(Also participating in this briefing is Major General Chuck Wald, J-5)
Related briefing slides
Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon.
Before I turn things over to Admiral Wald, let me just -- excuse me, to General Wald.
I know that we had told you all that Admiral Wilson was going to be here today. Unfortunately, we've had to postpone that probably until Wednesday. There is going to be a session up on the Hill tomorrow with the Senate, and we decided it would be wise to wait until that was over to do a public briefing. So we will do that, and hopefully Admiral Wilson will be with us on Wednesday of this week.
Q: Has he been confirmed yet?
Captain Doubleday: I believe he has been confirmed, but I don't believe he's yet put it on.
The other thing, just on the news side -- I wanted to bring you up to date on the number of aircraft that have moved over to Tazar in Hungary. There are now 20 of the F/A-18Ds that have arrived there. There are an additional four en-route. They could arrive as early as later today. They actually got there on Saturday. They'll undergo a couple of days of acclimation to the area, and then they'll be integrated into the allied force operation.
The Hungarians and the U.S. units that have moved over there are going to have a media availability tomorrow. So if any of your colleagues are interested, that is scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. at Tazar, and if you need more information, contact Captain Allen in DDI, and [s]he can provide that to you.
This deployment brings the total number of allied aircraft involved in the operation to more than 1,000. That includes 723 U.S. aircraft and 281 allied aircraft.
Finally, before we continue on, I just want to make sure that all of you were aware of the fact that the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army have scheduled a THAAD target intercept test for tomorrow at White Sands, if the weather cooperates. This will be the tenth in a series of 13 flight tests planned in this phase of the development of Theater High Altitude Area Defense System. There will also be a briefing tomorrow by Major General Peter Franklin, who is the Deputy Director of the BMDO organization at 3:30. So any of you who are interested in that should plan to be here.
Q: If the test goes on, or...
Captain Doubleday: If the test goes on as scheduled and the weather cooperates, we'll have the briefing.
Q: The aircraft totals you gave, Mike, is that the end of the line?
Captain Doubleday: No, it is not the end of the line. There are still additional aircraft that are scheduled to be deployed. I don't have a fixed number for you, but we're still growing. There will be additional tankers. There will be additional strike aircraft added to this over the coming weeks.
Q: Mike, on the THAAD test, is this a "make or break" test for THAAD? If it doesn't successfully hit the target in this test, does that doom the program?
Captain Doubleday: Jamie, I would not characterize it that way. Certainly we learn something from every kind of test, and it certainly is a positive development when the tests are positive and we successfully complete all phases of the test, but I don't think you can pick out intercept as being a "make or break" part of this one. We certainly need to have intercept, but we're still in the development of this program. As I just mentioned, there are 13 of these tests that are scheduled, so we've got a few more to go.
But I want to emphasize that there is always something to be learned by a test, no matter what the outcome.
Q: Mike, according to the Washington Post, General Short says we can win within two months. What's the Pentagon's reaction to that if any?
Captain Doubleday: General Wald may want to add, but I think we've said all along that what we're seeking to do here on the military side is to disrupt and degrade. Those are the key elements that we're looking for. Certainly, we view what has occurred so far as degrading the Yugoslav armed forces. We're going to continue to degrade. The major factor that will be changing in the upcoming time period, certainly in the early part of the summer in June and July, is an improvement in the weather. Certainly, that is, from a strike perspective, a very positive development.
Q: I take it then what you're saying is that the brass here does not totally agree with his position, that we can win in two months.
Captain Doubleday: I don't think it's a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. I think it's a matter of just indicating that we A, don't have any particular time line that we're looking for -- other than the fact that we're looking to accomplish these military objectives -- and certainly, the improvement in the weather is going to be a key factor in making that possible.
Q: Mike, for the last week or more, there's been talk about a number of desertions among Yugoslav troops in Kosovo, small numbers and also a larger number. But there's a report now that Yugoslavia is actually building up forces in the Pec area with troops from Montenegro.
Captain Doubleday: Well, first of all, the reporting I think is primarily based on press reporting. To my knowledge, we're not aware of anything visually that we have seen that indicates any kind of a major buildup.
There are a couple of things I would point out. Number one, these individuals who are coming in are not building up. They are simply replacing what has been lost, if at all.
Secondly, the press reports indicate that the individuals in question are what are described as recruits, which I think probably translates to conscripts. So in terms of a trained military individual, I don't think this is it.
Q: Can you comment, Mike, on the Newsweek report saying that President Clinton had a confidential finding that would allow the CIA to pursue covert options to destabilize the Milosevic regime?
Captain Doubleday: I have nothing to comment about those alleged reports contained in that article.
Q: But you -- DoD has been concerned about defending against hacker attacks and has set up some machinery and bureaucracy and infrastructure for engaging in offensive operations. That's been publicly known for some time, hasn't it?
Captain Doubleday: We have described, I think, in some detail what we do to defend. We have absolutely nothing to say on the other side.
Q: The British Defense Ministry claims no evidence of any troop withdrawals in Kosovo. Is that still the stated position from this podium?
Captain Doubleday: I think you could generally say that. There is certainly nothing that indicate[s] any kind of large-scale withdrawals. I think what has been a part of the equation over time is some fairly small numbers of troops that have come into Kosovo to replace those that have been lost or to do some amount of rotation. But the numbers are very small.
Q: Do you have any information on Yugoslav army senior officers under house arrest? How many, who are they, how long they've been arrested?
Captain Doubleday: I know Ken has talked about some reports of that. I don't have any further details that I can offer for you today on it. We'll certainly keep an eye on that, because we, like you, are interested in any kind of indicators that this kind of thing goes on, but I don't have any further details.
Q: Is there any word out of the NAC today on discussions of boosting the KFOR force to 50,000?
Captain Doubleday: I think you're aware that the time line is that the NAC will be embarking on their consideration of some of the review that has been undertaken by the military authorities in NATO. That is actually scheduled to take place later in the week. To my knowledge the NAC did not meet today on that subject.
Q: Maritime interdiction in there, too?
Captain Doubleday: That is still a matter for the NAC to consider, but I don't know that there's any schedule for that to be done.
Q: Are there any U.S. troops training now for a Kosovo operation either in the United States or in Europe? Kosovo deployment.
Captain Doubleday: To my knowledge there is no specific training that is going on for that kind of operation at this point. However, having said that, I think you know that military units in order to maintain their readiness undergo a variety of training at various levels almost continually -- those who are not in the status of being deployed for a particular operation. So I don't want to give the impression that there is absolutely nothing being done, but on the other hand, there is nothing that I am aware of that specifically is targeted toward the mission that would be undertaken in Kosovo.
Q: Is it likely that...
Q: Have any units been designated for...
Captain Doubleday: Not to my knowledge.
Q: Has there been any prepositioning of supplies that can be used either for a KFOR-type force or another type of insertion force?
Captain Doubleday: I don't believe there has been any specific prepositioning of material for any kind of a force, but keep in mind that we have in Europe a forward deployed component of the U.S. military. It's been there, of course, since the end of World War II. We maintain a force of about 100,000 people plus supplies in that theater. So certainly in Europe, including in the southern region of Europe, there are military supplies that could be drawn upon for this kind of a mission.
Q: But nothing has been moved...
Captain Doubleday: Nothing has been moved to my knowledge specifically in support of that.
Q: Mike, can you comment on the growing perception which has been fueled by anonymous comments from U.S. officials -- some fairly senior officials -- that there is in effect a window for the NATO campaign to succeed in producing a peace agreement -- the air campaign -- before serious consideration has to be given to some sort of an invasion option? Various U.S. officials have put this at several weeks to perhaps two months. Can you comment on the idea that if the NATO campaign doesn't succeed in producing a peace agreement, there will have to be consideration of a possible invasion?
Captain Doubleday: Jamie, all I can tell you is that, certainly, it is NATO's policy -- it is U.S. policy -- that any kind of a ground force that would move into Kosovo would be one to support a peace agreement. That's been reiterated time and time again.
We have made it very clear that although we are increasing the air activity, the strike activity against Yugoslav forces, there is no time line on this. And the strikes will increase continually in the coming weeks because of the improved weather picture. We will continue to degrade, to disrupt their capability to function as a military.
Q: Can you comment on a report in Army Times today that two weeks ago a Black Hawk helicopter flying near Tirane was targeted by a shoulder-launched missile? Have you had any update on that? What that might have been? Have you ever found anybody? And what your concerns are about a Serb infiltrator...
Captain Doubleday: Was targeted by...
Q: It made a maneuver to avoid a missile.
Captain Doubleday: I'm not aware of that at all. I have never heard of that. I'll be glad to try and look into it but I have not heard of that at all.
Q: Are there any reports of any kind of Serb activity in Albania?
Captain Doubleday: Other than some minor activity along the border which has occurred for weeks, I am not aware of anything that involves these shoulder-fired missiles. That's not to say it didn't happen. I just have never heard of it.
Q: Besides from southern region of Europe, it was reported that you plan to move forces from Germany, Italy, Hungary, against Yugoslavia for your mission to repatriate Kosovar refugees. Could you please comment?
Captain Doubleday: Well, first of all the force that will be assembled to provide the peacekeeping support once an agreement is reached has not yet been named. To my knowledge it's not even been sized at this point. So I can't comment, because I don't know where the individuals for that force would come from. It is, however, not unreasonable that some portion of them would come from Europe since we have a number of military people who are forward deployed in that area and frequently are called upon to undertake missions within the European Theater.
With that, let me -- hold on, late-breaking news here.
Okay. I am told that we have nothing to confirm this report in Army Times of any shoulder-fired missile being fired at a UH-60 helicopter.
With that, let me turn things over to General Wald.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
Major General Wald: Good afternoon.
[Chart - Weather Conditions]
As we briefed Saturday, the weather yesterday was fairly poor, although we had quite a few missions flown. Today it started to clear up, and as projected, the weather out the next few days should start improving dramatically, and we'll start seeing cycles like this for several days of good weather with a break here and there in the afternoon, maybe some thunderstorms.
Once again, this depicts that most of the area will still be usable even on the 28th, and that could change a little bit, but good weather's coming along.
[Chart - Summary of Weather Conditions for NOBLE ANVIL]
A lot of questions about the weather and discussions over the last few days and weeks. If you look at the weather since this started on 24 March, which today is the two-month time cycle from that point on, there have actually been nine days of weather out of those 61 days where it's been predominantly green, where we can fly most of the day through most of the FRY and Kosovo. Then there's been about 28 days where the majority of the weather has been poor. So I think based on that, what we've seen over the last couple of months, things have gone pretty well considering. With the advent of June and July coming on with the predominance of this changing from red to yellow to green, you'll see a lot different OPSTEMPO and probably an increase in the successes we've had, although I think, considering the weather, the success has been outstanding.
[Chart - Level of Effort - Day 60 and 61]
The last two days, 61 targets hit. It's just ironic. The 61st day. That wasn't planned.
Forces on the ground, 42. There were 30 fixed targets, 31 fielded forces, three POL sites, some rad/rels, about 15 artillery pieces, a couple of tanks, seven or eight armored vehicles, some sustainment targets and a couple of LOCs.
[Chart - Operation SUSTAIN HOPE - Last 24 Hours]
The humanitarian effort continues. As you've probably heard, a large amount of refugees over the last 24 hours, more than in the past couple of weeks, 7,700 of those into the Former Republic of Macedonia. The largest since 4 May.
The World Food Program reports that many of those people were in dire need of food. The Serbs have also released, for unknown reasons, 2,000 male prisoners. Many of those males that were at the age that would have been probably military age. Five hundred crossed into Albania, and then another 1,500 are expected in the next day or two.
Camp Hope is now up to 5,000 people, or will increase to 5,000 by the 24th of May. Save the Children is actually starting a school at one of the camps.
[Chart - Temp Refugee Location Commitments]
About 26 to 28 different nations have accepted refugees in their countries now, up to 60,000 out of about 160,000. There's ten more that have committed. They haven't started receiving those yet. You can see some of the countries that have taken on more than they've actually committed to -- Belgium, the Czech Republic -- and Canada as well is getting close to their 5,000.
[Chart - PROVIDE REFUGE - Refugee Status]
The flights into Fort Dix continue. 625 of the folks coming into the States have gone directly to relatives and families, and then another 67 family members have actually departed Fort Dix, and that should start increasing over the next few days now, as they go through the medical checks.
[Chart - Refugees]
Once again, still somewhere between one and 1.6 million refugees. Forty camps. Those camps, as I said, continue to grow. They are winterizing those a little bit as we speak. They've got the refugee situation at least in hand, but the donations are still required from what we understand. They need more food.
[Photos available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation+Allied+Force]
I have a few overhead images to show.
[Photo - Vokadzon Border Post, Kosovo - Post Strike]
This first one, Vokadzon border post. There are several border posts along the Albanian border that we have been striking over the last couple of weeks. This one here you see has been totally destroyed. This is actually toward Albania to the lower right. This would be east, and that would be west.
[Photo - Nis Petroleum Production and Storage, Serbia - Post Strike]
Nis petroleum production, continue to take down their petroleum. It's all adding up as we go along. You can see here about seven tanks and a couple of support facilities are pretty much destroyed, and that facility is non-functional.
[Photo - Pristina Petroleum Product Storage, Kosovo - Post Strike]
The Pristina petroleum products storage area in Kosovo. You can see they have some underground storage. I showed some film of that last week. I'll show a little bit of that today. You can see they're covered with dirt. Most of those are taken out and burned. This one here had a bomb go through it, and it didn't burn, so it was probably empty at the time, but those are all destroyed.
[Photo - Pristina Ammunition Depot, Serbia - Post Strike
The Pristina ammunition depot. Here's another area that had three major buildings in it and another support building. They have been totally destroyed. There's no more ammunition there.
[Photo - Sabac Army Garrison Southwest, Serbia - Post Strike]
Sabac army garrison in southwest Serbia. This is the Second Army support facility, one of them. You can see several of the buildings there have been either destroyed or damaged beyond use.
The actual weather as of 9:00 o'clock Zulu, 5:00 this morning, you can see, was a lot of low-lying clouds. The Kosovo area itself had some in it. That was this morning. That has started to move out. You can see to the west/southwest the weather is better. I'll show you kind of a film of how that's been moving along. This is a computer-predicted model again. You can see it was pretty clear to the southwest over Kosovo. That area had some low-lying clouds. That's moving off to the east predictably, and you can see toward the afternoon, area -- you'll see the gray as the area's starting to clear up, and it has cleared up, and they're flying missions as we speak. Quite a few of those missions, as a matter of fact.
You can see it's pretty clear behind that, so we should have good weather over the next few days.
Once again, not only fielded forces but his infrastructure to sustain those forces. Radio relay site at northeast Kosovo. This is an F-16CG with a laser-guided bomb. You can see a power line above that, a major power line. Obviously, they're using power to control some of these. That's why we've been hitting his electrical power for his command and control.
Another radio relay site in western Kosovo. These are all, today all these are F-16CGs out of Aviano, all 15 of the films.
You can see under the cursor this fairly built-up command and control site. A good hit. Quite a bit of damage to that facility for his sustainment.
This is a petroleum storage facility in Leskovac, southeast Serbia. Another F-16 with a 2,000-pound bomb. These are some of the ones that are underground. You can see he switches to his infrared to show that black or white is hot. These are actually under the ground. That one looks like it may have had something in it.
Kosovska ammunition depot. There will be several strikes on this series here. This building here is the building he's attacking. There are several buildings in this area. I want you to take a look at this building, because it's the last time anybody will see it. There was quite a bit of ammunition in that.
This was another hit on the same area. This used to be a building. He's going after this one here. And after the weeks we've seen these films, the ammunition -- this is another one that had quite a bit of ammunition in it -- he's really being degraded for his long-term sustainment, and his near-term sustainment for that matter.
Another one in the same area, third strike, different part of the complex. Once again, many of these buildings have quite a bit of ammunition in them. That one probably not quite as much, but still some secondary from it. As you can see, they're burning.
His integrated air defense is being taken down to the point where they're still firing SAMs sometimes with guidance. This is a Low Blow SA-3 radar. One of his strategic-type SAMs. We've taken several of these down. You can see an F-16 here attacking it.
This is not a dummy, as you'll see. This will run for awhile. It obviously had missiles with it. You can see the missiles going off. It hasn't ended yet.
Q: What kind of missiles are those?
Major General Wald: Those are SA-3 SAMs. You can see, if that's a decoy, he's putting a lot of money into decoys.
That's a Low Blow SA-3 radar at the same site. You can see the lower right of this film where it's still burning from the last one I just showed. Then the radar itself here will be attacked. Once again, unlikely that's a decoy.
Q:...any resupply with SAMs and SAM radar?
Major General Wald: We have not seen any evidence whatsoever of that. He has husbanded some of his radars, as you know, Ivan. But no resupply that we know.
Q: How many missiles do you think that was that we saw cooking off...
Q: Let's talk about it after...
Major General Wald: That was probably two or three.
This is an AN-2 Colt. They found three of those two days ago. That one had quite a bit of fuel in it, it looks like. That was formerly an AN-2 Colt.
Here's another one that had been damaged earlier, but was not destroyed. You can see a couple of them. And we're not sure what that was hit from before, but we take this one out. That one obviously had some fuel in it. That's a large explosion. May have had ammunition in it for all we know.
Armored personnel carrier in a revetment in southeast Kosovo. And as the weather gets good and we get more airplanes in there, this will be more prevalent where wherever he moves will be very difficult for him to get away from any type of attack.
There's one that was hit up there earlier. That one had a large explosion with it. This is another one. Revetted artillery. F-16. You can see that they're putting their artillery along the border areas in revetments. It's going to be very difficult for him to field any type of force out there or get it out in the open where he can operate.
Another revetted artillery, second strike, same type of area. You see the first strike.
It's hard for him to shoot artillery from caves or under the ground, so if he's going to do anything with it, he's got to get out in the open someplace, and when they do, we'll find them.
That one looked like it may have missed by about five feet, but probably had some damage on it.
A tank in north central Kosovo with an F-16 again, LGB. Lots of evidence of movement around there. It's very hard to drive a tank around without making some kind of, something on the ground to show it.
Another tank, same area. Pre-strike above it.
There's been a lot of discussion about decoys. If they're going to make decoys, they've got to get out in the open to make decoys, so as they get out in the open and we find them, we'll just destroy what they're doing at that time.
I believe that's all the film for today. Are there any questions from anybody?
Q: We wanted to go back and ask you a little bit about that one video where we saw the SA-3 missile spurts spewing off. Did it appear that the missiles had been fired prior to the strike, or were they fired in reaction to the strike? Or did they just simply go off?
Major General Wald: They cooked off from the explosion, from the bombs, the same way the SA-6s I showed a couple of days ago. They're trying almost anything they can do to attack the aircraft. They're using all types of methodologies. They're very good at work-arounds and some things that are not so traditional, but when we find them, we'll destroy them. The majority of his SA-3s are destroyed, and a large chunk of his SA-6s have been taken out. He still has quite a few SAMs.
He's had several thousand surface-to-air missiles in the inventory, but what he really needs to be effective are the radars. So as we get the radars, it will become more and more difficult for him to become effective with the SAMs. But he still has some capability. But as I said earlier, we'll take all of his radars down eventually, and he's just going to have to start defending himself in a more rudimentary fashion.
Q: General Wald, regarding the artillery emplacement along the borders and others. There was a report that there was some reinforcement coming in from Serbia into Kosovo of the VJ. Could you comment as to whether in fact there is a buildup along the borders to, let's say, to resist any of NATO ground forces that might come against them? Are they in fact building up their borders in expectation of war with NATO?
Major General Wald: I don't know if he is building it up in expectation of anything like that, but I think he's probably wondering what's happening about now. I'm not sure he knows exactly what's going to happen to him next. So I suspect he is building up his forces along the border in response, possibly, to the UCK as well. As we said last week, the UCK is growing.
This is a zero-sum game for him. When we destroy something, he doesn't get it back any more. So if they move forces in, if they're able to, from the northern FRY into Kosovo, that takes forces away from the central, his FRY forces up north, either the First or Second Army. But he doesn't have any replacements. He may get some recruits, but they're raw recruits that aren't trained up. We have seen no evidence of him getting any new SAM equipment, particularly strategic-type SAMs. I mean he may be able to smuggle in some smaller ones. We don't see any evidence of him resupplying his tanks, his artillery with new equipment. He isn't able to build new refineries. He isn't able to build new ammunition storage, production or storage areas. He isn't able to build new trucks. He isn't able to repair his vehicles very well. He has very limited capability even to repair the SAMs. Because they move them around a lot, they need repair.
So he has a zero-sum game, and his sum is going down fast. So he probably is becoming a little bit defensive in his own mind. Of course, he wouldn't admit that publicly, but I think once he gets the real story, and I think once again probably the only place he really gets it is from briefings like this. He has to start wondering where he's going.
Q: If I can ask a couple of logistical questions following up on that. Just so that we can understand here.
There are indications, at least news reports, that troops, if nothing else, are getting into Kosovo. And presumably, the Yugoslav army is also receiving at least some measure of supplies, food, or whatever, or we'd probably be hearing about that.
Can you give a sense of how the Yugoslavs have been able to do that in light of all the pictures we've seen of bridges blowing and rail lines blowing and...
Major General Wald: It's very easy for people to walk, and I think they're probably moving along on either very small secondary roads or, who knows, they could be marching in for that matter.
Marching in with troops without equipment probably makes him feel good from the numbers standpoint, but it doesn't make him effective from the standpoint of a very sophisticated military.
As far as supplies, I'm sure they've had quite a few supplies in the area that they'd had there before. They're foraging off land. They're stealing the IDPs' food. So they could probably sustain from that perspective for a period of time. They haven't moved around a lot of their equipment for a long period of time so they're husbanding their fuel. But they are having to share fuel with other type vehicles. I'm sure they're stealing the fuel out of the vehicles that were left in Kosovo.
They're not to the point where they're not effective from the standpoint of surviving, but once again, I doubt very seriously if he's not taking a serious hit on his ability to sustain. And once again, those troops that come in, that's a zero-sum game because the troops, if they are coming in from the north, basically decrease the capability up there that he might need to defend himself at some point, for all I know. And some of the other troops, the newer ones, the recruits, are probably not very effective from the standpoint of being trained up.
So I'm sure there's a lot of people wondering why hasn't he dropped off the edge of the earth on this thing, and I'm not sure why he hasn't stopped either. That's his problem. But the fact of the matter is, a zero-sum game, he is being degraded, which is the military mission. If you start from day one, the first time we bombed him, we were starting to affect the military mission, and our military mission is being successful, to degrade and destroy his capability. You can't argue against that.
Q: General, Lieutenant General Short gave the Washington Post an assessment that this war might be over within two months. Is that the view of the Pentagon, or is that General Short's personal assessment? And do you share that opinion?
Major General Wald: That's General Short's opinion. I think everybody can speak for themselves.
The fact of the matter is, I just went through -- my personal opinion is that Milosevic's military is being degraded significantly, and it's not linear. It's starting to add up quite a bit. You could argue that over the next couple of months the weather will be good; Captain Doubleday just mentioned some more aircraft arrived over the weekend. There are others to arrive. There isn't any time table set for anything here. The mission itself, once again, is to degrade and destroy his military capability. The longer he holds out and doesn't meet NATO's conditions, the more his military will be destroyed. So I would say from day one we've been successful from that perspective.
Q: General, you attacked over the weekend the power generating capacity. Did you destroy two major plants? How many do they have left?
Major General Wald: Power production?
Q: Power generation.
Major General Wald: We haven't attacked any of their plants per se. We've attacked their switching stations and their ability to move the electricity.
Q: It was strictly transmission then over the weekend?
Major General Wald: Yes.
Q: We had indication that they actually attacked generating stations. Is that...
Major General Wald: No, we have not attacked his ability to generate electricity. We've attacked his ability to move it to places that are needed.
Q: General, two questions along the line of Jamie's there. I understand you to say there's no time line. You have not set 1 August as the date by which you'll win victory or feel you've failed in some way.
Major General Wald: Right.
Q: General Short was making a prediction. It was simply a prediction. Does the Pentagon share in this prediction? And he used the words "when" for the article. He actually said, "they will need to be destroyed or they will have left Kosovo." That's tantamount to winning.
But does the Pentagon share his prediction? Without saying there's a time line on this.
And two, is there kind of a later time line? What's the time line not for a ground invasion, but for simply taking the Kosovars in with a peacekeeping force under permissive conditions and because -- at what point in the year can you simply not think that Kosovo...
Major General Wald: Let me answer the last one first.
Militarily, I think anybody would rather operate in good weather conditions, but we operate in all kinds of conditions. We fly year-round. We operate on the ground year-round. We operate, we have people that are trained for winter weather. We have the 10th Mountain Division, I believe it is, that are trained to do that type of thing. So once again, my personal opinion is I think we make a little bit too much of this weather issue from the standpoint of snow or not.
On the first part, whether or not General Short, the Pentagon agrees with him or not, he's a commander in the field. I haven't heard General Shelton or anybody else put a time line on this thing. I think he's voicing his opinion from a JFAC position that over a period of time if we continue as we're doing with the weather the way it's going to be, it would be very hard to figure what type of military capability he'll have at that time. But I don't think anybody is putting any time limit on anything.
The objective is to destroy his military. If he wants to come out and form up in a large group and let us destroy them quicker, that would be better. But I think as he goes down the road and loses more and more, he'll be even more careful. But that makes him ineffective. He's got another equation to think about, and that's the UCK as they grow stronger.
So time lines are difficult, but degradation of the forces are easy.
Q: Let me try it another way. In two months what is your assessment of how militarily effective a force you will have in Kosovo?
Major General Wald: Let me tell you how I think he is today. I think his military force from a professional military standpoint is not professional. I think anybody that would put up with the fact that they have a leader like that that would allow that to happen can't be categorized as professional. Can they kill innocent people? Yes. Can they shoot at aircraft? Yes. Can they fight the UCK back? Yes. But I have a tough time claiming they're professional.
So I don't have any time line of when they're going to get to the point where they think they're destroyed enough to quit. They have a different ethos than our U.S. military does, or NATO, for that matter. But our mission is to continue to destroy him. We will do that over time. It will get worse over the next couple of months. Milosevic and his military are going to have to decide when enough is enough.
Q: I think the focus on time lines grows out of the debate about whether or not there should be an air campaign. I guess it was late last summer or early last fall when the motivation for threatening Milosevic with an air campaign was that if effective action wasn't taken soon there would be a humanitarian disaster. The refugees would starve and freeze in the snow in the mountains. We will eventually get into that cycle again. It's taken weeks and a considerable effort to move 5,000 troops and 24 helicopters from Germany to Albania.
So with those things in mind, it kind of raises the question of, it seems like it would take a long time to get a significant force there, and it seems like there are time constraints.
I don't think anybody questions that the U.S. military could operate in the snow, but I think everyone questions whether barefoot refugees could operate in the snow.
Major General Wald: I agree. The fact of the matter is...
Q: With all of that in mind, what are the time constraints that -- are you under a significant time pressure to get this job done?
Major General Wald: No, we're not under any significant time pressure from anybody, besides the fact we want to succeed, which we are succeeding.
The fact of the matter is we haven't committed to anything besides a peacekeeping force in Kosovo. So that's what the plan is.
Now, it isn't just the air campaign that's going on. There's a lot of diplomacy that's going on. The air campaign and the military mission is only one part of this. So that will continue down the road. Once again, the spring thaw is barely completed in Kosovo. Not to say that we're not interested in having this end. On the other hand, we're committed. So Milosevic is going to have to make his mind up at some point here.
Q: On the [unintelligible] military buildup in Skopje for the repatriation of the Kosovo refugees to their homes in Kosovo. Do you have any problem with the Greek government for the use of the city of Thessaloniki and the sea lines and the air corridors of the Aegean Sea? Otherwise, did you reach any agreement with the Greek government about any problem in your contingency plans?
Major General Wald: As far as the Greek government is concerned, they're part of NATO, and we haven't heard any problem with us moving in a peacekeeping force through Thessaloniki whatsoever.
Q: General, even though you and others at that podium have said that there's no deal with the KLA, as NATO continues to take out the tanks and artillery and armored personnel carriers, this is obviously aiding the KLA, which does not have armor and heavy artillery. And over the weekend a spokesman for the KLA announced that they would not sign any kind of a peace treaty unless they got independence Are we creating a Catch-22 here in the overall diplomatic/political process taking place in Yugoslavia?
Major General Wald: If you ask me it's an opinion, so I'm not going to go down the road, because I'm not the diplomat here. I don't know the answer to that.
I will say -- we've all read it -- they signed up to Rambouillet, which meant they agreed to the terms there, so I can't speak for the diplomatic part of that.
Q:...you're right. I think, though, the consensus is they signed up knowing full well that Milosevic would not agree, and they were dealing from a position of strength at that point. This may be a different situation. But you're right, it's not on your watch.
Q: At the beginning of the campaign NATO spoke about three phases. Can we assume that with 1,000 planes there flying round the clock we are now into phase three?
Major General Wald: I think we've gone away from those phases, but each phase isn't necessarily the same length. But I haven't heard "phases" used for a long time.
We are in the extended operations phase, if you want to call it that. We're going to continue. But also with the new aircraft coming in, more of them, I guess if you wanted to call it a phase, this phase will even increase more over the next couple of months. So it's interesting; were through that phase period, but we're not into phases anymore. We're into extended operations, 24 hours a day, high OPSTEMPO, attacking across the board, fielded forces as well as his sustainment and his ability to maintain that army in the field. We'll continue to do that at whatever OPSTEMPO we can get with the aircraft we have there.
Q: Can you give us some kind of an idea on the percentage of fixed targets versus targets of opportunity and what special rules do the pilots have to follow on a target of opportunity that might be near a civilian site, say a tank or an artillery position?
Major General Wald: I'll answer the last one first. The ROE for attacking targets of opportunity has been the same since day one. You have to identify the target. You have to make every effort you possibly can to assure that you're attacking the target that you think it is and avoid any collateral damage that you can. So that hasn't changed for years and years and years.
Major General Wald: They will report back and discuss through an airborne command and control element for various reasons, for deconflicting themselves, if nothing else.
On the other hand, the first question is, just like today we had about 31 or so fixed and 30 fielded forces, so it's about 50/50. But it all depends on the day and how much they're moving around.
I've got time for one more question.
Q: Did you rely more on cruise missiles this weekend because of the bad weather? In recent days we haven't heard much about any cruise missiles launches.
Major General Wald: No, actually the weather, even though it was bad, we were able to work around it in different places. Once again, there hasn't really been much of a change at all in the weapons used as far as available. We've watched some of them, as we talked about earlier, in the JDAM. But we'll continue to use TLAM and JDAM and every other weapon depending on the target.
Q: Were cruise missiles launched over the last two days?
Major General Wald: There were some cruise missiles employed over the last few days.
Thank you very much.
Press: Thank you.