DoD News Briefing, Wednesday, May 26, 1999 - 2:05 p.m.
(Also participating in this briefing was Major General Chuck Wald, J-5)
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
The Secretary of the Air Force, Whitten Peters, has signed plans to implement the Stop Loss procedure for members of the active duty Air Force and Air Force Reserves. This means, as you know, that people will not be able to leave the Air Force, retire from the Air Force, while the Stop Loss order is in effect.
The order will apply to about 40 percent of the skill specialties in the Air Force covering approximately 120,000 people. As long as the Presidential Reserve Call-up is in effect, these people will not be able to retire from the Air Force.
The point of this is that it doesn't make sense to call up Reservists on the one hand, and then have people, pilots or others in high-demand specialties, get out to increase the number of Reservists who have to be called up. Nor does it make sense for Reservists to be able to get out, if they think their unit is about to be called. So this will apply both to the active duty and the Reserves.
The Air Force will have a briefing on this at 3:30 this afternoon to answer all your questions. You can go there if you...
Q: Can you give us some of the special areas that might be covered by this?
Mr. Bacon: There's a huge list.
First of all, let me tell you that this will take effect on June 15th. Practically, it would be difficult for anybody to announce today that he or she wanted to retire and get the retirement process complete by June 15th, but the delay is to allow people to apply for waivers, if they have compelling family or other reasons that might allow them to retire earlier or qualify them for special consideration.
There are slightly more than 6,000 airmen [who] have requested and received permission to separate from the Air Force between now and the end of December. They will be frozen in the Air Force and will not be able to go forward with their plans to separate from the Air Force, unless, of course, they apply for and receive a waiver prior to June 15th.
Q: Where are the 114,000...
Mr. Bacon: As I said, these are only the number of people who have applied for separation from the Air Force and had that application approved--6,000. These are the people. Presumably other people could have, in particular specialties, asked to leave the Air Force.
There is an extensive list here, but obviously pilots, almost all pilots are covered. There are several exceptions, but most pilots are covered. Navigators, most navigators. Air battle managers, air traffic controllers, intelligence people, weather forecasters, aircraft maintenance people who specialize in munitions, people who specialize in planning and logistics, communications and information officers, Air Force security officers. There's a wide range of aircraft loadmasters who--these aren't just combat people, but they're people who load the C-17s and other transport planes to carry humanitarian aid or military equipment into the theater.
Q: Does this action underscore the fact that the U.S. military is simply stretched too thin?
Mr. Bacon: Quite the opposite. This is a standard procedure in many situations where Presidential Selective Reserve Call-ups are invoked as has been in this case. The last time we did this was during DESERT STORM in 1990.
People have said many times--General Wald and I have said, Secretary Cohen has said, that this is a major theater war for the Air Force -- not for the service as a whole, but certainly for the Air Force. Probably more than a third of the Air Force front-line fighters are involved in this right now. A fourth to a third, perhaps. A large number of planes and a large number of support planes as well. So the burden has fallen primarily on the Air Force and they're the service that will have to call up the most number of Reservists; the preponderance of Reservists called up come from the Air Force. This goes hand-in-hand with the Reserve call-up.
Q:...waiver. They have to have the waiver approved by June 15th?
Mr. Bacon: I think that's exactly the type of question that the Air Force will be able to answer at the meeting later today.
Q: How will this affect promotions?
Mr. Bacon: It should not affect promotions. The Secretary of the Air Force, Whit Peters -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Whit Peters -- has asked Secretary Cohen for an exemption from a provision that normally would freeze promotions, but he's asking that in this case it not freeze promotions.
The promotion freeze comes into effect because the number of people who can serve at certain ranks is limited, and he's asking for an exception for those limitations so people prepared to be promoted from, who should go up from E-5 to E-6 will be able to get those promotions. People who will be promoted from captain to major still should get those promotions.
Q: Ken, on another subject. We have a story out of Europe saying that the International War Crimes Tribunal has indicted Milosevic and issued an arrest warrant and that it will be officially announced tomorrow. What is the U.S.'s reaction to that? And could U.S. forces take part in any arrest of Milosevic?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, I've seen the report. I don't have any confirmation of it. I think you should take that question to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, and ask them whether they have issued a sealed or public indictment...
Q: You don't know?
Mr. Bacon: I have no--I have seen the report, and I do not know whether the report is correct or not. The appropriate agency to answer that question is the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.
Q: If it is true, will the United States support his indictment and arrest?
Mr. Bacon: Questions such as that are--right now it's up to the War Crimes Tribunal to decide whether an indictment should be brought against President Milosevic or anybody else who could have been involved in war crimes, and they have to present the evidence and make the case. I think I'll just let them make the case, if they're prepared to make it. But I have nothing to say on the report that they're about to indict him.
Q: Can NATO make a peace deal with an indicted war crimes suspect?
Mr. Bacon: We're not talking about a deal. What Milosevic has to do is very clear. There are five conditions NATO has set down, and all he has to do is act. He doesn't have to talk or sign anything to meet those conditions. He can stop the fighting, start a cease-fire in Kosovo, pull out his forces--and those include the army forces; they include the special police forces and the paramilitary forces--allow an international--this would allow an international peacekeeping force with NATO at its core to come in, and this would enable the refugees to return home and eventually move to some sort of autonomous government. Those are the five conditions, and they don't require a deal. They don't require negotiations. They require action. He can act on those today.
Q: Why should he comply, if in fact he's going to be indicted/arrested?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not saying that he is about to be indicted. That's a decision that he can make for the benefit of his people any time.
Q: Ken, are you saying that there is no reason to negotiate with Milosevic? And if so, what is Strobe Talbott doing in Moscow for the past week?
Mr. Bacon: He's talking with the Russians. That's what he's doing in Moscow.
Q: Even if Milosevic were to accept these five conditions, part of the negotiations, as I understand it, is just how that would be done, including withdrawal and the like. I guess to follow up on Jamie's question, can you even negotiate with Milosevic to bring an end to this conflict, even if he accepts all five NATO terms, if he is in fact indicted and subject to arrest?
Mr. Bacon: The point I made is that negotiations aren't required for Milosevic to accept those five terms. If he wants the bombing to end, he knows what the five terms are. He knows NATO's phone number. He can call them up and say: "I'm pulling out. You guys can come in and let the refugees come back." That can happen any time. It doesn't require extensive negotiations. There are many other elements that may require discussions.
But remember, the issue that's taking place today--the talks in Moscow and the talks elsewhere involve a variety of issues. We support efforts, all efforts to achieve a peace settlement, as long as that settlement has NATO's five conditions at the core.
Q: But if Milosevic is an indicted war criminal, can you even support those discussions? If you don't want to call them negotiations, that's fine. But can you support discussions with an indicted war criminal? Does this, in effect, complicate whatever peace process or whatever possible settlement might be in the works?
Mr. Bacon: At this stage it's a hypothetical question, because what we have is a news report about a potential indictment, but I have no confirmation that this in fact has or is about to occur.
Q: Ken, you and I talked about this last week. Let me raise it again, please.
The first two of the five do seem to be immutable -- one, withdrawal of forces to allow refugees to come back. But it would seem, to perhaps the less-involved observer, that maybe there's a little wiggle room about the make-up of the peacekeeping force.
As you have been saying without any kind of equivocation, that NATO has to be the core of that. I asked you before if it could be U.N., and you gave me reasons why you thought not. But is that, or let me put it another way, if the first two are in fact immutable, are the other three possibly open to negotiation?
Mr. Bacon: On the question of the peacekeeping force, I don't think the United States could be clearer about that than we've been. President Clinton has said NATO at the core, meaning NATO command and control. Secretary Cohen has said that. Secretary Albright has said that. Every spokesperson in the government has said that. I don't think we can be more clear about that. Nothing has changed.
We have said many times that there will be an analogy between this peacekeeping force and the peacekeeping force that went into Bosnia. That's a peacekeeping force that has NATO command and control. I don't know how we can be clearer about that. No one has given any reason to suggest that there's give on that condition.
Q: The British announced in the House of Commons today that their commitment to KFOR will be 20,000 troops, nearly half the force. Are we contemplating anything that substantial, and will we act as they have before NATO has fully decided?
Mr. Bacon: Both of those are good questions. The answer to the first question is that I would anticipate that we will make a contribution in the same percentage range that we were prepared to make in the first force. That was approximately 14 or 15 percent. There has not been a presidential decision on this, but President Clinton has indicated that we would participate in a force earlier, but that it would be primarily a European force. I don't anticipate that those basic guidelines will change. The exact numbers haven't been worked out yet.
It's the U.S. feeling that we have been a major participant in the air campaign, and it's appropriate for Europe to play a major role in the peacekeeping force. We will certainly participate in an appropriate and significant way, however.
Q: A different subject. CNN reported yesterday that at least one and perhaps more non-governmental organizations are preparing to conduct some humanitarian air drops in Kosovo. My question is, are you aware whether any of these groups have filed any flight plans or formal requests either with NATO or to UNHCR? Are you aware of the status of any of these planned flights? And is NATO prepared to help ensure the safety of those flights?
Mr. Bacon: I am not aware that any non-government organization has filed a flight plan. Obviously, we would do what we could to deconflict NATO's continuing air campaign with humanitarian efforts. We're already doing that. There are convoys going in on a fairly regular basis. Some of these convoys are significant in terms of number of vehicles being used to take food into Kosovo, and some of that food is, by arrangement, going into Serbia as well. So we would do what we could to deconflict the air campaign with the humanitarian program.
Q: But you're not aware of any imminent plans for air drops or even scheduled air drops at this point?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that anybody has requested permission. That doesn't mean they haven't, but I'm not aware.
Q: Ken, Italy and Germany have blocked on the NAC implementation of the oil embargo, mainly the boarding of ships and other craft without the permission of the countries involved. What is the Pentagon reaction to that, and how does that affect our ability to continue to try to hamper Yugoslavia's ability on its fuel?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, Jamie Shea said this morning that the NATO ambassadors, the members of the North Atlantic Council, had approved a concept of operations for "Visit and Search," and he expected that the Military Committee would approve rules of engagement in the next few days. So I'm not...
Q: Wasn't that a voluntary search and...
Mr. Bacon: Well, I think until the work's complete on it, I won't comment on it. But second, there is a very small amount of oil going in through Montenegro today. Yesterday, I said that the last ship was last week. I think I misspoke. The last ship, I understand now, was May 3rd. I don't believe there's been another ship since May 3rd. We monitor this closely, obviously, but much of the oil has stopped going into Montenegro. The reason is because of the EU embargo which countries are honoring.
So Montenegro and its ports have ceased to be the major problem...
Q: What about vessel traffic on the Danube where supplies are being brought...
Mr. Bacon: That's a different issue. I talked about that yesterday. That is now the major source of supply for oil to Yugoslavia. We are trying to stop that in two primary ways. One is by talking to the countries we believe are responsible for shipping that oil on the Danube, up the Danube into Yugoslavia, and two, by attacking port facilities along the Danube where the oil has to be offloaded into tanks for eventual transportation.
In addition, we have for two months now been attacking bridges and rail lines and other lines of communication that are necessary to transport the oil from storage facilities to the use points. So we will continue to do that.
One of the big impacts of cutting off electricity--something that you people ask about from time to time--is that it forces the military to use generators, diesel-fueled generators, which are very thirsty drinkers of fuel. I think that to keep a Patriot battery going on generators for 24 hours takes 640 gallons of fuel. They probably have much less efficient generators than we tend to have. So by cutting off the electricity, we force them to use, to divert a large amount of fuel to very fuel-inefficient generators. That, we think, is another way of choking off their military's ability to move and support itself.
Q: We talked about this yesterday, and it was a little unclear. Why isn't NATO attacking, I would assume, fairly slow-moving oil barges on the Danube rather than just trying to interdict the supply once it's ashore?
Mr. Bacon: That is a question that involves all sorts of legal answers. But basically, the easiest way to stop this is to destroy the facilities where the oil is offloaded, the pumps, etc. You can't do anything with oil if you can't pump it out of the barges into tanks, and from there pump it into transportation.
Q: Do any of the barges have self-contained pumping facilities? I thought many of them did pump it ashore.
Mr. Bacon: Then the question is how do you get it out of the tanks into the trucks?
Q: Task Force Hawk has been prevented as an arm of the air campaign. Would that remain so? Would that become part of KFOR?
Mr. Bacon: Those are exactly the type of questions that we and General Clark and his commanders in Europe will be looking at as we decide how to formulate our contribution to the KFOR.
Q:...legal issue just a moment ago. Is there anything technical, legal, legislative, diplomatic, anything that would prevent NATO, the U.S., from negotiating with an indicted war criminal? Is it codified somewhere?
Mr. Bacon: It's a good question. It's beyond my ken. I think you'd have to ask a legal advisor at the State Department. I can't answer that.
Q: By all this shuttle diplomacy that Strobe Talbott is involved in, the U.S. and NATO have shown a willingness to at least engage in some indirect discussions with Milosevic about how to achieve this. Did what you say today indicate a hardening of that position? Are we withdrawing from any attempt to discuss, maybe not negotiate, but discuss a settlement with Milosevic here to end the fighting?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, Milosevic is not the only person in the Yugoslav government. Second, many of the discussions involve issues about what the Russian role will be, what the Russian role will be in the U.N. Security Council. There are a number of balls in the air now. I think that Secretary Talbott is keeping all those balls in the air.
So we are trying to find the fastest way to get an end to the fighting that meets NATO's five demands. And that's what he's working on.
Obviously, the role that Russia plays in the Security Council, and perhaps in any sort of peacekeeping force that would come into play, is important. Those are among the things that Strobe Talbott's talking about in Moscow.
Clearly, Mr. Chernomyrdin has been going to Belgrade from time to time to talk with the Yugoslavs. I don't know the substance of all those conversations, but at the very least, he could just be saying stop the fighting, pull out your troops, and this is the best way to save your country.
Q: Who else in the Yugoslav government is Chernomyrdin or are we trying to reach?
Mr. Bacon: We are not directly dealing with anybody in the Yugoslav government, I think you can appreciate. But they do have a Foreign Minister, and they have a President of the Serb Republic and there are other officials there. I don't believe that President Milosevic ever signed any of the documents that--or issued any statements--I could be wrong on this. There were official statements issued by other people in the government, Milutinovic, for instance, during the negotiations last fall and early this year that purported to represent the view of the government, so there are other people who have spoken for the government from time to time.
Q: Does the United States believe that it's possible to reach an end to the fighting or to have the Yugoslav government agree to these five NATO terms without Milosevic?
Mr. Bacon: I can't answer that question. Milosevic certainly knows what he has to do to end the fighting.
Q: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto speaking yesterday at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and she said that Milosevic is a dictator, and the reason he cannot have missiles and nuclear technology against India or in the region because he was wanting to divert them to so he can go after her and her family and her party. And she claims that there may be a war between India and Pakistan over this nuclear issues and missile diplomacy. But at the same time, now there is fighting going on the ceasefire line on the border of India and Pakistan because there are 400 or more militants which have been sent by Pakistan into India in the Kashmir. And Indian military is now fighting in the mountains, and number of casualties are there, and Pakistan has warned India not to interfere and start this; otherwise, the consequences will not be very good.
Mr. Bacon: First of all, I can't comment on what Former Prime Minister Bhutto said because I didn't hear it or read about it.
Second, it is of great concern to the United States and many other nations that there could be a flare-up, potentially involving nuclear weapons, between India and Pakistan, and that's exactly why we've been so concerned about the testing that has gone on. And it's also why we're concerned about the continuing tension in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is an issue of considerable concern to us and to other countries as well. We've urged India and Pakistan to try to resolve these difficulties, stop the fighting -- so far without success, but we do think that that's the right way to go.
Q:...this tension in the area, if any of the country's military wings have contacted Pentagon or the U.S. government this morning.
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that they have contacted us.
Q: Getting back to this Stop Loss invocation. You sort of portrayed this as almost routine or business as usual, but you consent the last time this happened was during the Gulf War. But during the Gulf War there were 500,000 troops in the Persian Gulf. We don't even have a tenth of that now. Doesn't this show, in fact, that the Air Force is critically short in some areas of personnel, which really doesn't seem like a big secret at this point. The fact that you have to prevent, actually prevent people who voluntarily joined the service from voluntarily leaving, they can't leave now. That's sort of a stronger measure...
Mr. Bacon: I think that's a very good question to ask the Air Force. This is a reasonable act for the Air Force to take at a time when it's made a major contribution to this conflict. It's the service that has been bearing the heavy lifting and doing most of the fighting. Of course the Navy's involved, and the Marines are about to start. The Marines have been flying Harriers, and they're about to start flying F/A-18s. I don't know whether they've been flying F/A-18s off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
Major General Wald: Yes.
Mr. Bacon: So the Marines have been involved as well, but it's been primarily an Air Force engagement at this time, and this is a prudential action to allow the Air Force to hold on to some of its most skilled people at a time when their knowledge, energy, and skill is most necessary.
Q: Could the Navy take the freeze order too because of its pilots and stuff...
Mr. Bacon: The Navy has looked at its situation and decided that it's okay.
Q: To follow-up on a completely different subject. For the second night now in a row, President Milosevic's presidential villa on the outskirts of Belgrade has been targeted. In all these attacks on Milosevic's home, is there any evidence that he's anything other than alive and well? Is there any evidence indicating he's either been injured or his health is in any way suffering because of these attacks?
Mr. Bacon: I'm sure that he has been psychologically rattled by these attacks. It could well be that he's not sleeping well, either because of the attacks or because of his concerns that his policies are not working. But I have no firm evidence of what his physical or mental state is at this stage.
Q: Would the Air Force like us to sign up, us old vets, to help out?
Mr. Bacon: You have you leather jacket. You're welcome to...
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
Major General Wald: Good afternoon.
Major General Wald: As I mentioned yesterday, the weather over the last 24 hours has been-actually, a little bit of clouds this morning. That's cleared up. Then the next several days, out to ten days or so, it looks like it will be clear flying. Maybe a thunderstorm or two in the afternoons, but it should accommodate all we need to do.
This type of weather with the increase of aircraft over the last few days has now gotten to the point where the Kosovo engagement zone is being covered 24 hours a day, around the clock, which is a little different than in the past where we had some gaps in the coverage. During those gaps it appears he may have moved around his forces in Kosovo in the past. As we get more aircraft and this type of weather, that will take away his sanctuary to even move his forces in Kosovo around. As he does move, it will make it easier for us to find them and destroy them. So that combined with the number of aircraft, this type of weather, and the increase in daylight will make it exceedingly difficult for him to move his forces in any type of way at all in Kosovo without being attacked.
[Chart-Level of Effort-Day 63]
The last 24 hours were excellent for targeting. Fifty-eight total targets, the majority of forces on the ground. As you can see, many of them in the southwest portion of Kosovo where they've congregated many of their capabilities and some of their artillery. A lot of that was hit yesterday. Again, 14 of those at least. Several tanks, five; some mortar positions were hit. I understand today with the weather clearing, they've had at least ten tanks destroyed. That's a preliminary number.
Q: That's in addition to those five?
Major General Wald: That's in addition to those five. And a very successful day so far in the KEZ as well as throughout the FRY. Yesterday, you can see that several command and control targets were hit. We mentioned those. I'll show some imagery of that. Some radio relay sites--their coms are going down. More sustainment, some POL, runways are being attacked and their air defense. They had several SAMs fired last night, all of those unguided. So they still continue to try to shoot aircraft down, but their IADS has been degraded to the point where when they do turn on their radars they'll be attacked.
Q: How many sorties, General?
Major General Wald: I think yesterday there were almost 700 combat-type sorties where there are SEAD and CAP, etc. They have another 1,000 scheduled today, of which about 800 of those are in the combat-type category.
Mr. Bacon mentioned the contribution of the United States from an air perspective, and I think this tells the story pretty well. There are 717 total U.S. aircraft in the area. The majority of those attack-type aircraft, although we have the majority of the tankers. Nearly 165 tankers in the region now, which is getting up to the number that we had in the Gulf War.
A lot of reconnaissance. The aircraft carrier ROOSEVELT is still in the area operating around the clock, day in and day out, along with the complement of ships they have with them.
The allies are up to 324. They have--71 more aircraft over the last few days have arrived. Thirty-nine more fighter bombers and about 30 more reconnaissance aircraft. You can see the countries that are participating along with the United States, and it's almost 1,052 aircraft now participating in this.
[Chart-Operation SUSTAIN HOPE-Last 24 Hours]
The refugee situation, over the last few days has increased the outflow of refuges from Kosovo. Ten thousand in the last 24 hours, 8,500 of those into the FYROM, the remainder into Albania. There still has been over the last two days 2,500 refugees departing Macedonia. Fort Dix had nearly 100 depart yesterday. And as Mr. Bacon alluded to, the humanitarian air drop planning continues. That's a civilian operation. If that occurs and when it does, the CAOC will be in full coordination with that.
Q: Are you in preliminary discussions with any of these organizations...
Major General Wald: ...not in any discussion with them, but when the time comes, if it does, we assume they'll be coordinated and on the Air Tasking Order -- where they would fly and when they would fly. But the military is not doing the coordination with them.
The Macedonian refugee crisis continues. Over the past three days over 23,000 refugees into the FYROM. We don't expect that flow to decrease, but there are numerous different things being done to take care of that as we've spoken in the past several times. Once again, several nations, dozens of nations have agreed to take nearly 160,000 refugees. More than 60,000 of those have been moved into those different countries over the last few weeks. The U.S. continues to plan to accept 20,000 here in the United States.
[Chart-PROVIDE REFUGEE-Refugee Status]
Speaking of Fort Dix, there are 3,460 there now, 4,545 total refugees have arrived in the United States. 643 of those have gone directly to families that are sponsoring them, then another 195 now have departed Fort Dix. That outflow from Fort Dix is increasing on a daily basis as they get more and more use of the routine there as far as processing. You can see the flights coming back into Fort Dix over the next few days.
The Health and Humanitarian Services is handling the majority of the work there and the U.S. military is in support at Fort Dix on that one.
[Chart-Level of Effort/Refugees]
Once again, the refugees continue. Many of those that were in Kosovo are now exiting Kosovo for various reasons unknown to us. The camps continue to be built. Camp Eagle is in the process of formal siting, and [we're] watching for, it has a possibility of some flooding in the area. They're looking at it some more to make sure that's not a problem over the next few months. Once again, the contributions from the nations are still needed to take care of the folks that are in the camps themselves.
[Photos available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation+Allied+Force]
[Photo-Dobanovci Serbian Presidential Villa, Serbia-Post Strike]
Jamie, I think you asked about the bunker earlier. This is an overhead imagery of--it's a little bit difficult to see--but this is his villa, Milosevic's villa. This is a command bunker where they have a command and control area here. You can see just right here the entry was hit, and that entry to that bunker and probably down into the bunker itself was attacked successfully. The entry part showed damage. We estimate the bunker itself was damaged as well.
[Photo-Beograd Ministry of Internal Affairs, Serbia-Post Strike]
This is the Ministry of the MUP, internal affairs, in downtown Belgrade struck yesterday. It's in the west central part of Belgrade, in the city itself. You can see a couple of the areas here were struck successfully. That's the headquarters for both their navy and their minister of defense for the MUP.
[Photo-Sremska Mitrovica Ordnance Storage Depot, Serbia-Pre Strike]
This is the Sremska Mitrovica ordnance storage depot. You can see this is a pre-strike picture here of several buildings in that area. This is in northwest Serbia. It's in support of the First Army.
[Photo-Sremska Mitrovica Ordnance Storage Depot, Serbia-Post Strike]
This was attacked by a B-52, two of those, with 88 MK-82 gravity bombs. You can see all the buildings in that area have been destroyed. This is a good example of an area target for a B-52 where there wouldn't be a lot of collateral damage potential. That area has been basically wiped out.
[Photo-Belgrade Milicija Depot Area 2, Serbia-Pre Strike]
This is the Belgrade Milicija depot area. This is a pre-strike picture. Once again, a large ordnance and vehicle storage area for the MUP.
[Photo Belgrade Milicija Depot Area 2, Serbia-Post Strike]
Once again, it's been attacked. You can see several of the buildings have been taken down. Some of them destroyed totally in these areas here. This area here has been destroyed as well.
[Photo-Prahovo Petroleum Production Storage Facility, Serbia]
This is, Mr. Bacon talked about fuel and where they're getting their fuel, when they do get it. The fuel out of Montenegro has been decreased to a trickle of less than that, possibly.
This is Prahovo along the Danube River. All the fuel storage there was, I think almost 250,000 gallons has been destroyed as well as the pump houses. These offload areas along the land area, not on the river itself, they have been destroyed. So no more fuel can be offloaded there.
Q: General, what's left?
Major General Wald: There's a few targets left but he doesn't have as much as he had before, that's for sure, Ivan.
Just a few images from yesterday. This is the theater operation weather as of 5:00 this morning. You can see most of it clear. A little bit of high cirrus, not too much. Most of the area's clear for ops. You can see back in here it's pretty clear as well, so expect outstanding weather the next week or so, which will translate to increased ops.
This is the projected weather through 2400-Z tomorrow morning. You can see some minor fog clouds in the early portion of the morning. As it clears out, and back in here it's all clear. Just some land fog and a little bit of high deck cloud. It clears out in good shape up in the Kosovo area and into the FRY itself. Excellent weather. And like I said before, we expect this to be the trend now for the next few months, and certainly over the next ten days, it should be similar to that.
Some of the targets hit. This is northwest of Belgrade, a com site. Still a fairly highly defended area, although I said earlier they're shooting many of the SAMs in a ballistic mode. You can see there's a second bomb coming into the cursor. That was his wingman [who] hit the first target. That was one of their major remaining com sites in the north.
This is a com tower in Novi Sad, northern Serbia. It's a difficult tower to hit. Also there's a lot of weather in here. You can see the pilot's working hard to avoid the weather with the laser. The bomb will come in from this side, and in fact because of this it looks like it hits just at the base of the tower. There's, in fact, a building below that they were attacking. The tower did not go down, but I would call that probably a miss.
This is an alternate command post in Pristina. Ivan, you mentioned what he has left. Whatever he has left militarily until he decides he wants to meet the demands will be destroyed.
This is another one of his command and control sites. He does have a lot of work-arounds. As these are taken out, he has to do more and more working-around, which takes away his capability to have a synergistic effect on his military.
Novi Sad SATCOM center. This is an F-18 with a laser-guided bomb. This film shows a previous bomb has already hit under here, and then this F-18 will hit the target area below the previous bomb, right on top of it.
Q: Was this one operating out of Hungary or off the TR?
Major General Wald: No, this is not out of Hungary.
A sustainment target. The aircraft out of Hungary have not started flying yet.
Weapon storage facility at Sabac army barracks in northern Serbia. This is an F-15E with an LGB last night. Still a little bit of weather last night. You can see it's maybe a little bit difficult, but he still is able to get the bomb on this target. It looks like one lands a little short, maybe 500 feet, and the other one hit the target -- no collateral.
Vehicle storage building in Krivovo, a support base, central Serbia I should say, or Kosovo. You can see the buildings have been hit before. This again, goes back to your question, Ivan, "what's left?" Whatever's left, we'll hit it. This one had something in it. You can see there was a pretty good secondary here and some burning afterwards.
That was two 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs. You can see the burning afterwards and the building pretty much destroyed.
This is a petroleum storage tank in Batajnica airfield, northern Serbia. F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. These are underground storage areas.
He's having his--you can see quite a few secondaries off to the right from that. His fuel is being taken down in a big way. Once again, he really is having problems maintaining his capability to refuel his vehicles, etc.
Sjenica airfield runway in southwest Serbia. An F-16 with a laser-guided bomb again. You can see where they're trying to repair this. They've made some work-arounds here. You see a B-52 strike across there from before. Just about the time they get ready to get the runway back open, we'll close it, which I'm sure for their air force is frustrating, but that's unfortunate.
This is Sjenica airfield, hardened aircraft shelter, southwest Serbia. F-15E with a 2,000-pound bomb penetrator. It penetrates the bunker and destroys anything that was in it. You can see a fairly large secondary came out the front, so there may have been an aircraft or munitions or something in there.
Forces on the ground. Novi Pazar army barracks, southwest Serbia. This is a Third Army support facility. The majority of the Third Army support facilities -- upwards to 90 percent -- have been destroyed. You can see those two hit the target.
That should be all the film for today.
Q: Do you see anything in the air at all off these airfields?
Major General Wald: There are indications they're still attempting to fly some of their helicopters for resupply. I haven't heard of any of their aircraft trying to attack anything recently, but they could try to fly those off roads or off unprepared strips or whatever, so when we see them we'll go ahead and attack.
Q: As far as you know, is Slobodan Milosevic alive and well at this point?
Major General Wald: As far as I know he's alive. I don't know how well he is.
Q: You the other day gave out some figures that indicated that about nearly 30 percent of the munitions now are non-precision. Can you describe sort of what's changed in the air campaign that's brought that about?
Major General Wald: I'm having a chart built, because I understood he said that, but basically what's happened in the first part of the campaign because of the requirement to take down his integrated air defense, the fact that his integrated air defense was very, very robust. As a matter of fact, the best integrated air defense possibly in the Warsaw Pact, before the Warsaw Pact came apart, as good or better than the Iraqi air defense. So many of the sorties then were flown in conditions where it was very highly defended against very high-value targets, very precise pin-point-type targets, and also because of that, we didn't have the opportunity to fly back over targets because of weather or other reasons. We wanted to hit it the first time. So the majority of the weapons at the beginning of the campaign in the 90s for a period of time, 90 percent, were precision.
As that integrated air defense was taken down more and more to the point where we had local air superiority and could fly with a little less danger or risk, albeit still risky, and the campaign switched more to a sustainment and "forces on the ground" type campaign, and aircraft like the B-52 with gravity bombs or the B-1 were able to penetrate in an acceptable risk fashion, then we've switched more to the majority of the bombs, because of the B-52 and B-1 drop, the B-52 44 bombs each and the B-1 80 bombs, 82, then we've switched more to that type of bomb. As you saw earlier, runways, POL, ammunition storage areas that would accommodate that type of weapon have been attacked in a bigger way.
So you take one B-52 or B-2, for example, with 82 bombs on it, that's 41 F-16 sorties with precision bombs. So even though it looks like we've switched to a more gravity-type campaign, we still are flying a lot of precision, but the numbers go up dramatically when you start dropping those numbers off those type aircraft. So that would be the answer to that.
Q: General, when you're targeting highways, roads, bridges, infrastructure targets like that, can you give me a sense of what goes into the thinking from his perspective? Are you thinking about preserving key pieces of the infrastructure that KFOR will presumably need when they first go in? Or are you really unable to think in those terms, and you have to destroy what you need to and just try to rebuild it later?
Major General Wald: I think General Clark is thinking in those terms. I mean this is a much more sophisticated campaign than probably people have given credit to it. I think the primary issue is still to degrade, destroy his military to the point where it makes Milosevic decide he has to do something different, whatever that may be, but also there is consideration for hitting targets that don't have a military value -- we avoid those, or things that wouldn't be beneficial for us to destroy. So we're not just willy-nilly destroying anything that we see out there.
But certainly in the campaign itself to degrade his military, anything that has military impact or is of military value is eligible to be targeted. Then those targets will be selected by General Clark and his staff to make the impact at that particular time, and because of the environment at that time or whatever else.
So I guess to answer your question, the most important thing for the campaign from a military perspective is to degrade his military capability. Whichever targets those are, we'll destroy those.
Q: Can you be a little more specific about what you're avoiding destroying? Because you may...
Major General Wald: I'll give you an example. I think Mr. Bacon and I have both talked about this a lot. In southern Kosovo the bridges and the LOCs in southern Kosovo have not been attacked. That's for good reason. I mean we have no reason to destroy that. There's no threat coming from that area and the refugees will use those LOCs to go back in when they go back in. So that would be a great example, I believe.
Q: General, if Serb troops in Kosovo can basically avoid destruction by staying put and not moving around, how do you not in the end have a standoff if no ground troops, if no NATO ground troops wind up going in?
Major General Wald: It's going to be pretty hard for them to hide. Over time we'll find them. We have bombs and weapons that can destroy bunkered vehicles as well as vehicles that are hiding in the trees, etc. So it may not be as rapid when they're hiding, but we'll find them and destroy them. They really don't have much of a sanctuary any place.
Q: How many refugees do you now estimate are still inside of Kosovo, and do they appear to be moving the final, doing a final clearing of Kosovo...
Major General Wald: I've seen estimates of around 580,000. I'm not sure. I don't think anybody is totally sure. But there still are several hundred thousand that are citizens of Kosovo in Kosovo -- whether they be Serb or Albanians. But there are several hundred thousand. Some are displaced and some are still in their homes. Now Serbians live in Kosovo, so they still live in their homes.
Q: General, is the shortage of pilots in the U.S. Air Force one of the main factors behind the decision to invoke the Stop Loss authority?
Major General Wald: I really can't speak for the Air Force. I don't think Mr. Bacon mentioned that. But I suspect not a shortage necessarily, but the fact that there are--there isn't any secret--and I suspect that probably is part of the fact that we don't have all the pilots we would like right now.
Q: Let me put it this way. By instituting this, what capability does it give you? For instance, does it mean that some of your best-trained, most qualified pilots will still be around for awhile to help out with this action? Is that the result of this?
Major General Wald: All the pilots are really well trained and qualified. Ironically, many of those really well-trained and qualified pilots are in the Guard and Reserve, which are moving over as we speak now. The Guard unit that arrived in Trapani about a week and a half ago--the A-10s from Massachusetts, Michigan, and Idaho--have an average flying hours per pilot of about 2,000 hours. Many of them have combat time. So many of our real high-flying, experienced pilots are in the Guard and Reserve.
But it's not a matter of experience so much. It's just a matter of trained pilots. It takes a long time to train them, and we want to keep as many as we can right now until this is finished.
Q: General, going back to the beginning of the campaign, how would you compare the IAD around Belgrade with Hanoi and Haiphong during the key part of the Vietnam war when the air defenses there were really formidable?
Major General Wald: I think it's probably--I don't know what the percentage would be, but a lot more significant in capability. In Hanoi and Haiphong, they had SA-2 type SAMs that were at that time capable. Obviously, our equipment has increased and improved in technology significantly, as well as theirs. But they have different SAMs -- they had. They still have some in the FRY. They had the SA-6, the SA-2, the SA-3, with a lot different types of radar, some Western, some Soviet-built, and probably a lot better integrated air defense capability, and certainly, as I've said before, arguably one of the, probably the best air defense threat, the highest air defense threat of any nation that we faced I think probably in our air history, frankly. So very outstanding.
Now it's not as good as it was, obviously. They've been degraded significantly. But they still have some capability.
Q: Have you seen any significant change in the number of MUP and VJ in and around Kosovo? We've (inaudible) 46,000. Has that gone up?
Major General Wald: The number I've heard is still around that number. So I think it's still, our estimates are still around that number. It could be a little less, but I think it's still around that number.
Q: What did you think of General Reimer's comments that he had doubts at the beginning of this that air power alone could accomplish the goal?
Major General Wald: I didn't see those comments. I'm not sure what the comment after that was, but I didn't see those at all.
Mr. Bacon: As I read General Reimer's comments, he said that the choice was not between ground troops and air power. The choice was between air power and doing nothing, because he pointed out that there was no consensus in NATO to use ground troops at the time this campaign was started, and probably now.
So the choice that was presented to the Chiefs--and the Secretary has talked about this, General Shelton has talked about this as well--was either we participate in an air campaign, or we sit by and watch ethnic brutality, maybe genocide, take place. Given that choice, the Chiefs agreed that it was preferable to go ahead with an air campaign than to sit idly by. That was the decision...
Q: ...opinion of the Chiefs?
Mr. Bacon: That was, as reported by both General Shelton and Secretary Cohen, I think, to Congress back in March.
Press: Thank you.