Also participating is Major General Chuck Wald, J-5.
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. It's nice to see you all.
Let me start out with a brief announcement. As you know, we mentioned before that F/A-18s will be leaving Beaufort, South Carolina, for Hungary soon. The first group of 150 Marines and sailors departed the Marine Corps Air Station at Beaufort today aboard an Air Force C-17, and the Hornets will follow tomorrow -- 24 F/A-18Ds. Altogether, this deployment in Hungary, Tazar, Hungary, will involve about 800 Marines and sailors, all of whom should be in place the first part of next week.
I have one other thing to say about this map [Chart unavailable] here. You know from listening to the NATO briefing and other briefings today that we're getting more and more reports of demonstrations against the war and against the Milosevic government in Serbia, central Serbia. The three places [Aleksandrovac, Cacak, Krusevac] that have been mentioned are listed on this map. You can see them there.
The most dramatic demonstrations seem to be in Krusevac. We believe that there have been fairly large desertions recently from units in Kosovo who are trying to get back to Krusevac.
There were reports on Radio Free Europe that water hoses were used against women and children who were protesting the fact that their husbands or fathers, loved ones, were being killed in Kosovo. Apparently, the government had withheld information about the degree of loss from the people, and as these reports began to filter back, demonstrations started, we believe, on the 16th of May, so they've been going on for several days in all three of these towns.
We mentioned two of the towns yesterday; the new town of Cacak has been added. We just learned about that today, that demonstrations also have been going on there. These have been reported in the Montenegrin press and in other local press in Yugoslavia in the last day or two.
But our understanding is that approximately 500 soldiers, maybe more -- maybe as many as 1,000 by some accounts -- have left units in Kosovo and tried to move back to Krusevac in order to stop what they consider to be the mistreatment of their families by the special police.
I think there are two important points to make about this. One, if the accounts we are getting are correct, the people are now just learning for the first time about the impact of NATO's attacks in Kosovo. It's clear that the Serbs have been afraid to reveal this information and probably been afraid also to reveal the information about ethnic brutality and other activities that the special police and the Serb army have been undertaking in Kosovo. And they've also been afraid to reveal the full magnitude of the losses in Kosovo.
Just to give you one indication of those losses because of NATO air attacks, I've said here several times before that the Serbs have been marshalling artillery and other forces along the border between Kosovo and Albania on the one hand, and Kosovo and Macedonia on the other hand. They actually started doing this in March before the NATO Operation ALLIED FORCE began.
One of the consequences of doing that is that they have massed artillery along the borders. We believe they've been doing this because they suspect or assume that they'll be invaded by NATO forces. So they have massed artillery along the borders, and the massed artillery is relatively easy for NATO planes to target, and we have been targeting that, and have now, we believe, removed the majority of the artillery in Kosovo -- perhaps as much as 90 percent of the artillery in Kosovo in the last several weeks -- by attacking massed artillery along the borders. We've also made significant progress against the APCs and the tanks, taking out probably a third or more of the total armored vehicles as well as many other vehicles such as trucks -- supply trucks, fuel trucks, etc. -- in Kosovo.
So, these protests are continuing. There were supposed to be more protests today from what we understand from public reports, media reports in Montenegro. Obviously, there's a possibility that they'll spread, although we can't know for sure whether they have until we see more evidence about what's happening.
Q: Can you clarify one thing on your sourcing on the 500 to 1,000 troops. Is your sole source press reports, or are there other indications that you have gotten?
Mr. Bacon: We have other indications of the desertions. Those do not come from press reports. They come from other sources of information.
The source for the demonstrations comes largely from press reports including -- Pancevo Radio, for instance, has talked about -- Pancevo Radio said that yesterday, on May 18th, an informal protest group in Cacak called Citizens Parliament condemned the NATO bombing campaign, but also "called on the state leadership to find a way to end the destruction of their already impoverished country and stop the killing of civilians and soldiers." This was according to Pancevo Radio.
Q: You are certain that the desertions are desertions and not just a withdrawal of forces to those towns? In other words, Milosevic has said we're withdrawing some of our forces out of Kosovo. You're certain that you are seeing desertions, not a withdrawal of those forces to their hometowns?
Mr. Bacon: Based on what we know now, we're pretty certain that they are desertions, that these are people who are leaving against their orders and have decided to return to their homes for various reasons. We think it's...
Q: In a big, tough military like this, isn't it surprising that they would allow their forces to say, "eh, we're out of here", without stopping them, shooting them, getting in their way?
Mr. Bacon: I think there's been an element of that. I think there has been some resistance. That's why we think it's desertion rather than a phased withdrawal.
Q: There are signs that the Serb military has tried to stop them?
Mr. Bacon: There are indications that there have been disputes, if not fights, over the effort of these 500 to 1,000 troops. I think conservatively we'd have to say 500 troops. NATO has used the figure 1,000. It could well be as high as 1,000.
Q: Are entire units leaving, deserting?
Mr. Bacon: It is our impression that battalion-level units are leaving.
Q: All out of one place or spread out?
Mr. Bacon: It's hard to know at this stage, but they come from one brigade. They're battalions from one brigade.
Q: Maybe the Yugoslavians are thinking to divert the situation.
Mr. Bacon: Perhaps he does, but it's hard to know that. It's hard to see how demonstrations against the government would be a diversionary tactic by President Milosevic. These seem to be demonstrations against the regime. They're demonstrations that express dismay over the losses that the Serb army is suffering, and they are generated by, we believe, the families of soldiers. That's what's been reported at any rate on Podgorica Television and Pancevo Radio and some of the other...
These are all in FIBIS reports. You can get copies of these broadcasts and read them yourself.
Q: Do units appear to be leaving with their officers?
Mr. Bacon: I don't think we know a lot about the makeup, but they do seem to be leaving with some equipment.
Q: We know that you've had, the softest figures you've had are on Serb casualties or military casualties. At this point do you have any idea of how severe the casualty toll has been inflicted by the NATO campaign? Is there any way to characterize it at all?
Mr. Bacon: No, except that President Milosevic last week talked about many, many casualties, but beyond that we don't have any numbers on what that might be.
Q: On the announcement of artillery being moved close to the borders, can you tell us any more details about, say, tanks being moved, troops being moved down there, troops being moved to replace those troops that are being put on the border? Are the refugee camps in range of the artillery, etc.?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware the refugee camps are in range, but we do know there is from time to time shelling across the border from Kosovo into Albania. That's been going on sporadically from before March 24th, but certainly since March 24th as well.
I'm not aware that they have been moving artillery or armor down to replace the artillery they're losing, in part because its becoming increasingly clear to them that when they move their artillery, we can find it and target it.
I know General Wald has shown pictures of a Predator following the movements of tanks, of an individual tank. Remember the one that ran over a house that we saw, I think, two weeks ago? Or ran over a car, that's right. So we are able to monitor this as it moves.
One of the things we've been working on -- and General Wald could talk about this in more detail -- is getting this information quickly into the cockpits of the planes that are waiting off-shore so they can go in and strike against moving targets.
Q:...on the MLRS system deployed in Albania, and they talked about a lot of artillery on the border, the shelling across the border in Albania, the reports of the Serbs digging in along the borders to stop a suspected ground attack. It all leads to the question of why hasn't MLRS and the ATACMS been used against those kinds of targets? They're very effective against those kind of targets, and they come at relatively low cost to us.
Mr. Bacon: They are very effective, but -- as I've just said in citing figures that we've eliminated a large portion of the Serb artillery -- we believe that our A-10s and other planes have been very effective against these targets as well.
Q: How about the troops positions that have been dug in in that area?
Mr. Bacon: We have been attacking those troop positions as well. They tend to be...
Q:...you have -- you've been inhibited by the weather to do...
Mr. Bacon: We are using the weapon systems we have. They're called A-10s, and they're called F-16s, and there are other planes, and we've been using them with considerable effect.
Q: So the net effect of all this is that the positions, the artillery positions and the concentrated troops on the border now are -- there are far fewer of them than there were a few weeks ago?
Mr. Bacon: We certainly have been pummeling. I don't know whether we know what percentage we've removed. They have mortars and other things along there, too. But to the extent we can locate the artillery and target it, we've been doing that. The artillery is less mobile than the tanks, obviously. It tends to be dug in, and therefore while it's bad news that they've stationed this artillery there because it would make any movement into Kosovo more difficult, it's good news in that it makes it much easier to target. This means, I think, that one of the pressures they have to deal with is the heavy losses of artillery, and they have to wonder whether the massed forces they put there would effectively be able to stop any troops from coming in. Of course, we don't plan to invade anyway; we plan to go in after a peace agreement. But to the extent that there is less artillery to worry about even under peaceful terms, it's good news to us.
Q: On that topic, you mentioned a peace force going in. What is the U.S. view on when that should begin, that process should begin of moving a force into the area? How soon, and how much time do you have?
Mr. Bacon: All this is being worked out by NATO now. They're in the process of reviewing the size, the composition of the force, how quickly it should be moved down. This, obviously, is a hot issue, and it's one of the topics that the British have been talking about, for instance, in saying that we should get troops down there, because we might have to move in quickly.
So far we don't have a peace agreement, and we're not close to one, although there's more and more talk and greater efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution. We hope there is a diplomatic solution. We think that we, the U.S., would be able to move forces down there quite quickly.
Q: How quickly?
Mr. Bacon: We could certainly move significant forces down there in a matter of, I would say, days, if we can work out sequencing with humanitarian aid and other things.
But this is exactly the type of question that NATO's trying to work out now.
Q: What about the diplomatic initiative? You mentioned diplomacy with Talbott and Chernomyrdin and President Clinton. Any word on how that's moving?
Mr. Bacon: I have no progress report to make on that.
Q: The units that are deserting and those clashes that involved them, do those appear to be clashes between army units or between army and MUP units?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know the answer to that.
Q: Prior to the pummeling along the borders, how were the Serb troops dispersed throughout the country? Because there's still a good deal of fighting, according to NATO, in the central part between UCK and Serb troops.
Mr. Bacon: There continues to be fighting between the Kosovar Liberation Army or UCK on the one hand, and the Serb army and special police forces on the other. That moves around from place to place.
The KLA is operating like a true guerrilla movement and attacking targets of opportunity and then receding. They're not holding towns or territory at this stage.
Q: Do you know the ratios between troops that are doing that sort of fighting and the others that are dug in?
Mr. Bacon: I don't at this stage know how that's divided.
Q: Do you have any idea where in Kosovo these units are that are deserting in large numbers? And should we wonder about the credibility of the reports? Would it be wise for a soldier to desert in the middle of a very hostile place and among people who have good reason to fear and hate him and would attack him? The KLA is operating there.
Mr. Bacon: As I say, they seem to be leaving in groups, and they're taking some equipment with them, so they have been able to do this. They're in northern Kosovo, so it doesn't take them long to get back to their areas. But you'll have to ask them -- I mean, you can't ask them, but that's a good question, I think, and it may be a sign of the disarray, a sign of the fear, and a sign of the impact that the NATO strikes are having on the forces now.
We'll have to watch this and see if more, if this was an aberration or if this is the beginning of a trend. I don't think we know at this stage.
Q: Can you say a little more exactly where in northern Kosovo? You're saying battalion-sized units, and 500 to 1,000 deserters, I guess you're talking about one, two, maybe three incidents, right?
Mr. Bacon: There could be -- I think in a battalion there's probably around 200 people, so it could be several battalions. It could be larger than that.
All we know really is really from northern Kosovo that they seem to be moving, and where they're going is up to this town of Krusevac is where they seem to be heading.
Q:...on the road right now as far as you know right now?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know exactly where they are. That's -- we have not observed them because of the weather. We don't have pictures.
Q: So where do they stand -- if you do see them -- where do they stand on the U.S. targeting list?
Mr. Bacon: We have said that we would continue to attack forces until there is a cease-fire and a withdrawal plan that's been laid out and we see evidence that it's happening.
Q: So even if somebody is heading north, they're still subject to attack.
Mr. Bacon: They can come back.
Q: The other question I have is, hitting all this dug-in artillery along the border, to what extent does that basically help the KLA conduct cross-border operations?
Mr. Bacon: Well, if it does help them, it's a subsidiary benefit. But the main reason we're doing this is to try to eliminate dug-in position and to reduce the force, which, is, after all, our military goal, to diminish the size of the force.
Q:...90 percent help the KLA?
Mr. Bacon: It certainly reduces the opposition they face, but there still is some -- there's some sporadic firing from time to time across the border.
Q: As you've described the situation with the deserting troops, it obviously suggests that they are getting information about what's happening back in their hometowns. How do you believe that that information is getting around? Is it likely that -- a lot of the Serb troops in Kosovo are aware of circumstances back home?
Mr. Bacon: What's been reported is that they were getting the information on Radio Free Europe, so they must have short-wave radios that allow them to get that information
Q: There was a report on a Yugoslav news agency in which the report claimed that a NATO bomb had hit a village called Gniglane (sic) [Gnjilane] -- I can't pronounce it: G-N-I-G-L-A-N-E (sic) -- killing 15 civilians who were being held on a construction site near a restaurant. Do you have anything on that?
Mr. Bacon: NATO is looking into that now. That village is near Pristina in Kosovo. We are looking into that now.
The way you cited it, it sounds like another human shield incident, if that's what the report is, that these civilians are being "held" at a construction site. But NATO is in the process of looking at what may have happened there.
Q: The Wall Street Journal had a story saying that NATO had agreed to a force, or the Military Committee had agreed to a force of about 45,000 from the 28,000 talked about last summer, going into Kosovo. Can you give us a sense of whether those are accurate figures and the rough order of magnitude?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Q: 45,000 is?
Mr. Bacon: 45,000 to 50,000.
Q: Is it kind of soup right now, or will we have some details over the next day or two?
Mr. Bacon: The process is that this starts with the Military Committee and then moves on to the North Atlantic Council. The North Atlantic Council can send items back to the Military Committee for more work, for refinement, greater analysis. I don't know whether they will or they won't.
But we've been saying for some time that the KFOR, the so-called Kosovo Peace Implementation Force, would probably have to be larger than 28,000 given the amount of devastation that's taken place in Kosovo. This is one indication that it will, in fact, be much larger.
Q: Instead of giving numbers, can you just say whether it's reasonable to expect that the U.S. contribution then, which was going to be about 4,000 troops, would increase somewhat?
Mr. Bacon: Yes. It would probably. I don't think the President has made a decision on this. Remember, he made the decision last time to contribute 4,000 troops, but I think you could anticipate a proportional increase, which would be in the range of 7,000 or so.
Q: When you say troops, [that] the troops could move within weeks down to the region, were you talking about the potential 45,000 contingent or just the U.S. contingent?
Mr. Bacon: First of all there are already 13,000 NATO troops in Macedonia, and there are another -- we have 6,000 troops now in Albania, including Task Force Hawk and some Air Force people who run the airport in Tirane, basically run the 24-hour-a-day air traffic control system. Then we have some Red Horse, Air Force Red Horse teams there, helping to build Camp Hope and the other refugee camps we're constructing. There's some contract work there as well.
I think there are other NATO troops, probably a couple of thousand other NATO troops in Albania. So there are some there already.
One of the questions is whether these troops are properly constituted to form the core of a peacekeeping force. Now, troops in Macedonia are. They went down under the Rapid Reaction Corps, NATO's Rapid Reaction Corps, under the command of Lieutenant General Mike Jackson. They were there, positioned there to be the leading edge of a peacekeeping force. I think what we would do is fall in on that and build it up.
Q: How many of those are Americans?
Mr. Bacon: In Macedonia there are very few Americans. There are some Marines, a small number of Marines in Macedonia. Most of our troops, the vast majority of them, 90 percent, 95 percent, are in Albania.
Q: The 7,000 figure, is that an increase of 7,000 or is that a total of 7,000?
Mr. Bacon: It would be a total.
Q: Can the Military Committee make a recommendation...
Mr. Bacon: This is a squishy figure. This has not been worked out.
Q: The 45,000 to 50,000 squishy figure that the Military Committee came up with, did they also make a recommendation as to the U.S. participation in...
Mr. Bacon: No. Generally that comes at a later stage. They deal in gross numbers and then as it works through the process, it's refined and individual countries say how much they'll provide to meet the overall total, and we're probably a little ways away from that right now.
Q: One thing about the desertions. Are we to understand that the Yugoslav army is organized, that the units are arranged somewhat in the way that they were 100 years ago in the United States? Is that individual units all came from a particular state or a particular area, and your suggestion is that each of these battalions came from this particular city? Is that what you're saying?
Mr. Bacon: These could be reservists, and that would be particularly true in the case of reservists.
Q: You're not sure if they're reservists, though.
Mr. Bacon: We think they probably are reservists.
Q: Ken, two very quick ones. Any word on the interdiction/blockade? And two, will General Clark meet with us while he's here?
Mr. Bacon: The answer to each question is, I think, "no."
Q: Ken, has General Clark or anyone else, are they doing any planning on a possible forced entry into Kosovo, if there is a situation where you have a military collapse and units leaving their positions and so on?
Mr. Bacon: The NATO planning now is focusing on the peace implementation force. There is ongoing this reassessment that was announced just before the Washington Summit nearly a month ago -- still not complete. But that's a reassessment of an earlier assessment, and that is ongoing, but that's not complete.
Press: Thank you.
Mr. Bacon: General Wald.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
[Chart - Weather Conditions]
Major General Wald: I'll start with the weather, which has been not very good over the last 24 hours, as a matter of fact, very poor as was predicted. So after the last 24 hours, poor weather, stayed real bad last night. We didn't hit a lot of targets, but we hit some pretty significant ones I'll talk about. It's been increasing and improving over the last 24 hours.
Then what will happen over the next few days is you'll have a spike in here of some thunderstorms toward the afternoon, and then it should start improving once again for the next few days toward the end of the week.
[Chart - Day 56 Recap]
Last night, as I said, a lot of weather, but we still hit some pretty significant targets. We hit five Soko P-2 small aircraft that are used for counterinsurgency, and it turns out they were probably being used, possibly, against some of the targets that the VJ and MUP are attacking against the KLA, so that was a good hit. I'll show film of that later.
Radio relay site. An ammunition plant. Some artillery, Mr. Bacon talked about that, a lot of that along the border. Some army barracks. A petroleum storage area in Belgrade, which is right downtown Belgrade, last night.
Major General Wald: Six major targets, yet. But there were several DMPIs on some of those.
[Chart - Day 56 Recap (continued)]
The total sorties to date, 22,626, of which strikes the U.S. has flown just under 3,000, the allies pretty close to the same number. Combat support, you can see here a total of almost 9,000. Then combined support, 7,000, for a total here of about 15,000 direct combat-type sorties. Bombs dropped to date, 14,200.
[Chart - Airfield Damage Assessment]
Just kind of a recap of one of the target areas we've been hitting. These are the major runways in the area that the FRY have been using. You can see there are nine of those. The white ones here are all non-operational as of today, and they've all been taken down in several different ways. Then there's a couple of assembly plants here that have been destroyed. The runway at Podgorica and Belgrade itself, of course, that being a civilian runway, has not been not taken down. But the runways here you can see are either operational or non-operational. Only two operational, and most of them infrastructure, some functionally destroyed, some moderately. But they do have the capability to come back and repair that, and when they do, we'll go back and strike it again and hit it until it's either non-functional forever or Milosevic decides not to fly anymore.
MiG-29s. Conservatively, probably 75 percent. I'd say it's probably even higher than that, maybe in the 80th percentile. MiG-21s, at least greater than 30 percent. Galebs over 35 percent. Plus another 70 type aircraft, helicopters and other small ones. I'll show five of those a little bit later.
That's just one target category. It's only a sub-category of IADS, so we'll continue to go ahead and his targets over the next period of time.
[Chart - Refugees in Theater]
Not a lot of refugee movement. Still, some are moving out of the Former Republic of Macedonia. As you can see, only a couple of thousand into Bosnia over the last 24 hours.
[Chart - 59 Countries Provide Contributions]
Contributions continue to come up. Over the last 24 hours, several increases in the tonnage, and still some refugees moving to various countries. Twenty-eight total with the plan of about 160,000 in those countries to move on in.
[Chart - PROVIDE REFUGE - Refugee Status]
Fort Dix continues to have refugees arrive. Yesterday, I mentioned they were going to have almost 100 leave for families on the civilian economy. That did not happen, because they hadn't finished their medical checks yet, so that should happen in the next day or two, but they continue to move into Fort Dix. They still are planning for no more than 4,200 at any one given time.
[Chart - Operation SUSTAIN HOPE Last 24 Hours]
Camp Hope is up to almost 2,000. It's getting close to completion. The NATO and the governmental agencies as well as UNHCR now are planning to move the refugees that are in the camps around Kukes, which there are around 30,000, all of those to southern Albania and to other camps, primarily because the reservoir there, it turns out, will not have enough water to sustain them, so they're going to move them to a better water source. Then, the International Red Cross has purchased 500,000 HDRs from a U.S. source. They'll be shipping those over. As I mentioned, Fort Dix will be moving up to about 4,200 total capacity.
Q: When do you expect all the people to be out of Kukes?
Major General Wald: It will take a while until all the camps are built, but they'll be moving them out over the next few weeks, I suspect, if they can do that.
[Photos available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation+Allied+Force]
[Photo - Ponikve Airfield, Serbia - Post Strike]
This is one of the airfields that was struck last night, Ponikve airfield. You can see this was the actual runway here. It's a little easier to see the strikes here. These were MK-82s, probably 40 or 50 in a string.
This is actually a taxiway over here, quite a ways from the runway. There's some hardened aircraft shelters in this area, as well as down here. I'll show you a couple of films of some aircraft shelters that were struck with, for certain, something inside, probably aircraft, and those were destroyed as well last night. So you asked about targets, this is one that had several hits on it last night.
[Photo - Ponikve Airfield, Serbia - Post Strike]
This is the area I just mentioned to you. You can see some holes in this part of the runway as well. These are some of the hardened aircraft shelters. They're actually hardened aircraft bunkers. There's dirt over the top of them. I'll show you some imagery, cockpit imagery, of that in just a moment.
[Photo - Sabac AM Broadcast Facility, Serbia - Post Strike]
This is one of the radio relay sites hit last night. This is one of the sub-relay sites. We're going down through his different layers of robust redundancy. It's not a real large site, but you can see the antenna laying here. We'll just continue to take his command and control down piece by piece, and we'll continue to kind of mount up until he has a very difficult time commanding and controlling his fielded forces.
[Photo - Popovac Highway Bridge over Railroad, Serbia]
This is a bridge that I showed a couple of times already. One is there's a stand here that had some damage to it, not very much. There's a short round here that I showed the other day, then this particular span here has been taken out.
It's the same way with command and control, bridges, LOCs; they all continue to take them down layer by layer.
This is a picture of the bridge I just showed you that was on Serb TV yesterday [photo not available.] So it looks like it's pretty much taken down. The good news here is it also covers the railroad tracks, so it stopped that part of the line of communication as well.
The weather, as I said earlier, was very poor over the last 24 hours. I'll show you that. Show you what it was looking like earlier today. Run the film.
As you can see, all the colors here are clouds all the way up to probably 25,000, 30,000 feet moving over the Kosovo area, layered all the way up and down. So it hindered quite a bit of the activity from yesterday. We only flew about 55 strike sorties, which was low, but today is moving back up again.
You can see toward the end there it started to clear up. This was the weather as of this morning. You can see it's starting to clear up a little bit here, and it's getting a little bit better behind it, so the activity is stepping up now, and it looks like it will clear out over the next 24 hours and improve ops, and we should be back up to the normal OPSTEMPO.
Command and control. The Prepolac radio relay site in northeast Kosovo. It's an F-15E, laser-guided bomb again. Some penetrating capability. It was covered with dirt, that particular site.
Sustainment. Petroleum storage facility in Prahovo, eastern Serbia. We've hit this over the last couple of days. This is an F-15E. You'll see there's one tank already burning. That one was struck there. His storage capacity for petroleum is going down fast.
This is another weapon storage area in Sabac, western Serbia. F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. A 500-pound bomb. There's a little bit of a secondary in there, so there was something in the buildings destroyed.
His IADS, integrated air defense, which includes aircraft, runways, command and control, etc. This is an F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT yesterday against a Straight Flush radar, one of his primary important radars for the SA-6.
We continue to take out his strategic SAMs; that's a good secondary with that one. You'll see it billows up a little bit. There's another part that will come off up here. So that was obviously a manned site of some sort, and this radar either had fuel tanks with it or something, but you'll see it come off over here. There's a good secondary, so more than likely not a dummy.
Hardened aircraft shelter at Ponikve airfield. This is the runway I showed you in imagery a moment ago. This is one of the hardened aircraft shelters I pointed out earlier. See, they're under the dirt, so they're a little bit hard to pick out, but we're fairly certain there was something in these shelters; there were secondaries.
An F-16 with a laser-guided bomb, a good-sized secondary afterwards. Secondary explosion with the burning. We think there may be Galebs in those bunkers, which is what they're using for air-to-ground.
This is another one of the shelters right next to it. This is another F-16CG with a 2,000-pound, laser-guided bomb.
You can see those craters are from a previous strike to close the runway, from a B-52. The end part of the string, probably 400 feet from the runway. You'll see a fairly good secondary as the bomb comes in. It was probably a missile or something, some sort, maybe they had for the aircraft, or some kind of weapon inside the bunker itself. You can see the two burning there.
Forces on the ground. A towed artillery vehicle. Mr. Bacon mentioned the artillery. The artillery is being taken down significantly. This is a Navy F-14 from the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. They're dug in in revetments, and when we find them, we'll just destroy them.
Another revetted artillery. That's an F-16CG yesterday. Southwest Kosovo, along the border. You can see the revetment area. There's obviously something in the revetted area, a good-sized explosion. If there was an artillery piece in there, there isn't one any more.
This is a series of five films I'll show you. These are Soko P-2 ground attack aircraft that are along the Albanian border in southern Kosovo. These aircraft have been used for air-to-ground in the past. They can carry small bombs, probably 250-pound bombs, 500-pound bombs, as well as a gun and napalm. And we take five of these aircraft out last night.
That's a small dirt-type strip, and they've been used for counterinsurgency ops by the Yugoslavians in the past. That's number two.
Another one in just a moment. They also have -- we haven't heard any reports of this, but intelligence says they've carried napalm with these in the past.
This bomb did not go off. It was a dud, but it hit the tail, so precision works.
Another one right here. You can see the one with the tail off above it.
So you can chalk up five Soko P-2 bomb aircraft that won't be attacking the KLA or the Kosovo Albanians anymore.
Q: Is this an example where you were watching this airfield night after night to see if these airplanes would show up, and last night you were able to detect them fairly quickly and put aircraft on them?
Major General Wald: I think what it's an indication of is that because of the familiarity with the area, kind of what you're alluding to, and the fact that the NATO pilots and our intel is getting more and more familiar with the movement and coming and going, that in some cases that could happen -- where we didn't see something there before, and then all of a sudden we did. So I'm not sure if that was the case here, but that wouldn't surprise me.
Q: It looked like there was enough time for the fire to go away on each of the strikes. There must have been some time between strikes. Did they make any attempt to move those aircraft?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure they're even dumb enough to go out and try to jump in an airplane that's being bombed. There's usually probably a minute or so, a minute or two.
Q: General, has the lull in strikes been connected in any way to the diplomatic effort, the desire not to...
Mr. Bacon: Not dead. The only lull yesterday was due to weather, 100 percent. If the weather would have been good, they probably would have flown 500 or 600 sorties. Combat.
Q: On napalm, has napalm been used from those planes against KLA or...
Major General Wald: We have no reports of that.
Q: You said intel indicates they were...
Major General Wald: That type of aircraft. One of the weapons it could carry...
Q: It could carry.
Major General Wald: Yeah, and I have no reports whether they have that at all.
Q: I don't know whether it's your choice of video lately or not, but we're not seeing a lot of SAM firings or AAA. Are the crews noticing a lessening of anti-aircraft...
Major General Wald: It comes and goes. There were some, I think last night. There's lots of AAA, there always is. You just don't see it on the film much. But some hand-held SAMs were fired. I believe there are reports of a few, an SA-3, or -2, SA-6 type SAMs. They're still firing some, but sometimes they'll fire more than others. Why they do that, we're not sure. But he obviously is having a problem maintaining his ability to have a full integrated air defense system.
We're continuing to take down his important radars, his Low Blows for the SA-3, his Straight Flushes for the SA-6, Fan Song, but he still has some early warning type radars and some capabilities to communicate back and forth, but it's been degraded significantly. He'll still try to husband that and use it at the right time, maybe not as robustly as he did in the beginning where you just fire away, but he'll pick his moment and try to attack aircraft where maybe he would think we were least ready for it, which they're still ready for it, and they'll watch for it.
Q: Sir, has the logistics situation changed? The reason I ask is it took a matter of weeks to get Task Force Hawk in place, and yet now we're talking about moving a larger force there in a shorter time. So have the roads, the airports, the ports, has that situation changed enough to allow faster movement?
Major General Wald: Are you talking about the force Mr. Bacon was talking about? I think the point he was trying to make is there's a significant force in place already, when you talk about the NATO force that's in place in Macedonia, which I think is around 13,000. There's also the ALLIED HARBOUR force that's in Albania, several thousand. There's, I think our contribution for that would be, the ALLIED HARBOUR force which is the humanitarian, I think is around 600 or 700 already. You combine those up, and half the force possibly, if the number were the right number that Mr. Bacon was talking about, is already in place. So I think that's kind of what he was alluding to.
Plus, we have airlift to get other forces in place, but I'm not sure how long that would take. But you're already starting with a fairly large group of folks there in the first place.
Q: General, Mr. Bacon mentioned that 90 percent of the artillery has been destroyed, it looks like. What's your baseline figure? Ninety percent of 400, 500? What's...
Major General Wald: What he was alluding to is along the border area particularly, 90 percent. I think that's what you were talking about, is 90 percent mostly along the border.
I think the percentage of all of the FRY/Kosovo forces is lower than that, but the area along the southwest portion, I think, there was an estimate there was 90. But of course, they can move it back in from other places. So, there's a significant portion of their artillery destroyed, but not all of it.
Q: You said 90 percent of the artillery in Kosovo; I think that's what he said.
Major General Wald: I think the southern part of Kosovo is what he was alluding to.
Q: Which is like...
Mr. Bacon: A hundred and fifty pieces was the total.
Q: Of the total universe, or total destroyed?
Mr. Bacon: Total universe. We reckon that as much as 90 percent could have been destroyed. These are preliminary figures, but it seems that there has been a very concerted campaign to hit the artillery in recent days.
Q: That's 90 percent of the massed ones on the border?
Mr. Bacon: No, in all of Kosovo.
Q: Can I ask the same question I asked the White House and the State Department, which is your point that India and Pakistan are celebrating, according to their newspapers, the first year of their nuclear testing and missiles. They're working on their missiles also like (unintelligible) India, like 3,500 (unintelligible). And Pakistan said that we are going to celebrate 18 days of nuclear testing and we will follow the 4,500 kilometer, their missile, if India goes for the same thing.
But (unintelligible) concern about the (unintelligible) and nuclear and the missile race in South Asia?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Q: Between India and Pakistan.
Mr. Bacon: Yes. I think the U.S. government has been very clear in expressing its dismay about the missile and nuclear testing in both India and Pakistan. We think it was a step in the wrong direction, that it helped end a period of progress in the non-proliferation front and actually reversed progress in the non-proliferation front. So this has been our position for some time.
Press: Thank you.
Q: Can I ask one more question for the General on...
Major General Wald: Only if Charlie will let me.
Q: Go ahead.
Q: Thank you. (Laughter)
We've seen over the last two months an awful lot of concentration on bombing POL-related targets. I'm just wondering, what is your assessment about the amount of fuel that they're getting in versus the amount of fuel that they're using for military operations? They seem to be sustaining military operations.
Major General Wald: They're sustaining it at a very, very low rate from the standpoint of moving their larger vehicles around. Their airplanes aren't flying much. We're blowing most of them up. So, from the standpoint of a lot of moving around, they're not doing a lot of moving around, so they don't use all that much fuel. If they were to have to move around a lot, it would be very hard for them to do that.
Q: What about how much they're getting in from outside the country versus how much they're using?
Major General Wald: I think for the type of operations they're doing right now, the amount of movement they're doing, I think they have adequate fuel for that for a period of time. As we continue to hit their supplies and degrade that supply, which we'll do over time, it will be -- they'll have less and less opportunity to move around. Their fuel will just be depleted over time.
Q: You mentioned the one target in Belgrade, and you said the petroleum storage, and you said it was in downtown Belgrade. Is that right? Or is it...
Major General Wald: Yeah, it is. As a matter of fact, if you consider the Pentagon part of Washington, D.C., that's about how far it was from the center of town.