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DoD News Briefing, Saturday, May 1, 1999 - 12:00 noon

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
May 01, 1999 12:00 PM EDT

(Also participating in this briefing was Major General Chuck F. Wald, J-5)

Related briefing slides

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.

Let me start with just a couple of humanitarian announcements, and then General Wald will take over.

This has been an extremely active day. Yesterday was an extremely active day, our most active to date. We hit a broad range of both strategic and tactical targets, and he'll go through that in some detail.

On the humanitarian side I have two announcements, both dealing with refugees.

The first is that the processing point for the refugees we're bringing from Macedonia, as you know, is Fort Dix, New Jersey. We have set up a task force there. It's headed by Brigadier General Mitchell Zais, Z-A-I-S. They have been meeting all morning to get organized. This is going to be under the command of the Department of Health and Human Services. They're running the operation. But there will be about 500 soldiers up there to assist in various ways. They believe that they'll have the first group of refugees there on Tuesday.

There is a public information officer up there--he's well known to you--he's Colonel John Smith. I thought I had his number but I've forgotten it. But we can get it for--I'm sorry, I do have it. It's (609) 562-4034, if you want to get in contact with him about the refugee operation, and if you want to arrange to cover it or have your news organizations cover the first arrival.

Second, last week Lieutenant General McDuffie briefed you on Camp America, which is the camp we're constructing for 20,000 refugees in Albania in the town of Fier, which is 30 kilometers southwest of Tirane. That camp--the contract has been let for the construction. Construction should begin very soon and we expect the first 2,500 refugees there in eight to ten days. This will have--it will basically be two refugee villages separated by a road, and then there will be a third village built in the area after we finish the first two, to house these 20,000.

With that, I'll turn it over to Major General Wald.

Major General Wald: Good afternoon.

[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]

The weather as we've briefed over the last couple of days has improved markedly. Today it's also good weather and looks like it will be that way for the next couple of days. Maybe a little bit of a lull toward Monday, and then back up toward the early part of next week.

The combination of the weather and the campaign as it's going now has given us the, as Mr. Bacon mentioned a minute ago, the best day of bombing we've had since the start of the campaign.

[Chart - Level of Effort Last 24 Hours]

Last night on Day 38 there were 31 different fixed targets struck throughout Kosovo and the FRY itself. A lot of command and control. Some in the southern part, as well as the line of communication bridges, more of the POL storage, and some of their {inaudible}, as well as some of the fielded forces. That 31 fixed targets--you can add another 40 targets that were struck to that so there were over 70 last night. I'll talk through how that works in just a moment.

[Chart - Daily Environment Architecture]

The targeting itself sometimes there's a little confusion on. The targeting itself are pre-identified targets. That was the 31 targets I mentioned a moment ago. We've had days where we've had more than 31, some less than 31, depending upon weather. But there are also engagement areas. We've talked about the Kosovo engagement area before. There are engagement areas where we're focusing more of our effort--on areas that may have more of the Serb VJ forces in them.

We also have quick response options for targets that may pop up via different means of fighting those targets or identifying those. Those aircraft could be holding on a tanker outside the area waiting for that target to pop up or occur. They could be on the ground [or] aircraft waiting on alert. Or they could be aircraft that are diverted from another area like these engagement zones here, to a target of opportunity.

So what's happening now is we're able now to respond faster to targets that may pop up that we see via different sources and methods of finding those targets and are able to destroy those more real time. Many of the targets we struck last night were in that category, as I said, over 40.

The aircraft themselves, once again, in an area like this--yesterday we flew over 300 strike sorties. There are over 600 sorties a day scheduled and many of those are support, whether they're tankers or intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, or other types of aircraft. In those strike aircraft there are also combat air patrol aircraft as well as suppression of enemy air defense aircraft. So the total number out of 600 may be in the range of 300 to 400 aircraft that are doing what we would call combat missions.

In the intelligence and surveillance area there is a multiplicity of that type of aircraft through various areas supporting that. Then the support aircraft would be in the tanker and other type aircraft.

As I mentioned earlier, the beauty of this ability to strike these targets gives us the flexibility to respond to targets that may pop up that would be of high value or significance--whether in Kosovo or in the FRY--makes it responsive, and it's an integrated plan, because this plan includes strategic targets, as I mentioned before, and then down to the tactical level. We continue to hit his strategic capability to support and sustain the forces in the field or resupply them or communicate with them. Now we're starting to hit his fielded forces in Kosovo in a bigger way.

Once again, one of the things that's been different this time than any situation we've been in before, in a big way, is that we can strike in weather more than we were before. So the weather restrictions are a little less moderate. We're doing it now 24 hours a day around-the-clock, and the OPSTEMPO has increased significantly over the last couple of days and will increase more. We're still planning for at least 50 pre-planned targets that we can go after every day, then you add those responsive type targets and we're in the 70 to 80 type range, as I talked about earlier.

One of the things that's been talked about a little bit is targets and collateral damage. We've talked about that a lot. There's some discussion about B-52s being used in carpet type bombing. We don't do that with B-52.

I mentioned yesterday that our B-52s have changed over the years dramatically, with increases to their avionics capability, increases to their GPS capability, increasing in their overall avionics.

[Chart - Prahovo Petroleum Production Storage Facility, Serbia]

This is a target, you've seen many of these before. This is about 1,000 feet long in this area, probably, maybe a couple of hundred feet wide. It's not an atypical target. We have several of those we've seen before.

Next slide.

[Prahovo Petroleum Production Storage Facility, Serbia]

This would be about the lay down pattern of the B-52 today at whatever altitude we want them to fly at. So you can see that, basically, this is not carpet bombing. This would be a perfect target for that type of weapon to hit. There are other targets, assembly areas we could use with the B-52, and it has a very, very capable delivery method with their avionics they have today to attack a target like this with very little collateral damage. As you can see, there wouldn't be much of a problem with anything around here being in the category of collateral damage.

So as we talk about the B-52, it has the capability to attack with standoff weapons or gravity weapons, and these gravity weapons are not dumb bombs anymore because of the avionics we have in the aircraft to make sure that we do, in this case, what would be called precision on that area target.

Next slide.

[Chart - Batajnica Airfield, Serbia]

I have some other images to show you today. This is Batajnica airfield. You can see it's a very large complex. This target itself would have very, very many aim points. In this case there's an arrow pointing to a fuel storage area on this airfield. When you talk about integrated air defense, it includes the SAMs, the communications, the air defense aircraft, the AAA, and for an airfield itself to operate, it needs more than just a runway. You have to have the field to sustain it, you need the command and control, you need whatever type of approach equipment they would use to try to land at that field. And ammunition storage, as well as the command and control as mentioned earlier.

Next slide.

[Chart - Batajnica Airfield, Serbia]

On this particular airfield, that little arrow I showed you, this was the field bunker. We destroyed that, so its ability to refuel the aircraft on that field is gone, as well as some of the major sustainment buildings here have been destroyed, which once again, the runway hasn't been closed per se, but the ability to sustain ops from that runway has been taken down.

[Photo Available at http:www.defenselink.mil/Photo/#Operation&Allied&Force]

Another airfield. This is Obrva airfield here. You can see the black spots on this runway is where bombs actually destroyed the ability for that airfield to operate off the taxiways and runways. But they did start to repair some of these. But the most important thing here is as those holes were put in the runway, you could not fly aircraft off this runway for that period of time.

As they started to repair it, we determined where their repair facilities were, their engineering corps, and we took those down and destroyed their ability to repair that runway. So once again, it's a synergistic approach over time--many different methods for closing a runway.

[Photo - Rakoviea Radio Relay and Military Command Post]

This is one of the major command posts, air defense command posts, in northern Serbia. It's a little difficult to tell from this imagery, but it's under a large bunker hill area, dug into the ground very deep. This area had several radio relay sites as well as entry points, as well as ventilation shafts, as well as some support buildings. These have all been hit. This radio relay is destroyed. Some of the ventilation areas have been hit and closed, and this support building has been closed.

But you can see some of these targets are very difficult to hit. It takes more than one sortie to do that, but we'll continue to service them, and most of them are being destroyed.

[Photo - Novi Sad Petroleum Refinery, Serbia]

Another area target here. This is the Novi Sad refinery. It's been shut down for production. The cracking tower, distilling tower, and pumping area have all been destroyed. You can see some of the tanks are being destroyed. The question there is why after it's closed down would you go back and continue to strike a target like this. The answer is we've taken away his production capability, but now we're taking away his sustainment and resupply. These tanks had fuel in them--oil--they were destroyed and burned.

[Photo - Novi Sad Petroleum Refinery, Serbia]

This is the same area. You see another large tank destroyed, burned the other night. This is its transshipment area on the river that has pumping areas on the docking areas. They've been destroyed. They can't come up and dock in those areas anymore.

[Photo - Internally Displaced Pensions, Kosovo]

One last thing, in the Brazlovik area in Kosovo itself, which is northeast of Pristina--a large concentration of refugees, IDPs you can see in this area along the road here [are] moving down the road. In this area here was the village itself. It's been burned out. Today, as has been reported earlier, there's about 1,000 refugees coming across the border every hour as we speak today.

We have some imagery for you.

[Begin Video]

Last night we hit nearly a dozen armored, either APCs or tanks, and several trucks as well as command post areas and radio relays in Kosovo. This is a film of the F-117 on a Minister of Defense building in downtown Belgrade early yesterday morning--you see under the cursor here. It's one of their major MUP headquarters for command and control. That was a direct hit.

Next is the Pristina nickel plant which is a MUP Serb staging area. We showed this yesterday. This is another building in that area. Once again, the other building was destroyed, and we continue to take down their ability to sustain the forces and have a place to operate from in Kosovo. [This was] an F-16 with a 2,000 pound laser-guided bomb.

The Podina railway bridge in southern Serbia, yesterday. The laser-guided bomb--this was actually in Serbia itself, not Kosovo--but it's a lock going into Kosovo. You can see here under the cursor. You'll have a direct hit on this. That span was dropped.

The Serb command post, which was a critical command and control element for the Serbs in Kosovo itself with an F-16 laser-guided bomb. This was in western Kosovo. It was camouflaged and hard to find. The black marks are trees. It was a direct hit on that camouflage. That was a significant target for us for the fielded forces and the command and control of those.

Next, as we heard before, there are some guard posts--Serb VJ guard posts along the Kosovo/Albanian border. We took out several of those last night. The white spots you see are trees on the ground. This is a building inside the trees. The F-16 out of Aviano with a laser-guided bomb destroyed [it] and it looks like some secondaries out of that one.

This is another guard post along the same border area. This is another F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. You see several type, [of] terrain--the trees. And that was a Serb VJ outpost along the border--command post.

Another guard post, same general area along that border--F-16 with laser-guided bomb again. Those aren't clouds, those are trees on the ground you see, and the white puffs--that building was destroyed.

This is just a smattering of the film from last night.

An alternative command post--Pristina Army Corps barracks--once again taking out their ability to command and control their forces in the field.

You see the weather here is a little bit hazy so he's working hard to keep the cursor on the target itself, and has a direct hit.

The Prizren radio relay site--F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT, LGB, a few days ago. This facility subsequently, I showed you yesterday a bomb that took out the top of this, but I just wanted to show you that all the bombs don't hit exactly where we want. That was about 500 feet off with no collateral damage. There are some misses sometimes.

A Pristina petroleum storage area--once again, taking out his sustainment and reserve. This is an F-16 out of Aviano strafing this target. You'll see the tank--this is actually a LANTIRN pod. He's not using this to guide his AAA, not his AAA but his strafe. He's using his heads-up display. That tank blows up so there was fuel in that tank. We have millions of rounds of bullets for the guns, so there's no chance of running out of that.

Do you have any questions today?

Q: May I ask Mr. Bacon first about a breaking news report?

Major General Wald: Sure.

Q: Ken, do you know anything about reports that the three hostages--the three soldiers--have been put in the care of Reverend Jackson? And if it is true, what are the implications?

Mr. Bacon: First, we've seen the reports, but we have no confirmation. If true, it would be good news. We always felt that these three POWs should not have been captured in the first place and should not have been held. But as I say, we've seen the reports. We have no confirmation. And I think we'll just have to wait until we know more facts before we can say more.

Q: If true, will it have any effect on the NATO air campaign?

Mr. Bacon: We have set out our goals for this campaign. We've made them very clear to Mr. Milosevic from the very beginning. This is a campaign that is designed to stop his ability, to stop him from his ethnic brutality, from trying to depopulate Kosovo. And if he refuses to do that on his own, our goal is to degrade his ability to continue this campaign. That's been our goal from the beginning and it remains our goal. We will pursue that until we achieve the goals.

Q: Ken, another breaking story--do you have any knowledge of a missile strike against a bus that was crossing a bridge someplace in Serbia, then it was hit again a half an hour or so later?

Mr. Bacon: We have seen those reports and we have absolutely no confirmation of them. We've been checking both here and at SHAPE, and we have found nothing to confirm those reports. We continue to check.

Q: Was such a bridge on the target list yesterday, last night, on...

Mr. Bacon: It was not.

Q: It was not?

Mr. Bacon: No.

Q: No bridges north of Pristina in that...

Mr. Bacon: I didn't say that, but I said that that particular bridge was not.

Having said that, we are still checking the reports.

Q: Would you consider, if this release of American soldiers is true--would you consider it a good sign indicative of anything else that might be moving in this process?

Mr. Bacon: I think it's too early to tell. Obviously it's good for the POWs and their families, but we don't--we've only see the reports. We can't verify them at this time. We've not talked to the Reverend Jesse Jackson. We have not talked to anybody else over there. And I think we just have to wait and see what develops. What people say about this, how soon it happens, these are all questions that remain to be answered.

Q: Would the U.S. consider--would NATO consider releasing... I gather there's at least one Yugoslav prisoner in NATO hands.

Mr. Bacon: I just can't--I can't answer that question because this has just happened in the last five minutes. Let's just wait and see what evolves.

Q: When was the last time that you spoke with Jesse Jackson? Was there any plan for if he did get them out?

Mr. Bacon: Well, all the communications with Jesse Jackson occurred either at the White House or the State Department. I don't think we spoke to him here.

But clearly we will do everything we can, if these stories are true, to help get these POWs out quickly and make sure they are examined by doctors and returned to their families as quickly as possible.

Q: The trade embargo that President Clinton signed last night and announced this morning at the White House. How does that differ from what was being done both militarily and diplomatically so far? And does it represent sort of another way, maybe, to come to an end run around the bit of conflict you ran into with the NATO allies last weekend on reaching consensus on how to do that militarily?

Mr. Bacon: First, last weekend the leaders of the 19 NATO countries all agreed that we have to stop oil from coming into Montenegro, and they instructed their Defense Ministers to work out the details for that. The Defense Ministers assigned it to General Clark, and he's made a proposal to the Military Committee of NATO. The Military Committee is still considering it.

When the Military Committee completes its work it will then pass it up to the North Atlantic Council, and the North Atlantic Council, which I think next meets on Monday--and I don't know whether the work will be done by then--but the North Atlantic Council will then consider it.

The action that we took was really parallel to the action that the European Union has taken, and that is to impose an embargo on EU countries and associate members who have signed up to it, and I think they all have now, not to send oil into Montenegro. And we enacted some regulations, under some international trade or export control laws to do basically the same thing. We're not a member of the EU, obviously, so this just brings us into parallel stature with them.

Q: Can we go back to the Yugoslav soldier that may be held?

Mr. Bacon: Right.

Q: Last week some NATO officials and a senior administration official said there were actually eight soldiers that had been captured in the last couple of weeks by the KLA and were about to be turned over. Do you know about these others? Is it still just one?

Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware of what happened to those eight soldiers. Eight soldiers have not been turned over to us.

Q: Were you aware that they'd been captured?

Mr. Bacon: Yes. We are aware that there are--we don't--we saw the same reports and we are aware that the UCK has captured people from time to time.

Q: How many is NATO holding?

Mr. Bacon: NATO is now holding two.

Q: When was the second one turned over?

Mr. Bacon: I don't have any details on the second. Very recently.

Q: Ken, can you tell us anything else about the second soldier?

Mr. Bacon: I cannot at this stage.

Q: No age, no...

Mr. Bacon: No, I have no details.

Q: Was it within the last 24 hours?

Mr. Bacon: It was relatively recently, yes.

Q: Can we ask about the report in one of the newspapers, that due to the fact that some of the allies do not have the same radio equipment in the air, that it's possible for Serb forces to listen in on some NATO plane, pilot conversations, and thereby protect some targets? Is that true? And how much effect does it have?

Major General Wald: First of all, all the NATO aircraft do not have all the same capabilities. As a matter of fact all the U.S. aircraft don't have all the same capabilities. I'll say that the U.S. aircraft have secure voice on both some aircraft on more than one radio.

But the way it works in normal operations, in an operation like this--first of all, there was a report I think I read someplace where there was a confusion on operations because of the incompatibility of equipment and tactics. That's false because we train at a place called TLP, Tactical Leadership Program, in Europe annually with NATO forces and they're very good together from an operational perspective.

When it comes to voice, if it isn't secure for any good reason, for a reason, then there are code words that are used and those are changed daily. And they change sometimes more than daily. So what sounds like a normal terminology on the radio sometimes, or say a heading of 210 for 50 miles doesn't necessarily mean that. Because there's ways to work around that.

On the other hand, it's no surprise to the Serbs or anybody else that we're flying over his country in a routine basis 24 hours a day. So if they hear some radio transmissions that shouldn't be any surprise to anybody. But there are plenty of work-arounds for NATO to figure out how, when they make a radio transmission, it wouldn't be anything that would give the Serbs a tactical advantage at that particular time, at that particular place.

The tape you heard the other day on TV--what I showed here--that actually was on secure voice. So that part we've taped. It wasn't taped from us. That was a tape given to us. So we didn't intercept that. That's our own tape. And that tape, when they were talking, when you heard, some of that was unsecure, some wasn't secure, and the voice that was on non-secure had code words attached to it that I think for anybody to try to figure out in a quick--from a quick response standpoint, it would be very difficult. As a matter of fact, you have to study those codes before you go out--quite a bit before you go--just so you know what it means, so when you talk through these things you can pick it up very quickly.

So I don't think there's any surprise that the Serbs can hear some radio transmissions. I would be very surprised if they didn't. As a matter of fact, I want them to hear some, because I want them know we're there. But whether they're getting things tactically that would be beneficial to them would be debatable.

Q: So there's no indication that they have decoded enough to be able to tell you're talking about a specific missile site or...

Major General Wald: No. On the other hand, too, there are transmissions made real time. Whether they could decode that I've dropped a bomb that's going to land within 20 seconds from now probably isn't going to help them much.

Q: General, about two weeks ago you said that anywhere in Kosovo was an engagement area. I noticed on your chart today...

Major General Wald: Any one could be. What they'll do is they may concentrate on certain areas that they think there are more targets or more activity in, and take a little more concentrated effort on that, for that particular time. But those engagement zones can shift almost on an hourly basis, and also those aircraft could be flexed or moved from that target to other ones real time in the air.

Q: General, could you explain a little bit more these targets of opportunities? You said there were 40 of them. Can you give us some...

Major General Wald: There were...

Q:...what types of targets they were. And is it possible that this bridge that was struck was one of those?

Major General Wald: From what I understand the bridge was not a flex target. Flex targets are normally not targets that would be a static target like a bridge or a petroleum area or a building. They're targets, as we've talked about before, in the fielded forces. We're not sure where all of those are all the time. They move around.

As we get more and more familiar with the Kosovo area and understand where things were before and build almost a database, both from an operational experience level of the pilots as well as intel, we can tell when things that weren't there before may be there now, or moving targets, let's say. And if we get an opportunity to find one of those via various means, whether it be a pilot to find it or a JSTARS or some other method, then we have aircraft in the area that can respond rapidly to take it out.

So last night we were very fortunate with weather and a lot of aircraft in the area, and we found a lot of those targets. Now some of those could be artillery, some could be the command post type things. Some could be tanks, some could be trucks, [or] armored personnel carriers--SAMs, AAA, that type of thing. So as we fly more and our OPSTEMPO increases which is part of the plan, plus that combination of weather, we're going to have more of those targets of opportunity. And as you can see, last night is a significant night and we expect the same to happen in the future.

Q: Can you give us any numbers of forces you might have hit?

Major General Wald: The numbers are hard to tell because we don't want to give you wrong information. But I can tell you that, for example, General Clark did give some numbers the other day--I think it was a week ago. As you can tell from the numbers of targets we've hit, that's going up. But a significant portion of his front-line targets are gone. I mean 35 or so percent, maybe more than that. It's hard to tell, because when we do battle damage assessment of a picture of a tank being hit by a 1,000-pound bomb that hits directly in it in video, we don't even call it destroyed until we can validate it. So I suspect our numbers are probably higher than we're even telling ourselves, but I don't want to give Milosevic too much information here. I'd like him to figure it out himself. But the numbers are increasing and there's a big chunk of his force that's being taken down every day.

Q: Can you be a little more specific? Is that hundreds of his forces have been killed?

Major General Wald: Yes.

Q: More than that?

Major General Wald: I don't know about killed people, but hundreds of his vehicles and tanks combined, and artillery, and pieces of equipment, hundreds have been destroyed.

Q: But you can't estimate how many people or how many actual Yugoslav soldiers at all?

Major General Wald: No, I can't.

Q: General, can you tell us more about the area bombs? Do you expect that they'll be used for flex targets and for fixed targets? And do you feel like they're precise enough that you could use them in Belgrade? Or is there too much of a chance...

Major General Wald: First of all, we have no area target bombs. All the targets we have, have some level of precision attached to them. And as I tried to explain earlier, even the B-52 which once again as I said earlier, this is not your father's B-52. This is a 30 year old, more than that, probably 40 year old aircraft that's been modified. So the only thing [that's] the same on the B-52 today is the airframe. So it has a very, very good capability to deliver weapons in a very accurate way considering that you have 54 of these come out at the same time. They will stay within a fairly confined area, like 1,000 feet or so. The targets that we pick--the weapon matches the target for collateral damage and effectiveness and [we] will continue to do that.

So I think this idea of carpet bombing and imprecise bombing is a passe idea.

Q: You had a couple of targets along the Kosovo/Albanian border. The UCK apparently is still able to bring some weapons in. They apparently have still control of some territory. Have you factored into your targeting, at all, where the UCK is operating, where they might be vulnerable, any information they may be passing on about where Yugoslav forces [that] are attacking them? Is any of this activity [or] information from the UCK taken into consideration in targeting?

Major General Wald: I'm not sure. I don't do targeting here at the Pentagon. They do that in the field. But I would say they would take any piece of information they can and factor it into how we do targeting. So any information we can get that is credible will be factored into it. But I don't have any indication that that's happening from the UCK, per se. But we know where the Serbs are in some cases, where the VJ are, and where they are we'll continue to attack them.

Q: Is the fact that you're considering using gravity bombs with the B-52, which is the antithesis of stealth, is that a commentary on the state of the Serb air defenses?

Major General Wald: I think it would be somewhat of a commentary on it. We've flown all kinds of non-stealthy aircraft in the area. As you know, there aren't that many that are stealthy, per se. So where it's tactically sound we'll fly the airframe against the right target. And there are some targets that that aircraft would do very well against. But once again, we're not crazy, we're just courageous, so we'll take the right precaution at the right time.

Q: In an interview that was published today, Milosevic said there are 100,000 troops in Kosovo, and he raised that number from 40,000 in anticipation of a ground assault from NATO forces.

Is there any reason to believe that it's near 100,000?

Mr. Bacon: We have no reason to believe that. None of our information is even close to that. Now obviously, counting troops is difficult and we've always given ranges of the number of troops in and around Kosovo, and they don't come anywhere near 100,000.

When this began we were estimating about 40,000 troops in the area. That is still pretty much our estimate in Kosovo--in or very close to Kosovo. We have not seen huge numbers of troops streaming into Kosovo. So I would say that this is either a sign of this lack of information about his own military force disposition or it's a sign of desperation to create some sort of propaganda force that doesn't exist on the ground.

The entire Yugoslav army is a little over 100,000--the active army. If you were to mobilize everybody, it would be about 400,000. So to go back to the original answer, we see no indication that there are 100,000 people there now. That would be adding up the VJ or the army and the MUP or special police.

It is clear, however, that he does--that he seems to think that he is going to be attacked by ground forces because he's been lining up defensive positions along the Macedonian border and the Albanian border. He's been digging in with artillery and armor, and other types of forces. This is not bad from our standpoint because they're static and we know where they are, and although they're dug in, they're much easier to attack than forces that might be dispersed or on the move. So we have taken account of that, obviously, in our operations. But we have nothing to confirm this number of 100,000.

Q: There may be a vote Monday in the Senate on whether to authorize Clinton to use all necessary force, possibly including ground troops. Would you welcome the passage of that measure or not?

Mr. Bacon: My understanding is that it may not be voted on, and I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. We've made it very clear that we believe that the air campaign is working. It's clearly gathering force every single day the weather allows us to intensify it, and it will continue to gather force. The number of targets will expand, the number of planes involved will expand, the number of hours they fly will expand, and the types of ordnance they drop will expand. So we are going to continue with an aggressive air campaign and we believe it will work.

Q: General Wald, and you as well, Mr. Bacon. Thanks for the information you've provided on the IDPs in past days.

I would ask what are the current numbers or the estimates of those who may still be in the hills? I understand there hasn't been any progress from the Greek NGOs to be allowed in to help them out. What can you tell us up to date about those people?

Major General Wald: What I can tell you is that as I mentioned earlier, there are a thousand an hour coming out of Kosovo now, and the total number estimated earlier in Kosovo was in the 250,000 to 700,000 range. The top number has to have decreased, but UNHCR is the official counter of those numbers. So we defer to them for the official numbers.

Q: What do the air photos show?

Major General Wald: Well, I showed you the one today, Bill. Maybe you weren't here. We had one, and it showed a village northeast of Pristina that had been evacuated--that the people are on the road and they're moving out, and those houses that they were in were burned.

Q: They're on the road.

Major General Wald: Yes. Some. Not all, but some were on the road.

Q: Does this mean that the number of refugees that you have coming out, that we may be building the other two camps in Albania?

Major General Wald: Once again, that's State Department, UNHCR, but I do understand there are plans--they're being planned. I don't think there's been a decision to do that at all, but all contingencies are being looked at for taking care of those folks.

Q: General, you said you were going to increase the level of force that you're applying. Can you tell us just at what stage you might be now and how much more intense it can get?

Major General Wald: There isn't any particular stage, but we're in an intense increased tempo stage, and I would say that we can stay at this level for an indefinite period of time, or we can increase it for an indefinite period of time. But we're well into a mature campaign at this point, and the OPSTEMPO is, as I said earlier, increasing. And as Mr. Bacon alluded to with the potential for more aircraft to arrive, that will only increase. The dichotomy here is as his forces lose more and more capability to maneuver, to defend themselves, to resupply themselves, to sustain themselves, they have no rest in the field. They aren't going back and sleeping 12 hours a day in some warm bed with good food. They're out in the field under tough conditions. So as that all adds up and they decrease their capability, we're increasing ours. So over time, it's just a matter of time until Milosevic either wises up and figures out what's happening or he gets his army destroyed.

Q: Can I quickly follow up on that, sir? You don't mention phases of the kind that require a decision...

Major General Wald: It's a little more sophisticated than to just say you can cut a phase in two. It's kind of synergistic. It's an effects-based issue here where you're taking down his ability to sustain and as you do that and develop more of a capability to fly with a little less risk, although I'll tell you that there are aircraft being shot at and we've had near misses as recently as the last few days. They're firing a lot of SAMs which would indicate to me, as an operational guy, that either they're becoming more desperate or they're taking more risk, one or the other. But whatever the case, it's good for us because it shows that he has the inclination now to try a lot of different types of things to defend against the attacks. So he is showing all indications to me that he's having problems with sustaining these strikes, and all the indications on our side is that we're going to increase the tempo, and with the good fortune of good weather it makes it even doubly bad for him.

Q: We've gotten a lot of information about how much the U.S. has stepped up its contribution in the military campaign. Can you give us any information about the other NATO countries, what they've added?

Major General Wald: They've added significantly, and maybe Mr. Bacon's got some details. But I can tell you that there are 13 other nations flying in this operation with us, with the United States and NATO. We're just a part of it. We have a lot of aircraft with a lot of capability. They do, too.

In the Gulf War--I'm not sure there were any, maybe the French, had some precision munitions, I'm not sure. Today there are at least eight other nations along with the U.S. that are dropping precision munitions. There are other nations that have some of the special category equipment from electronic intelligence to refuelers to airborne command and control, AWACS, special UAV type aircraft. So NATO's coming along and they're a giant contribution to this thing.

The beauty of that is--first of all it's 19 against one. The number two thing is, there's no reason that we'd ever think we were going to run out of any type of thing we'd need to execute this combat situation. So they're contributing in a big way.

Q: Is the U.S. still at about 60 percent of that...

Major General Wald: That's about the number.

Q: You said they've been firing against U.S. planes.

Major General Wald: NATO planes.

Q: NATO planes. But still no hits.

The second part of my question is, has the U.S. got down pat the Russian-build equipment, and are we defeating the Russian-built equipment both in Iraq and also in Kosovo, Serbia?

Major General Wald: We know about Russian equipment. We don't have anything down pat. If we did, there wouldn't be a threat. But we are defeating their equipment based on a lot of things. One is, I think we have better trained people that are more professional. Number two, we've developed tactics against that. Number three, we have, as you saw earlier, a lot of support aircraft that make sure this mission goes as it should, so they're not out there just witnessing this, they're contributing in a large way to make sure that we, in a synergistic way once again, from a defensive standpoint, add not only kinetic kill to it but some passive and some other means to it.

Once again, the risk is not gone. And I think the American people and NATO need to remember this. The pilots out there are under great risk. They're being shot at a lot.

As I said, there have been dozens of SAMs shot this week--lots of AAA. Sometimes as we talk through this, and we've been fortunate not to have anybody shot down, that it's because we don't have a high threat we're going against. So I think it's a disservice to the pilots out there, and I know you're not alluding to this, but to think that they're not under risk. And I think the American public ought to take pride in what we're doing.

Q: There's still no hits, is that correct?

Major General Wald: As I said earlier, I haven't heard anything today of any hits at all. There could have been some. But if there are some, we report it. But once again, 4,500-plus sorties, and there's a lot of professionalism, there's a lot of good luck. Once again, I wish them all the luck in the world.

Q: May I just ask you about the Apaches? There are a number of reports quoting retired senior officers who used to work--flew Apaches or commanded them-- saying that they don't think that weapon system is designed to go over territory where there are not ground forces also in place.

Is it conceivable that the Apaches will never fly over Kosovo? That they will simply skirt around the edges and fly in? Give us, if you would, a status report on...

Major General Wald: First of all, I'm not going to talk about how they'll employ because of obvious reasons. But I would refer back to your first point about retired officers. In the last six months since I left the Air Staff, came to the Joint Staff, I keep in contact with folks from back in the Air Staff. Many things have changed over that period of time on capabilities of aircraft and how we employ things. So it's evolving all the time. We have learned lessons already in Kosovo of how to employ aircraft. I think the beauty of the U.S. forces and NATO in this case is that we aren't stuck to some archaic doctrine that says you can only do things a certain way. They're very flexible.

In the case of the Apaches, just like the B-52, just like stealth, like any other aircraft, laser-guided bombs, gravity bombs, they'll be used against the right target at the right time in the right circumstance.

If I were on the ground, I would be very fearful of an Apache. They have an outstanding capability.

Once again, we don't need to use the Apache right now. They're training up, they've been talking with the Combined Air Operations Center at Vicenza--General Short and General Hendricks. They're working out their operation. When the time's right, General Clark will ask to employ them and I'm sure he'll get approval when he wants to.

Q: Should I read from what you just said that there's been some change in the capability or the risk level to Apaches in the last six months?

Major General Wald: No, from the standpoint of the macro sense, there hasn't been any change.

Now in Kosovo, as a matter of fact, their capability to attack our aircraft has been decreasing. There are different types of environments for every type of aircraft. What I'm saying is the U.S. military and NATO is not a stagnant force. We learn all along the way. This is not the Gulf War. This is certainly not Vietnam. We change, we learn, we change tactics, and those will be employed at the right time and with the right aircraft.

Q: General, going back you said, this is a pretty intense time that the pilots are going through. I ask this every now and then. How are pilots doing now? Are you going to establish a rotation policy for these guys who have now been in there for 38 days?

Major General Wald: I can talk about a specific example and then in a macro sense. There are some rotations going on as the Reserve and Guard individuals rotate out. That's kind of the beauty of the Guard and Reserve. The permanent-stationed aircraft, for example at Aviano, they will stay there and fly continuously. They have some other pilots they can ask to come fly that are current in their weapon system at times. But they will stay there and fly.

And it's probably a good question because a lot of people don't understand what a duty day for an operator is. But an example would be a strike mission over Kosovo for an F-16 pilot out of Aviano. He may come in at 0400 in the morning. Obviously he has to drive to work because there's no base housing. So probably an hour before that he got out of the rack. He'll get to work at 4:00, plan the mission for about two hours. Then they'll brief the mission. He has to go through a comprehensive intelligence briefing, do some of the things we talked about earlier with the code words for the frequencies and several other things. Then he has to go get his gear on, which is not a small thing because they have to wear a lot of survival gear and some other things.

Then he has to go to the airplane, do a pre-flight which takes about 20 minutes. Then he gets in the aircraft and starts and has to get the airplane ready to go, get all his systems going, that's about 50 minutes prior to takeoff. Then he has to fly to the area, probably refuels en-route, so that's another hour before he gets to the area. Then he'll fly over the area on combat air patrol, they're over the area for six hours. Then he has to come back and land. That's another hour back to the field. Then you're in the aircraft for 45 minutes until you can shut down because you have to de-arm and do all that.

Then you have to go in and debrief maintenance because the aircraft are very complex and you want to make sure everything is working. Then you have to go back in the squadron and debrief for about an hour to make sure your mission was right. Then if you're lucky, you get to go home and go to bed. So that's kind of what the day's like.

So you get about--they're only working half days, maybe more -- about 12 or 14 hours a day.

Q: General, can I go to Ken for just a second? Ken, I notice you keep getting passed notes and information. Can you give us any more information on the POWs or elaborate at all on your earlier comments?

Mr. Bacon: I was just looking at wire service reports. The latest report says that the Reverend Jackson will leave with the POWs tomorrow for Croatia. That's the only information I have.

Q: Can I ask you a question on refugees then? This may be out of your lane as well. But the refugees that are coming next week to Fort Dix on Tuesday I think you said, how are they chosen? They volunteer, I assume, but who gets to come, who doesn't? How does that work?

Mr. Bacon: Some are coming because they have family members or relatives in the United States, but I don't know how all the others were chosen. This was done by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, not by us. So the processing has occurred elsewhere.

Q: How many of the initial call-ups are actually in the area now? And is there a schedule planned for the next wave?

Mr. Bacon: I don't know the answer to that. The planes--I don't think any of the planes have gotten there yet, so my guess is that probably none are in the area at this stage, but they'll be going...

Major General Wald: There have been some crews that went forward with the aircraft.

Mr. Bacon: I would guess that if a few crews went forward they could be there, but otherwise I would guess it would be a pretty small number. We can try to check on that.

Q: The same question for the Reserve call-up people.

Mr. Bacon: I don't think we've gone beyond the 2,100 at this stage.

Q: Are all those 21 [2,100] there now?

Mr. Bacon: No. I thought that's what you were asking earlier. Many of those are going over with the tankers, so I assume that they'll move when the tankers move unless there has been some pre-stationing of crews, maybe maintenance crews.

Major General Wald: (inaudible)

Mr. Bacon: Yeah. But I would guess that most of them will move with the planes.

Q: I think yesterday you said it was a record day in terms of the number of actual bombing missions, let alone the sorties. How is today shaping up? Will it surpass yesterday? Is it an all time high in bombing missions? What can you say about that?

Mr. Bacon: If the weather holds, it should be another very robust day. Certainly on a par with yesterday.

Q: Ken, can you give us any kind of official response to the latest Yugoslav peace plan--six or seven point peace plan that Mr. Milosevic describes in the New York Times?

And we are hearing now reports that Reverend Jackson has word from President Milosevic that President Milosevic has agreed to write a letter to President Clinton outlining how he thinks the conflict could be ended, and that he's willing to meet with President Clinton. Do you have any reaction to any of that?

Mr. Bacon: I'm learning all of this real time, and I think you'll appreciate the fact that I need to know more facts. I'm sure you've given a very accurate account, but I think we need to get more facts about this particular breaking story before I can comment.

On the broader issue of President Milosevic's peace plan, it does not meet several of the fundamental standards that NATO has laid out. First, it does not call for a complete removal of the Serb or Yugoslav army forces from Kosovo. Second, it does not allow for a NATO-led peacekeeping force to come in and set up safe and secure conditions for the return of the refugees. He has allowed for--he said that he would accept a UN force with side arms. We don't believe that that's enough following the violence that has been inflicted on the Kosovar Albanian people by the Yugoslav army, to leave large concentrations of Yugoslav soldiers and special police in Kosovo, the people responsible for the killing, the murders, the executions, the rapes, and the other rampages, will not allow the refugees to return.

It's clearly NATO's goal and the goal of every country but Yugoslavia in the area to deal with this refugee crisis by allowing people to go home and to live in peace and security. That cannot be done under the proposal that President Milosevic has made.

We are hopeful that he will make a more reasonable proposal, one that we could accept, but so far that hasn't happened.

There are clearly a lot of people working on this. We appreciate the efforts that are being made to negotiate or bring about a peace settlement, but it has to be a real settlement. It can't be one that only promises to solve the problem but doesn't provide the tools that are necessary to solve it.


Q: Ken, you used the word NATO-led peacekeeping force. The State Department, it seems they say NATO core. Is there a difference between NATO-led and NATO core? And can you define what that means?

Mr. Bacon: I don't believe there's a difference. We have drawn heavily from the Bosnia example, and the Bosnia example is you have to have clarity of mission, you have to have unity of command. The NATO model, the NATO-led aspect of that force has worked extremely well in Bosnia, and that's what we have looked at in terms of setting up a Kosovo peace enforcement force.

But I think what everybody has to keep in mind here is that we need a real solution to this problem, not a phony solution. We believe that there can't be a real solution unless the Serb troops are out and a NATO-led peacekeeping force comes in to allow the refugees to come back with confidence.

Q: Sir, as you know, the MILSTAR II satellite is stuck in the wrong orbit because of a rocket misfiring. This is the third time this sort of thing has happened. It's had some problems. What is your reaction to this, and what kind of impact is this going to have on our military?

Mr. Bacon: Well, it's obviously unfortunate and costly that the satellite is in the wrong orbit. I understand that there may be ways to get it back into the right orbit, but it could be a long shot at that.

My understanding is that the three failures have occurred for three different reasons. There doesn't seem to be a clear pattern linking all three of these, which makes it very difficult to resolve. But obviously the Air Force and the contractors are working very hard to figure out how to correct this.

In terms of capability, I think we have a robust and redundant military communications capability and I don't believe this will be a major operational problem.

Q: I have a question for General Wald.

Sir, you mentioned hitting targets along the border including border posts. Would this benefit the UCK? And is that coincidence or intended?

Major General Wald: It would be all consequence and coincidence. If it benefits them, that's fine.

Q: Ken, I know this hasn't been worked out yet, but can you say potentially where the POWs might be taken in Germany to be debriefed, assuming that they were released tomorrow morning?

Mr. Bacon: Typically in situations like this they go to Ramstein, but that's the normal pattern. I don't believe we've had a chance to focus on this yet, but that's my belief as to where they're likely to go. Whether that turns out to be the case, time will tell.

Q: We had an air show yesterday with an Apache outside the building. I would just ask, are the pilots of that craft protected from ground fire? Do they have bullet-proof type protection around them, or what?

Mr. Bacon: I don't know the answer to that question. You had a colonel here yesterday answering all your questions and I would have thought he was the more appropriate one.

Any of you guys aviators over there?

Major General Wald: It's similar to the A-10. They have a titanium round they sit in, and they wear vests and all types of things that would defend against the.

Q: What about the glass?

Major General Wald: If the glass is...

Captain Doubleday: They sit lower in the cockpit. We'll show you the tape.

Q: Okay.

Q: Any plans to follow on with more of the aircraft that have been requested by the SACEUR?

Mr. Bacon: Nothing to announce, no.

Q: Do you have a Derby favorite?

Mr. Bacon: Kentucky Derby? General Wald and I have discussed this, and he gravitated toward two -- Desert Hero, because he flew in Desert Storm; and First American. He chose First American even though the odds are only 50 to 1. I looked at Worldly Manner. But I thought that it was only appropriate as a spokesman to take Answer Lively, and the odds there are also 50 to 1. (Laughter)

Press: Thank you.

Mr. Bacon: Thanks.

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