away so they would not become part of a fighting force. The fact that they're missing means that we can't interview them and find out exactly what's happened to them.
Q: I'd like to follow up on yesterday's situation regarding the Army's alleged public affairs guidance in Tirane. A pool has been created there. It's my understanding that the Army guidance to the people on the ground there is that ABC will continue to operate unilaterally and exclusively inside the gates, outside the umbrella of the pool.
Mr. Bacon: That's not my understanding.
Q: That's what I was told by Colonel Gaylord an hour ago.
Mr. Bacon: Well, I've been discussing this. I have not had a chance to sit down and be briefed on it fully, but my understanding is it will be a full participant in a normal pool arrangement. But I will look into this after the briefing.
Q: And all this material will be pool material.
Mr. Bacon: I'd be glad to sit down and talk with you about this. Obviously, I don't have the facts, so it's worthless for me to talk about it now.
Q: Do you have any reports that NATO strikes have killed any human shields?
Mr. Bacon: Sorry?
Q: NATO strikes have killed human shields.
Mr. Bacon: I don't have reports of that, no.
Q: Given the magnitude of the atrocities that you've got laid out up there and the fact that there have been statements both here and in NATO that President Milosevic is responsible for everything that is happening to his people, are there any thoughts or plans of trying to take him into custody when this is all over so that he could face trial?
Mr. Bacon: That's something that the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia will have to decide. We make evidence available to them as we run across it. Not just the United States, but many other NATO countries are working with them. They have people in the refugee camps in Albania, Macedonia, interviewing on a regular basis, and they are assembling as much evidence as they can. They will have to look at all of this and decide whether it meets the standards of war crimes or not. And that's their determination. If it does, they would issue an indictment.
Q: And practically speaking, how would you go about getting him into custody?
Mr. Bacon: Well, I think we'll have to wait and see if there's an indictment before we get to--that's a step beyond where we are now.
Q: Is Secretary Cohen still reviewing whether or not the Yugoslav prisoners might be turned over? Where does that stand?
Mr. Bacon: He is. He hasn't completed that review.
Q: And when he does it will go to Clinton, is that right?
Mr. Bacon: The President has asked him to make a recommendation, and that's what he'll do.
Q: Is there a timetable for that?
Mr. Bacon: There is not.
Q: It was reported to us from Kosovo that you are sending 2,000 Marines to Montenegro via Italy. Do you have anything on that?
Mr. Bacon: Well, we're not sending Marines to Montenegro, to the best of my knowledge. I don't know about that.
Q: Has the President been asked yet to approve or review combat use of the Apaches?
Mr. Bacon: In keeping with my policy over the last week, we're not going to comment on any part of the approval process. The Apaches will be used at a time of our choosing, and we're not going to forecast it ahead of time by talking about political approval.
Q: Did they return to exercising last night?
Mr. Bacon: Yes, they did. They exercised on May 6th.
Q: On 176 planes, when you add in the 30 tankers that were previously called, it rounds out at about 200. Do you expect that that will be it out of the 300 that the SACEUR requested, or will more be called?
Mr. Bacon: No, I think it's quite likely that more will be called up over time.
Q: Jamie Shea said this morning that the concept of operations for the Visit and Search has now been approved. Do you have any idea how soon that program will begin? Also, can you tell us, since we're all given to understand that NATO will not fire on any vessel that tries to go on by the blockade, if a vessel is searched and found to have oil, will NATO be authorized to use force to turn it away?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know the answer to those questions, so I'd better find out and get back to you.
Q: This morning Jamie Shea also confirmed that Serb or Yugoslav ships were effectively blockading the port in Bar, Montenegro. And Clark said awhile back, that if Yugoslav ships come out of port at all they're going to have hell to pay, or whatever words he used.
Have we responded in any way on the seas to their blockade?
Mr. Bacon: Not yet.
Q: Are we going to?
Mr. Bacon: Well, stay tuned.
Okay, General Wald.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
Major General Wald: The same kind of weather I briefed yesterday. It's been bad the last 24 hours. It's pretty poor right now. They still did fly quite a few missions yesterday, about 500 or so. It's starting to break up now. And then, as I said yesterday, in the next week or so they're predicting a high pressure front. Should be good for the next several days after this. About as predicted, actually about a third of the time, so hopefully we'll get all the bad weather up front in May.
[Chart-Level of Effort-Day 44]
As I mentioned earlier, about 16 fixed targets and some fielded forces last night. A few of the targets up in the north were mobility type targets, which are bridge type targets, then some SAM-type support and radio relays and a command and control site as well.
Q: How many fielded forces targets?
Major General Wald: I think there were about nine total attacks yesterday.
I thought I'd go over the aircraft. Charlie asked a question a minute ago. This is where we're at right now for U.S. aircraft, which that includes right around 150 tankers. The ones in Hungary are flying, I believe, today. There's the aircraft carrier, some submarines--a submarine--and some other amphibious ships and minesweepers in the area. That's the U.S. contribution.
Q: Does that include the ones announced yesterday or not?
Major General Wald: No, it does not.
Q: The support, is that CJs or...
Major General Wald: Support would be Rivet Joint, tankers, things like that.
For the allies, they have about 277. You can see the same breakout there. Those are the nations that are actually participating in the air and some of the other contributions. They have two aircraft carriers, one from the U.K. and one from the French.
[Chart-Operation SUSTAIN HOPE Last 24 Hours]
SUSTAIN HOPE, there were only about 3,700 refugees yesterday. The reports are the Macedonian border was closed off by the Serbs last night. They keep opening and closing. For what reason, we're not sure.
Camp Hope, once again, still by 13 May. That's moving along. I'll show you a couple of slides of that in a minute. The second camp site selection is ongoing and they're looking at planning for a third camp. Then the Fort Dix flights will start arriving.
[Chart-The Second Front]
Just a recap. On the international side, the totals for food from the international community is about 430,000 per month. So food is still required. That's coming in.
There's been almost 30,000 refugees moved to other countries. The international community has agreed, pledged for about 150,000. And there's aid coming in from at least 57 countries now.
The U.S. is in the works now for the 60,000-person capacity for the three camps in Macedonia. We've over a million humanitarian daily rations. We have another million in reserve. The U.S. has provided over 7,600 tents. I think there's somewhere in the neighborhood of probably 30,000 that have been moved forward. Then once again, refugees moving to the U.S. should be in the category of 20,000.
So on the second front, which is the humanitarian front, we're continuing to do as many positive things as we can there, and it's working well. UNHCR is in the lead.
[Chart-International Contributions (Non-U.S.)]
International contributions, just to rehash. We haven't talked about this for awhile. But the food continues to come in. But once again, the UNHCR and the NGOs still need more food and shelter. Vehicles continue. There's actually 21 countries now have accepted refugees into their country, into homes. There are hundreds of thousands in Albania and Macedonia that are actually with families in those two countries as well. I think it's around 200,000.
[Chart-FT Dix CONOPS for Refugee Reception]
We talked about yesterday the additional person that arrived yesterday, the newest American from Albania, as well as 416 today, then that will go on until the 20,000 number is reached.
[Chart-Camp Hope #1 Turning Farmland into Temporary Home for 20,000 Refugees]
This is a picture of Camp Hope. It's in a field near Fier. You can see that the tents are spaced out. Fortunately, it's pretty decent terrain there.
[Chart-Camp Hope #1, Initial Set of Tents]
Just another view. They're putting up water towers so they'll have adequate water for both sanitation and drinking, cooking.
[Chart-Material Assembly Point]
This is just another site. It just shows the magnitude of the logistics that's going on. This is actually the first 2,500-person tent city there, and that will continue on through the end of May, they'll finish that one, then they'll start on the second camp and then the third after that.
[Photos available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation & Allied & Force]
[Photo-Belgrade-Batajnica SAM Support Facility, Serbia-Post&Strike]
Some imagery from the last few days. This is Belgrade Batajnica SAM support facility in Serbia itself. You can see that this is an inactive SA-3 site on the field itself. These buildings here for both SAM support, sustainability and repair are all damaged and destroyed. This is a blowup of this particular area here. You can see it's destroyed.
So as they fire their SAMs, they deplete them. As we take out their radars, we take away their ability to fire SAMs. They still have that ability. Then we take their sustainability and support down. So as they move their SAMs around, which they're doing a lot, we're taking their ability to repair those down, so it all adds up.
They did fire several SAMs last night and quite a few MANPADs.
[Photo-Kostolac Deployed SAM Site, Serbia-Post Strike]
This is just a picture of a fielded SA-3 Low Blow. This is the radar here. We destroyed the radar. These two launchers are still there, but the idea is to get the radar down. These launchers then go into the optical mode, and they aren't quite as effective.
[Photo-SAM Site Ivo Sabac, Serbia Post Strike]
Another SAM site. I showed a film of this the other day. This is an SA-6 that had a radar van with it and then a Straight Flush radar. Those are both gone, so we continue to take down his ability to defend himself.
[Photo-Paracin Ammo Depot, Serbia-Post Strike]
This is an ammo storage area in Paracin. You can see that almost all these buildings in here are destroyed. Many of them had ammo in them. So his sustainment is going down as well.
Cumulatively then, his sustainment and ability to perform with the IADS, command and control, all continue to degrade his capability on the field.
I want to show you this now because I want to show a film in a minute. I know Mr. McWethy was over in Aviano not too long ago and saw some of this. I'll show you how it works.
This is just another aid to help us find the target. We use it sometimes, not all the time. I personally used it. Some people may not use it as much. But I've seen it used quite a bit. It's a rehearsal machine so you can, on a fixed target, knowing where you're going to go, you can actually practice with this and it gives you an idea of what the terrain and the area is going to look like, not only through your cockpit imagery or video, I should say, but through the heads-up display in the cockpit. And there's various sources of information that are put into this machine. It's a database, a digital database that looks exactly like the terrain in Kosovo or the FRY, and you would practice on this as many times as you had time for, depending on what the time of your preparation would be. If you had more time, the more you'd use it. Then what I'll show here is I'll show you an actual video of this practice and then show you an actual target that was hit using the same type of scene, and then the actual bomb on it.
The point here is, time permitting, you'll do everything you can to make sure you have the right target for two reasons. Not just for collateral damage, although it's paramount, but you don't want to go back and hit it the second time.
Q: Is this hooked into a simulator?
Major General Wald: It's a computerized terrain database that's on what looks like a fairly good-sized computer screen, but you have a stick to fly with it. It has a little up and down throttle on it.
This is the Rakovina Highway bridge which is just north of the Kosovo border, one of the bridges going into Serbia itself. This is actually an image from above.
One of the things you'll look at here, this was kind of an identifying feature of this bridge. It's got a unique, kind of an off-ramp here. You'll see next the actual PowerScene. It's got a heads-up display on the PowerScene itself. As you go down, you can see the bridge here. You get closer; you can simulate the distance you're away, the altitude you're away; you can zoom in, zoom out. And it gives us a chance to see what it might look like through your infrared targeting pod or possibly through your heads-up display. You can see here--you can see the unique kind of a loop we were talking about before. It looks almost exactly like the overhead imagery.
You can practice this from all headings, all angles, all altitudes, depending on what your altitude and heading and angle may be for that delivery.
This is an actual F-15E dropping a bomb on that particular bridge. You can see the unique loop in the bottom here. It takes out the span.
Once again, when available for those particular fixed targets we'll use that type of thing just to make sure, like I said, for two things. That we don't have to go back and hit it a second time.
Here's a post-strike image of it. You can see that it was taken down.
And with fixed targets, of course, it's much easier to do that.
Next, we'll have some HUD camera film from some of the sorties over the last couple of days.
First is a highway bridge, again, in central Kosovo. F-16s. This was about five, six days ago. Similar bridge to the one we just hit, but not the same one.
Continue to take down his ability to resupply and travel over the area, back in and to and from Kosovo.
That bridge was functionally taken down, so it probably wouldn't hold a vehicle, but you could probably walk across it.
Another highway bridge, central Kosovo.
Same bridge, different strike. The car driving down there-fortunately, he took that particular span of the bridge. You can see the first strike. The second one probably took it down to the point where all you could do with that was walk across it.
F-15E, laser-guided bomb on a police, MUP police station in Kosovo a couple of days ago. Paramilitary police or their MUP police, one or the other. You can see if this had been with PowerScene, it would help the pilot identify that particular building in a lot better way.
So we'll continue to hit his sustainment in the field and his fielded forces.
Another F-15E, another MUP police station. Some of these targets are very difficult to find the exact one. You can see this is in the middle of other buildings.
That's a tough target--the potential for collateral damage--and if you can't make sure, you won't hit that particular target.
Ponikve airfield, southwest Serbia. This is a Spanish EF-18 dropping a laser-guided bomb about three days ago. Once again, this is his laser spot tracker here. A couple of bombs on the building itself.
This is an F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT and a fielded force, a revetment. He's FACing for an F-18. So he's the forward air controller. He's actually just watching this. He's already told the F-18 where the target is, and you can see the direct--he was buddy-lasing there. He's actually lasing for that F-18 himself. So the F-18 would drop the bomb and use the F-14's laser.
Military vehicles in the Kosovo engagement zone. F-18 again from the TR.
Pretty good-sized secondary off that one. Night mission.
Surface-to-air missile storage, Kosovo engagement zone. I showed you a picture of one of those areas a moment ago, an imagery. This is a different one. He's working in the clouds. You can see he's fighting through the clouds with this thing, and he finally gets the laser on at the last second, and it hits the building, fortunately.
You can see there's some secondary burning from that.
Some more fielded forces in a revetment in the Kosovo engagement zone. This is an F-14. These are tough targets to find with this type of terrain and the foliage, etc. That was definitely a shack there, and it had some secondaries.
A tank in the Kosovo engagement zone two days ago. F-14.
You can see the tank under the cursor. That also had a secondary, so there's probably fuel in that.
Another tank. F-14, Kosovo engagement zone. This all adds up to the point where he's starting to have his forces degraded significantly. Same area. You can see where the first bomb hit.
Another good-sized explosion.
That's all the imagery for today. If you have any questions, I'll take them now.
Q: General, what targets, if any, were hit or did you try to hit in or near the city of Nis in the past 24 hours, overnight or this morning?
Major General Wald: Once again, I understand the airfield at Nis was attacked. I don't know of any other targets around that area whatsoever.
Q: Nis airfield.
Major General Wald: That's right.
Q: Has Belgrade been hit...
Q: It was attacked with a B-52?
Major General Wald: It was attacked by several different types of aircraft including...
Q: One of those was a B-52...
Major General Wald: I understand there were B-52s.
Q: Has Belgrade been hit in the last few days? If not, why not?
Major General Wald: Belgrade continues to be struck at different times. It's on the list every night from what I understand, so I don't know any reason why it wouldn't be.
Q: A week ago you showed us the bunker buster bomb, going into the tunnel. First of all, have you had any assessment of what was inside that tunnel and what the bomb did to it? And second of all, have those types of weapons been used on other command and control facilities?
A: The weapon has been used on two things that I know of. One is the Pristina bunker that I showed one time before where you had the tunnels at either end, and it was in a large tunnel-type mounded area. I know they hit it, but it's hard to tell what happened inside. But I suspect anything inside is destroyed. And it's been used on a bunker-type radio relay site that I showed some pictures of before in a mountainous area that was kind of dug in quite a bit.
Q: Is it a place called Mountavila [ph], is that correct?
Major General Wald: It may have been. I can't remember.
Q: One more question, if anybody's got one.
Okay, thank you very much.
Mr. Bacon: Tomorrow General Wald and I will brief at 11:00 o'clock.
Before I introduce the JSTARS team, I just want to announce that Brian Sheridan was sworn in today as assistant secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low intensity Conflict. Many of you know him from his several years in the Pentagon.
Finally, I'm very pleased to announce that we have a skilled team of briefers here on the JSTARS, which is a topic of some concern to many of you. For the Air Force, Colonel Joe Stein, who is in his final days of being a colonel, because he's going to be promoted to brigadier general. He's from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. He's the Commander of the 93rd Air Control Wing at Robins, the parent wing for the Joint STARS.
Colonel Young from the Army is the deputy commander of the wing responsible for all Army personnel assigned to the JSTARS program.
They will describe to you how this Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System works and how it helps with the targeting in Kosovo.
Colonel Stein: Ladies and gentlemen, I am Joe Stein, Commander of the 93rd Air Control Wing from Robins Air Force Base, and home of our nation's Joint STARS force. As mentioned before, Colonel Randy Young is our Army group commander.
One point you should start with at the very beginning here is that the Army--this is a joint operation. The Army is integrated with us day in and day out. They're integrated into our squadrons, our wing structure. They fly with us. In fact, the deputy mission crew commander on board is an Army officer for each sortie, along with two Army technicians.
What I'd like to do for you today is talk though a little bit of the basic capabilities of our Joint STARS aircraft and system, then perhaps a little update on the way our forces are performing in theater right now, today.
[Chart-Joint Stars E-8C]
The aircraft as shown here basically is a converted Boeing 707 aircraft. It's got structural enhancements, new skins, etc., as it goes through a remanufacture process at Lake Charles, Louisiana. Prime mission equipment, great radar system put on the back end here.
Basically we are a theater battle management asset. I'll explain the capabilities. We deliver two products here to you.
[Chart-Wide Area Surveillance, MTI]
One is a moving target indicator. You'll see a picture on this slide here from a past operation in Bosnia. The dots along the screen there show moving targets throughout the area of operation. You can see through this thing there's quite a lot of movement in that area. You can tell very readily the traffic zones, the areas, lines of communication, and also, importantly, where lines of communications are not being used.
There's a second product we have which is called a Synthetic Aperture Radar, SAR for short. It's somewhat like a black-and-white photo from the ground, kind of like a guide's eye view.
Here's one from the Sava River over in Bosnia, as well, and you can see a pontoon bridge that was put in by our forces here. You can see also that we've got the ability to overlay our moving target indicator on top of the SAR to give a view.
Our basic mission is battle management. It's one where we take a wide area surveillance across the entire battlefield and then can zoom into areas of interest.
The information is great for our battlefield commanders. It's of no value if we keep it to ourselves, though. Two distinct functions that we have is to pass that information on to both ground commanders and also those in the key operation center.
[Chart-Joint Stars Common Ground Station]
The next slide will show you a picture of a [common] ground station. This is a vehicle that goes along with maneuver commanders in the field where they can get essentially an instantaneous view of what we're seeing on the aircraft. So they've got that look at the forces that are over the next hill and what's happening to them in the battlefield ahead of them.
In addition to this, we have several joint service work stations, which are deployed at locations like the Combined Air Operation Center in Vicenza, the Joint Analysis Center in RAF Molesworth, and different field strike units so that they can get this real-time information to guide their operations throughout.
[Chart-Joint Stars Connectivity]
A big thing too is beyond those particular points that we send the data down for work stations, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that we operate basically as a big team. We interact with other systems that are in the air, many of them displayed right here. We fuse our data with other sources to provide the real picture we need from the battlefield.
We are also responsible for an entire range of operations across the entire battlespace. Things ranging from basic surveillance all the way to attack support, basically real time prosecution of moving targets on the battlefield.
One thing I'd like to mention is I just returned from a trip to the theater where I had the opportunity to fly with our folks out there, also visit the CAOC, the Combined Air Operations Center in Vicenza, the Joint Analysis Center, United States Air Forces Europe Headquarters, and I've got to tell you, I couldn't be prouder of our men and women out there right now today. The pace is high; the operation is going tremendously; morale is very high. They know they are making a difference in this operation. And again, as I traveled across the theater talking to each one of the key commanders, the words I got is the product was invaluable to their service.
The bottom line I'd like to leave with you here today is that Joint STARS is on-station and engaged in Kosovo. It is making a big difference. And, basically, what we provide is the information on moving targets through all hours of the day in any weather. The bottom line message here is Mr. Milosevic should know that his forces cannot move with impunity at any time.
With that, we're prepared to answer any questions you might have.
Q: What happens at the Joint Analysis Center you mentioned?
Colonel Stein: What will happen there is we, in addition to other sources, will provide information, surveillance information of the battlefield, potential targets for the future, to them for analysis to find out what they might fit into future strikes.
Q: That's like a clearinghouse for all sorts of imagery, different sorts of...
Colonel Stein: There are all sorts of information that come in that they combine; they fuse data from different weapon systems, and that's provided to essentially our forces, our allied forces as well.
Q: And they provide that back out in real time, or they're just responsible for like cataloging it and stuff like that?
Colonel Stein: They've got a couple of different functions with that. The real time function would be more properly handled by our Combined Air Operation Center down at Vicenza where our information is piped down to as well.
Q: You said you were just over there. I'm curious, with these new bases and new air routes opening up, is there a sense that the air congestion will ease up and some of the threat to the aircraft from allied aircraft is going to subside?
Colonel Stein: What I'd say is any time you're in a battle space, you've got a lot of aircraft in the sky. I feel very confident. As I said, I flew into the Kosovo region myself. I felt very secure. I felt the operation was in good hands, and forces were well integrated.
Q: No change then from how it was two or three weeks ago?
Colonel Stein: None that I'm aware of. Again, I have not been there yesterday, obviously.
Q: Are you getting relayed the imagery from U-2s and these other aircraft? And specifically, are you able to track armored units to their hiding places? Keep track. Then target them the following day?
Colonel Stein: We do have datalinks with different sources that come on board. For instance, we get an air picture from the AWACS that comes on board. We get some other type of voice passes and information that does come--different areas, fidelity for different systems. Yes, we can track vehicles; we can track convoys or armored convoys. We could pass that information on, again, to either the Joint Analysis Center or the CAOC so they could use that in future strikes.
Q: You've been doing that, then. I mean it's been fairly successful in the last week or so in picking off armor under trees, stuff like that.
Colonel Stein: Again, there are a wide range of members providing that information. We're doing it on a day-to-day basis; we're doing it all weather times. We've got great success in terms of helping that picture.
Q: How far do you stand off, generally?
Colonel Stein: I'd hesitate to give you our exact orbit location. What I'd say is, obviously, we have a great range on our radar. We can look--the unclassified version is beyond 250 kilometers. So we've got quite a capability to look into the battlespace itself.
Q: I'm sorry if I missed this, but how many of the aircraft are operating now?
Colonel Stein: We have two aircraft now employed in theater today.
Q: That's the same number that you used during the Bosnia conflict?
Colonel Stein: That's the same. I think the pace is a little quicker than it was back then. Again, tremendous aircraft reliability rate today, the folks on the ramp are about 98 percent plus in terms of launch reliability rate. They're over 96 percent in terms of mission effectiveness. The pace is very high. We've got sorties that operate in excess of 16 hours duration providing great coverage to the field today.
Q: What constitutes mission effectiveness?
Colonel Stein: That's being able to be on station and service your targets and provide the information we need to the folks down either on the ground or in the Air Operation Center.
Q: Can you talk a little about the status of (inaudible). My understanding is you're not able to train any more Joint STAR pilots because your commitment is so, you're at surge capability right now?
Colonel Stein: I'd say we're certainly operating at a peak level right now in theater. In fact, folks are flying long enough that the normal flight duty period for a 30-day period is about 125 hours maximum. That's been increased to 165 hours for our folks. In spite of that, they're doing a fantastic job; morale is high because they know they're making that difference.
Now that pace on a maturing system is obviously going to have an impact. We are still working around that training issue at home. We are eking that stuff through. And actually, we are increasing the pace within the next week here, more training.
Q: Is there any infrared sensing from JSTARS?
Colonel Stein: We don't have infrared capability on board the jet, but we do have a tremendous radar capability.
Q: Colonel, I just wondered again what's changed since the last deployment in terms of an increase in the aircraft's effectiveness, both in things like foliage penetration, (inaudible) those assets that have taken advantage of terrain masking, things like that. Has there been any improvement that you can talk about?
Colonel Stein: I'd say obviously experience. The reliability definitely rivals anything in the fleet we have today, the operation that's going on.
In terms of the battlespace and in terms of the Kosovo area of operations, I'd say we have good visibility into that operation. Obviously, terrain will have some impact; however, we're able to take care of that in terms of changing orbits. And we've got other assets in our team that can provide coverage as well. So this is a true team operation to get that.
Q: You've got two aircraft in theater?
Colonel Stein: Yes, sir.
Q: How may people?
Colonel Stein: We've got approximately 200 people in theater right now.
Q: That's crews?
Colonel Stein: Crews, maintainers, support personnel.
Q: What are you being told on deliveries of aircraft five and six? How late are they going to be?
Colonel Stein: In fact, I think the good news story is they're not going to be late. I think they're going to be early. Aircraft five is scheduled for delivery at the end of October '99, aircraft six about two months past that. The words I'm hearing right now is the aircraft are tracking ahead of schedule. All good news reports. In fact, within about the next 12 months or so, I think we can expect to have about four aircraft more.
Q: Following up on the training issue. Do you expect to have enough crews to service those two aircraft when they come back, if this conflict continues?
Colonel Stein: We're continuing to build crews. Again, that's going to depend on what the operational tasking is in the future here.
Q: Can you scan from Kosovo to Serbia from your holding pattern?
Colonel Stein: I think, again, ranges, where we actually can scan, are going to be orbit dependent. I'd rather not discuss the exact locations. However, we do have a wide range.
Colonel Stein: Yes, sir, it sure does. It has a tremendous reach.
Q: You focused your operations on the southern part of the country. Now Hungary is opening up its airspace. Do you expect on occasion to set up orbits there?
Colonel Stein: I think that's going to be a question for the operational commander. It will be dependent on what phase the operation is in at that time.
Q: A question on five and six. Have there been any changes so that it meets operational suitability? You guys were, [Director, Operational Test & Evaluation Philip E.] Coyle said operational suitability still isn't where DoD wants it. Have some changes been made to five and six to meet that?
Colonel Stein: I'll tell you what, there's been a lot that has gone on, a lot of work in the Joint Program Office within Air Combat Command and the wing in getting the aircraft out and improving it. It's just like anything else; it will continue to improve with time and with experience.
I will tell you I had the opportunity to be in on a briefing to Mr. Coyle not too long ago. A lot of information is based on modeling. We went out, and I passed onto him that experience at the wing had showed in a few recent surge operations that we had put together that the reliability of the aircraft was in fact tremendous. It was much higher than what the models were showing. I'd let the statistics speak for themselves in theater today. It is working just fabulous.
The crews, the maintainers, the support personnel, they're doing everything they absolutely need to do to get the operation and keep it flying for the theater commander.
Q: Where are the other two aircraft? At Robins?
Colonel Stein: Yes, sir. Right now.
Q: Any chance of moving them over?
Colonel Stein: They're at Robins. We maintain the capability to respond to any tasking. They're obviously going to be used partially for schoolhouse training. We could, if called--the theater commander and the National Command Authority decides to send another one into the theater in Europe, we could do that. And oh, by the way, we could end up responding to other places around the world.
I would highlight for you when this contingency kicked off, we had an aircraft and a host of people that were deployed out to the Pacific. We maintained that operation with 100 percent launch reliability at the very same time we executed the deployment over to Kosovo and took care of that operation, too.
Q: Are you flying 24 hours a day, day/night?
Colonel Stein: I'd say we have the capability to fly whenever the theater commander needs us. Whether it's day, whether it's night, whether it's good weather or bad, we'll provide what he needs, and he'll provide the tasking.
Q: The two that are in use right now are the same two that were deployed at the beginning of ALLIED FORCE? If so, have you been rotating the crews at all?
Colonel Stein: We've had some limited crew rotation. We've also rotated one of the aircraft back, and that was to do minor maintenance--just continuing preventive maintenance--and also an upgrade to some of the equipment on board.
Q: A question for Colonel Young on the taskings that come from the ground up to the air. Joint STARS initially was used mainly for the air campaign, and now the Army came in and is shifting to support of the ground. There's some concern that suddenly there will be all these requests coming in, (inaudible), the CAOC with its air request, now the Army's coming in. What's the process now to get the Army (inaudible)?
Colonel Young: There's a prioritization process that's in place in theater, and that prioritization process determines the priority of support.
I would imagine that the theater commander would be involved in establishing that priority. There may be certain phases of the operation that you would support one element slightly more than another. But the jet itself has tremendous capability to service multiple stations. Right now, we're not even coming close to servicing the normal number of stations. In a normal environment supporting a corps, we would expect to have 25 ground stations. In this particular scenario, we've got some GSMs located with Task Force Hawk, as well as we have about seven joint service work stations spread throughout the theater. So we really haven't tapped the full capability of the aircraft to date.
Q: Would Task Force Hawk basically have to send its intelligence request to the CAOC and they get racked and stacked back there with the other requests?
Colonel Young: There's two methods of doing it. One is pre-plan. A pre-plan request would go through the normal process of going to the CAOC and then showing up on the Air Tasking Order for the air crew to execute. The dynamic request can come direct from, via datalink from the ground station located with Task Force Hawk.
Press: Thank you very much.