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DoD News Briefing, Saturday, April 10, 1999 - 2:05 p.m.

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
April 10, 1999 2:05 PM EDT

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

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.

I'd like to announce that Secretary Cohen just signed the enhanced air package requested by General Clark earlier this week. Let me run through quickly what is involved in this package. This is a total of 82 airplanes.

This includes 24 additional F-16CJ fighters which are armed with HARM missiles and used for the suppression of enemy air defenses; four additional A-10 close air support aircraft, they're attack aircraft obviously, but they can also be used in their observer role as OA-10s for helping to scout out targets on the ground; six additional EA-6B Prowlers which will also be used in the suppression of enemy air defenses, along with the 24 F-16CJs; 39 KC-135 tankers; and two KC-10 tankers. In addition, there will be seven C-130 transport aircraft in the package. That should add up to 82 aircraft.

The addition of these aircraft will of course allow us to do two things-- expand the number of strikes over any 24 hour a day period; and two, give us more deep strike capacity as necessary. So basically it will allow us to increase the intensity of the air campaign over Kosovo and Yugoslavia.

With that, I think I'll turn this over to...

Q: Can I just ask you one thing quickly, Ken. How many planes, in round figures, does that bring the total U.S. force to?

Mr. Bacon: Actually, close to 500. We've got about 400 there now. This is another 82. So it's approximately 480 U.S.

Q: Is this 82 in addition to those that were just announced over the past couple of days?

Mr. Bacon: Yesterday we announced six F-15C fighters, and these are on top of those planes that we announced.

Q:...only asked for four A-10s when so much more is needed in the way of suppression of tanks and other...

Mr. Bacon: We've got a number of planes that can do that, and Admiral Wald, who is an F-16 pilot, can speak to that. General, sorry. (Laughter) I added two stars right? General Wald can speak to that. But this is what General Clark asked for. He has the clearest idea of what he needs to perform his military mission. And he felt this was sufficient.

Q: Can you explain the contrast between the speed with which this has been approved and the length of time it took to approve the Apaches?

Mr. Bacon: This was a decision that came in fully--a request that came in fully formed. The Apache request came in stages. It was made verbally, but the paperwork had to follow. Then we had to go through a fairly extensive process of finding out where the best place to put the Apaches was. Also the Apaches were a more complex force package in that it involved not only the Apaches, but Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and a significant on-ground force protection package. So it was a question of working out where to put it and exactly what the package was going to be.

Q: What's the overall NATO air package now in a round figure?

Mr. Bacon: Before this it was 600, so now it will be about 680 or so. And to answer your next question, I anticipate that other allies will be announcing force enhancements soon.

Q: Will this require calling up more Air Force reservists to support this...

Mr. Bacon: That is a very good question. And the answer to that is I believe no, but let me explain that, and General Wald may want to say more about this.

As you know, many of the tankers are in fact flown by reservists, and General Wald has frequently tanked up from reserve tankers on combat operations over Bosnia and other places.

So far all those reservists have been volunteers and therefore, there has had to be no presidential call-up of pilots to fly the tankers or other support missions. Should we reach a point where we exhaust the volunteer pool, then we probably would have to seek a reserve call-up for pilots.

Now there may be other parts of this mission that will require reserve call-ups. As you know, there are certain specialties that exist only in the reserves. One would be Army civil affairs officers. If we are to deploy Army civil affairs officers as part of Task Force Hawk, that is the Apache task force going to Albania, they would have to be called up, or maybe we could get enough volunteers, but it's conceivable that there would have to be a reserve call-up for that.

Having said that, there has been no final decision on this, but it is something that could be a possibility in the future.

Q: When do you expect all these new planes to be on the ground, in the theater, ready to take part in airstrikes? And the second part, is there a new estimate when the Apaches, the full 24 Apache contingent may be ready to go?

Mr. Bacon: I know of no new estimate on that, but I'm going to let General Wald answer the question about when they'll be in theater and ready to participate in operations.

Major General Wald: Once again we'll start with the weather then we'll go through a little bit of operations. I have a couple of videos for some battle damage assessment and also some actual slides on that.

As I mentioned yesterday, the weather over the last couple of days has not been very good. It's been in the red, but I am ready to tell you that we are flying strikes today in spite of the weather, and as they see the weather break they're prepared to go ahead and do that. So it's a little better from the standpoint of operations than we thought it would be. The next couple of days still looks a little bit bad for weather, but as I explained yesterday, the weather can change dramatically over a period of time, either in isolated spots or overall, so we're hoping for the best there.

Because yesterday, as I mentioned, only four target areas--once again, more than one impact point in those areas. Primarily fuel for sustainability, and their command and control for both execution of operations and the integrated air defense systems were hit yesterday by both cruise missiles and U.S. NATO fighters, F-15s and the like.

Next.

You asked about Task Force Hawk. I'll just give you a quick rundown of the type of vehicles that are with Task Force Hawk. Of course the heart of Task Force Hawk is the Apache helicopter. They will have Bradley fighting vehicles there for force protection. They're in place as we speak. They have a radar in support of the MLRS launchers. They also have heavy lift helicopters and some medical evacuation and general utility helicopters.

The deployment is moving, as we speak. The force protection is in place, most of it. They have the advance team for the reception of the forces in for the distribution of the force when it gets in place.

I heard just before I came in, 14 to 15 C-17 sorties have already closed in Tirane and off-loaded. They're hoping if the weather holds to get through about 20 of those lift sorties today. And as Mr. Bacon and I mentioned earlier, they're still hoping for an additional capability--partial capability to employ within seven to ten days from now. Of course that depends on the weather, and there is a balance, of course, with the humanitarian operations going on, but the operational part of course does not take any back seat.

That, once again, is in conjunction with General Clark's plans. He's happy with this.

Additionally, I might add that as these forces get in place they will be folded into the air operation as we see it today and will be part of the overall air campaign and will be folded into the ATO, the air tasking order, that's being developed at the combined air operations center at Vicenza, Italy.

Q:...the 24 hour operation at Tirane yet?

Major General Wald: That's a good question. Today we hope to have the approach control certified by the FAA at Tirane. As you know, the field there did not have some of the approach capability that we needed. Additionally, the 24-hour lighting is in. There are air traffic controllers deploying there to augment the in-place air traffic control, and by Monday we hope to be 24-hour operations which would for all practical purposes double the amount of airlift that could go in there during the day.

Q: General, when you talk about balance with the humanitarian operations, does that in any way mean curtailing those operations or shifting them to other locations?

Major General Wald: No, as a matter of fact, nothing should be curtailed here from the humanitarian lift, and I think, as far as I can tell, the lift of the Apache unit into Tirane has not been affected by either one, basically because of the augmentation by both air traffic controls, the controllers, the insertion of night lighting, and then of course when we get the all weather approach. Thus far we haven't had any degradation of either the humanitarian or the air-flow of the Apache unit in.

Q: How many total flights will it take, C-17 flights?

Major General Wald: As I mentioned earlier, it looks like around 150 C-17 sorties will take that --

Q: One five "o"?

Major General Wald: One-hundred and fifty.

Q: General, you said you'd have a partial capability in seven to ten days. Can you give us an estimate of when you might have all 24 fully operational?

Major General Wald: No, I can't right now. But it should be fairly soon after that. I would think within 30 days they'll be fully up and running, at the very latest.

Q: Can you describe what partial employment or partial capability means? Will they be operational?

Major General Wald: Once again, I won't talk about how they're going to operate, but suffice it to say they would have some capability, depending on how the commander, the CINC, and the air commander there decides to employ them. And I won't talk about tactics, but they could theoretically, within seven to ten days, be operating in some way in support of the mission. But once again, that's up to the local commander on the ground as well as the CINC. And once again that's hard to predict right now because of the weather and other factors. But they're intending to get the mission running as soon as they possibly can and integrate it into the air campaign.

Q: General, last week when you announced that the Apaches were going over, I think Ken mentioned that the President has to decide once they're all in place whether they're going to be used. Is that still the case?

Major General Wald: Right now, they've been approved to deploy and the employment decision will be made at the commander level in theater and in conjunction with the decision by the civilian leadership, and I'll let Mr. Bacon talk to that later.

Q: Did you say force protection--partial force protection was employed--or the... Is that 2,000 troops? Are there any Abrams tanks involved in that force protection?

Major General Wald: None, that I know of, there are no tanks involved in that whatsoever. As I said, I think a day or two ago, they have four Bradley fighting vehicles in place. I don't know the exact number of support troops that are on the ground right now, but it's not the number of 2,000 force protection--I can tell you that.

The total number I think that was talked about earlier was in the 2,500 to 2,700 range, but I'll have to check on that for sure. But no, It's not 2,000 force protection.

Q: There have been reports of a further 24 [Apache's] being prepared to go. Can you discuss whether you're preparing plans to send a further 24?

Major General Wald: No, I can't talk about any further plans in that area.

Q: Are the air defenses sufficiently degraded in Kosovo for you to employ the Apaches on a limited operation in seven to ten days, or do you still have further to go on the air defense?

Major General Wald: There's always further to go. If there's one left, that's more than enough, but they wouldn't be deploying the Apaches there if they didn't think they could employ in theater. So all due regard would be taken.

But we continue to degrade the air defenses, but in many cases with man-pads and hand-held SAM AAA, the threat will always be there, but this Apache unit, Task Force Hawk, is trained for that type of mission and that type of threat and that type of terrain, so they'll know how to employ.

Q: Do you expect them to be flying within seven to ten days into Kosovo?

Major General Wald: The intention is to have some capability as soon as possible. Whether they fly in Kosovo in seven to ten days will be a commander's decision. I can't tell you right now.

Q: Can you tell us what the situation is like on the ground, both with the fighting and the refugee flow?

Major General Wald: The fighting, from what I understand, continues-- sporadic fighting. The UCK continues to employ.

Q: In the southwest?

Major General Wald: From what I understand, in various places in Kosovo, but mainly in the western and north western and southwest.

The refugee situation I'll talk about in just a moment, but I will say that the UCK continues to engage the MUP and VJ, and they seem to still have the heart to do that. And the morale, from what I understand is still fairly good.

Q: General, along that line there's a report that there was some cross-border fighting between Kosovo and Albania. Apparently some Serb artillery and/or mortars fired at what may be MUP camps or strongholds or whatever you call them.

Where there--do you have any details on that one? And two, were there any U.S. military personnel or any other U.S. personnel in the area that may have been endangered or injured in any way?

Major General Wald: On the last part, there are no reports of any U.S. personnel in the area endangered or involved, and I think the report on the fighting is the same one that you heard, as best I can give you on that.

Q: Do you have any more confirmation--stronger confirmation--on the rapes that Mr. Bacon talked about yesterday?

Major General Wald: We only have reports--I think the same reports you're probably hearing, mainly from refugees, displaced persons, and some reports from other various sources, but I can't add anything to what Mr. Bacon said yesterday.

Q: He said yesterday that you just had one firm source. Have you got more sources now reporting?

Major General Wald: There are no other sources that I know of personally. There may be, but I have not heard that.

Q: Are you able to give us any clue as to what happened to the people that were on their way out of Kosovo, [that] turned around? Do you have some recon on that?

Major General Wald: I'm going to show you a picture a little later that will show you what may have happened to some of them. I'm not sure it's the same ones. But we have had other photos that we've seen where buses have been lined up next to military barracks, and we have some overhead I'll show you in just a moment where there are some that look like displaced personnel around a village in Kosovo.

Of course it remains speculation where they're all going, but I will show you that.

Q: Is this some human shield activity?

Major General Wald: It doesn't appear to be human shield. There's no military activity around where I'm going to show you.

Q: General, of these nearly 500 aircraft that Ken Bacon referred to, could you give us an approximate percentage of those that would be attack planes and the percentage that would be support, including air refueling, that kind of thing.

Major General Wald: I think Mr. Bacon gave you the specifics on what they would be, but they were mainly suppression of enemy air defense aircraft, which goes back to the reference...

Q: I'm talking about the overall total of about 500 American planes. About what percentage of those would be involved in actual attacks, and what percentage would be support aircraft?

Major General Wald: The ones I told you about--the majority will be attack aircraft, but the total number of tankers will be, for example, in the 100 tanker range. So the majority will be attack and strike attack aircraft like suppression of enemy air defense type aircraft.

Q: Are you still flying...

Mr. Bacon: Why don't we let him finish. He's got more slides and a video to show today.

Major General Wald: Okay.

Quickly on the IDPs, it hasn't changed a lot. I will say that the number here continues to change. Some of these families, from what we understand, have actually moved in with other Albanian families in Albania, which helps significantly. I will report once again that from all reports, the refugees that are on the surrounding area outside Kosovo are being taken care of fairly well. The food and shelter continues to flow in and the coordination between the military force that's supporting the effort, as well as the civilians, the UNHCR and NGOs, is working along very well.

Just a rehash of the contributing nations. There's about 29 total nations now that have contributed in a significant way over 2,500 tons of food, nearly 900 tons of shelter, and then the rest of the numbers as you see. So a significant lift capability over a short period of time. From what I understand, the food situation at least for the refugees on the surrounding areas outside of Kosovo are being taken care of very well from a food perspective, and they're actually starting to get warm meals and they're getting actual bulk food.

So over the next few days we expect most of the airlifted food--the initial crisis part of the food, the triage part--to pretty much come to a little lower level, and at some point there is even talk of sending some of the food in via barge or ferry across the Adriatic, and then they'll get into more of a bulk flow, and they'll have better capability to provide better meals and warmer meals.

Just an update at Ancona. So far over nearly 360,000 daily rations have been sent through Ancona and 204 tents into Tirane--231,000 [rations] have arrived already. That leaves about 150,000 to 170,000 left there. Then to Skopje--you can see they're starting to move a little bit more food, and we've had another 100 or so tents. So we're getting near at least the initial U.S. contribution on that part, and that should be closed within the next couple of days, and then it will get into a more routine fashion with a little more deliberate and economical way of getting the food in.

Just to kind of end up--once again, there's about 150,000 more to go into Albania, then about 400,000 more humanitarian daily rations to be sent into Skopje.

That concludes the charts. I've got two images I'd like to show you today. You talked about the refugees. It may be hard from where you're sitting to see, but basically there's a village here, Malisevo area in Kosovo which is northwest of Pristina, a little bit of a blowup there. Not a lot of apparent damage in the city, the village itself, but you can see there are two areas blown up here. They're actually this distance from the city where there are numerous tents and vehicles in both of these areas up in the hills, and this is probably a few kilometers from the city itself where it looks like the city has been emptied, or the village, and all those displaced persons are living in the hills.

I can't tell you what conditions they're living under or what kind of threat they're living under, but you have to assume if they [can't] get back home, they're in some kind of threat.

So to answer your question, are we imaging them? Yes, we are.

Q: Do you have any numbers?

Major General Wald: It looks like in the thousands, is what it's looking like.

Q: Is this G-2 imagery or synthetic radar aperture?

Major General Wald: I won't talk about what type of imagery that is.

Q: How about Predator?

Major General Wald: That is not Predator.

Next slide.

Q: Did you say that there were tents in those hills?

Major General Wald: It looked like there may be tents or shelter of some sort. I can't say they're tents. It may be just sheeting or plastic. But yes, they're covered.

The next one is just--as I mentioned yesterday, we hit some fuel. This is not from that strike, but it's from two days ago on a fuel depot near Pristina. There were four large covered bunkers and two large buildings that were totally destroyed.

As was mentioned earlier, approximately 50 percent of the fuel reserve has now been destroyed in both the FRY and Kosovo.

The last thing I have today is two images or video gun camera film. We'll go through that and then I'll take questions.

Q: (inaudible)

Major General Wald: In both the FRY and Kosovo, approximately 50 percent of the fuel reserve is what was reported.

As this comes up, the first one will be of an F-117 laser-guided bomb on a bridge, Novi Sad railroad bridge in northern Serbia. As I point out here the bridge itself will be struck right here at the abutment. There are actually people on the bridge. None in this area when it hit. And from what we understand, nobody was injured. But it did close down the bridge.

Once again, this is an F-117 with a laser-guided bomb.

Q: What were the people doing on the bridge, General?

Major General Wald: We don't know if they were there for a promenade or if they were there in their way of protestation. But from what we understand, there were no injuries.

The next will be a SAM site. This is off an F-117 as well. You can see his laser is right over the SAM area itself, and you'll see underneath the laser in just a few moments the bombs will come in, and that was destroyed.

There's one right there.

Q: How many days ago was that?

Major General Wald: That was two days ago.

Q: (inaudible)

Major General Wald: Yeah. I'm sorry, that was an F-117.

This is an F-16 on barracks. And this is different than the one we showed the other day. You'll see that it's in the southern Serbia area. Two 2,000 pound bombs there. He expands the picture. That's not a secondary. Then he's switching back his infrared, back and forth from black to white. You'll see two other bombs from another F-16 shortly thereafter. Those were all direct hits with no reported collateral damage.

Q: What time of the day was that, and were the barracks occupied?

Major General Wald: I can't tell you if they were occupied because I really don't know, but it was night.

I'll take any questions you have.

Q:...targets. The Serbs are saying today that [the] Pristina air force was hit with a missile, and (inaudible).

Major General Wald: I can just tell you that they are flying attack missiles today, and I won't talk about specific targets for today or tomorrow, but we'll report back to you later on that.

Q: By attack missiles you mean TLAMs?

Major General Wald: We flew-yesterday, we flew both cruise missiles and aircraft; and today, I won't talk about ongoing missions.

Q: On your refugee numbers, you have one point--about a million to about 1.5 million. Do those count the internally displaced people, or...

Major General Wald: Yes, they do.

Q: So that's about what percentage of the population?

Major General Wald: The reports are that there are 1.8 million Kosovo Albanians, so 1.8--1.5 million out of that 1.8 are actually displaced either inside Kosovo, which the number varies between 500,000 and 750,000, and then the remainder are external. As I said, some have actually found refuge. They're still displaced. That's in the range of about 600,000.

Q: Mr. Bacon said we were going to go onto a 24-hour operation base. A week or so ago you said well, we're going up to a 24-hour tempo. Would you clarify exactly where we are on that?

Major General Wald: What I said a couple of days ago was that we are flying day and night. The intention is to intensify that and to have as much coverage 24-hours a day as we possibly can. Therefore, more tankers will give us that capability. So the intention is to intensify our operations over Kosovo and to take the fight to the VJ and MUP throughout both Serbia and Kosovo.

Q: Will there be hunter-killer teams over Kosovo 24-hours a day?

Major General Wald: I'm not going to talk about tactics, but I will tell you that the intention is to have as many aircraft as we can, with the weather permitting, for as much time during the day as we possibly can and to continue to increase the OPTEMPO.

Q: Night as well?

Major General Wald: Day and night.

Q: As a practical matter, during--when you're hunting for tanks or small units, is it necessary to operate during the day and is that a significant advantage to you?

Major General Wald: It's an advantage to operate whenever we can. Obviously during the day it's easier for us to see, although we have plenty of equipment to see at night. It depends. We're not sure when they're going to move, so we don't want to give them the opportunity to move.

From what I understand, they are hunkering down a little bit. They're starting to be hurt by the sustainability because of the fuel, paucity of fuel. Additionally, because they are being threatened more. From what I understand, they do real well against fighting innocent women and children, but against the UCK they're not doing as well because they can't move around so well. So our intention is to degrade them to the point where they can't be effective. We want to do that around the clock, both day and night.

Q: Go back to the internally displaced. You showed one photo where there was a concentration of what could have been people that had been on the road and had to turn around and come back. Now are these people--are you largely finding them in the forests, away from the villages that have been destroyed? Are they under duress from the MUP or the VJ? Or do you know?

Major General Wald: First of all we've heard reports, as has been mentioned by Mr. Bacon and previous in the week, that the displaced persons. There are some atrocities that have been reported, as mentioned earlier. There are rapes being reported. We don't have specific information on every one of them or where they're at. We have some imagery. We're doing the best we can, time permitting, within the operation to watch for that. However, the operation militarily takes priority for our reconnaissance. But reports are that they're spread out throughout Kosovo. You can see in the photo I showed you earlier today, they may be living, some of them, near their village but not in the village, and you can only assume that the displaced persons aren't being treated very nicely inside Kosovo.

Q: Is the weather inclement to the point of a danger to the people living outside?

Major General Wald: I think any time you're outside in wet weather, in hilly terrain this time of the year--I think the temperature still gets down into the low 40s, if I'm not mistaken, and there are plenty of women and children, in those type of living conditions without sanitary conditions [without] fresh food and water, you can expect that it's probably taking a toll on them. So they're not living in luxury and they're certainly not camping out on purpose.

Q: General, when you're trying to determine the success of a mission--the military mission to degrade his ability to carry out the violence in Kosovo. To determine the success of the mission is [it]when he stops carrying out the violence in Kosovo. How do you quantify if he just stops, versus having degraded it sufficiently so he must stop?

Major General Wald: If he stops and agrees to stop, under our terms, and at the point where we think he can't come back and do this again, I think that's pretty satisfactory. So once again, I'm not going to talk about specifically when the commander thinks that time will arrive, but I think he's got in his own mind what his campaign timeframe is. I won't speak to that because it's his timeframe, but I know he's got what he has in mind for objectives, and I don't want to tell you that because I don't think Milosevic needs to know that.

Q: If I can follow-up. If the fighting does stop in Kosovo can we expect to see NATO forces continuing search and destroy for days, maybe weeks to come, in spite of the fighting stopping--until you're satisfied that you've degraded it?

Major General Wald: Once again, we didn't have a military objective to stop the fighting per se. We had a military objective that was to degrade his capability to fight. That, of course, is a combination of factors. One of them will be Milosevic's ability to do that.

So when that time comes and we feel his forces aren't a threat to the Kosovo Albanians or to export his force in that region, then that time will come and we'll know when that is. It's a combination of will and capability.

Q: How soon will the new planes be taking part in NATO airstrikes?

Major General Wald: I don't know specifically the date, but they've been getting there in rapid fashion. It doesn't take very long to deploy them. So they'll get over there, get ready, get set...

Q: A matter of days?

Major General Wald: It will be a matter of days, I'm sure.

Q: (inaudible)

Major General Wald: There are some from CONUS and some from Europe as well. And as Mr. Bacon mentioned earlier, some from the Pacific region, the F-15s.

Q: In that line, if I could, is there a rotation policy being worked out for the U.S. air crews involved in this operation?

Major General Wald: The rotation I think for the Reserve and Guard, if they have a rotation, I'm sure--that happens routinely. When I was at Aviano Air Base we had Guard/Reserve forces would come and go routinely. Most of the active duty forces that are there will probably stay there for a longer period of time, but I can't tell you the exact rotation policy.

Q: Like in World War II they flew 25 missions, [then] were reassigned to different... Nothing like that?

Major General Wald: No. There's no limit on the number of missions you can fly. I'm sure most of them will fly as many as they can.

Q: A couple of days ago a French journalist who had gone into Kosovo with some KLA people reported that the KLA thought that airstrikes had gotten rid of about ten percent of the Yugoslav armored vehicles in Kosovo. It wasn't clear if they were talking about tanks or tanks plus APCs, but ten percent was the figure they settled on.

Do you have any sense of whether that's a correct ball park figure?

Major General Wald: Who reported that, please?

Q: The French journalist who went in with the KLA.

Major General Wald: There's various sources of information. It all adds up. And smarter people than me that work in intelligence add up the numbers, but ultimately the CINC will determine what that number is. But I can't tell you if that has voracity or not. We do know that we're systematically destroying his military capability not only in transportation but sustainment, the SAMs as well as his army in the field, and we plan to take the fight to the army in the field in a big way.

Q: You talked about day/night intense 24-hour a day operations. Can you put some caveats around that, though? This is going to be subject to the same weather limitations that you've been under for the last three weeks, right?

Major General Wald: Of course.

Q: Is it going to be cruise missiles?

Major General Wald: It will be the combination of all weapons we've been using in the past. The only difference is we'll have a little bit more of it, and it will be in more of an intense fashion. So of course weather always is a factor, but as we've mentioned over the last two or three days, the weather has been looking really bad, and we've still been able to get missions off. So the weather is a little bit unpredictable, but I can say this, that the commander, the joint forces aerospace commander has forces that are prepared in a moment's notice to be launched if the weather is good, and he's got forces in place to respond for either good or bad weather. So it will be a combination of all weather weapons as well as the aircraft that Mr. Bacon mentioned earlier.

Q: Does that mean that the NATO political leadership has lifted the restrictions on collateral damage [and] civilian casualties? Because there have been no airstrikes on Belgrade, for example, during the day supposedly, to limit the collateral damage.

Major General Wald: I'll let Mr. Bacon speak to the political leadership part, but from the standpoint of collateral damage there has been no change from the beginning of this mission.

Q: Can you talk for a second on the command and control site that was targeted near Pristina? Was that the tower that combined both military communications as well as state television?

Major General Wald: From what I understand, the strike that I depicted was on a radio relay communications site.

Q: As you know, imagery was shown at the NATO briefing this morning of that strike on that tower. So that was not represented in your presentation today?

Major General Wald: No, it was not.

Q: Any B-1,s B-2s, B-52s that are...

Major General Wald: Last night it was cruise missiles and fighter aircraft.

Q: Can you state whether or not the border has been opened between Kosovo and Macedonia and Kosovo and Albania?

Major General Wald: From what I understand there is some movement between Kosovo and Macedonia, and then you heard a report last night that they opened the border for a period of time into Albania. I believe it was, if I'm not mistaken, then closed it again. So it's hard to predict what he's doing.

And once again, I don't want to get into the political side of this, but from a personal perspective, it's appalling to me to think what he is doing with people. I guess it just kind of shows the kind of individual we're operating with.

Q: (inaudible) casualties, and also (inaudible) how long the air war will need to continue after it's stepped-up some more?

Major General Wald: I wont' give you an estimate for various reasons. One for security reasons. Number two is, that's the commander's decision to make. And I don't have specific numbers on individual army or Serb police casualties. We know they are taking some. We know their army is being degraded. We expect that to be degraded even more over the next few days and into the upcoming period.

Q: Members of congress are urging the President to prepare for the possibility of a ground war. To prepare. Can you say in this building, just on a contingency basis, if planners are just looking at the possibility on a contingency basis of ground troops?

Major General Wald: I'll just repeat again. There's no intention right now at all to employ ground troops. The air campaign is going as planned. I think we need to understand that the campaign is just what it states. It's a period of time with steps that are pre-planned. The campaign, from what I've seen, is an outstanding campaign. I'm sure it will succeed. But right now I'll tell you there is no intention to introduce ground troops.

Q: General, can I ask you an air power type question? Going into this campaign, was there an assumption that Milosevic might fold after seven or eight days of airstrikes? Or was the assumption being that you'd be at this point, it would be three weeks into it, and you'd still be going?

Major General Wald: I don't know anything about any assumptions. I think anybody would have hoped that after a period of time he would have decided that this was not in his best intention, but I can tell you that the campaign was planned to go to the end. So if he wants to decide to stop and comply with demands, that's up to him, but the campaign will go until we reach that point. So there was no assumption made that it would stop at any one particular time early. I can tell you that.

Q: Three weeks into it, the campaign's still going on. Is a planner like yourself kind of confused about this, or...

Major General Wald: I'm not a bit confused. I think the campaign's working just as it's designed.

Q:...got to keep adding and adding and adding...

Major General Wald: It's not keep adding or adding. It's not an incremental adding. I think the campaign as the steps are unfolding, are just exactly how General Clark planned it. So you do adjust somewhat based on the time. The campaign, of course, is dependent on two people cooperating here, so depending on the weather, depending on how Milosevic feels, that could change a little bit here and there but the campaign is being unfolded just exactly as General Clark planned it.

Q: You said the allies will be adding more aircraft. Do you have a ball park on how many...

Major General Wald: I don't. Mr. Bacon mentioned that. But I think we can get that maybe later.

Q: Are you concerned about ...ordnance and are stocks/reserves of ordnance being drawn down?

Major General Wald: Well, as you employ weapons they draw down a little bit. Right now they're sufficient and we feel comfortable with it.

Q: When you say the campaign is going as General Clark planned it, that implies that this addition that you're announcing today was in the plans all along. Is that accurate? Or is this something that you've gotten through a phase and said we need more than what we planned. There's a big difference.

Major General Wald: No, I would say that. It's, the campaign itself unfolding as General Clark planned it. The number of aircraft could vary in the matter of 10 or 12 or 15 or a dozen here or there as you go along, but as the campaign unfolds, some type of aircraft may not be needed as much as others. As we mentioned, as we start attacking his fielded forces, there are a certain type of aircraft that do that better than others, and we want to do it in an increased operational tempo. So that will be adjusted as we go, and that's no surprise to anybody.

Thank you very much.

Q: Ken, how many A-10s, with the four that are being sent--how many will that bring the total number of A-10s to?

Mr. Bacon: I believe right now... I have a long list of aircraft here that doesn't include A-10s. But we will get you the number of A-10s that are there.

Q: Do you have a ball park on the allied aircraft, additional allied aircraft?

Mr. Bacon: No. I anticipate that some of the allies will be announcing augmentations of their forces in the next few days and I think we should just let them announce what they plan to do with their own forces.

Going back to the question you asked earlier about the plans for the air campaign. We've always said from the beginning that the first goal was to attack air defense systems, the integrated air defense system. And although he continues to have an air defense system that continues to target and occasionally shoot at our planes, and I think you can see from some of the television coverage that there's extensive anti-aircraft fire, but from time to time there are also missiles being fired.

We have, despite that, we believe we've gained what we call tactical maneuverability which is the ability to fly when we need to, where we need to, with acceptable risk.

The second part was to go after command and control, to degrade his ability to communicate with his troops. We've been doing that. We also have been concentrating more and more on choking off his troops in Kosovo by attacking lines of communication such as bridges, railroads and highways, and also attacking fuel and other supplies that are necessary to sustain the troops on the ground. We're doing that and continuing to do that. But that is beginning to have an impact. We are slowly choking off the support lines that go to the troops.

Now we want to concentrate more and more on the forces in the field. The forces on the ground in Kosovo. Remember, the goal has always been to degrade and diminish the forces he's been using to repress, kill, plunder, pillage in Kosovo. That's what these additional aircraft will help us do. That's certainly what the carrier aircraft are helping us do now.

But from the beginning it was always clear to General Clark that he had to start with the integrated air defense system and then move on through other steps, getting to the point where we can concentrate more single mindedly on the forces on the ground. Certainly the Apaches will play a part in that when they're deployed and operational.

Q: I'm sure you can appreciate why we keep asking, and as we're being told everything's unfolding as it's supposed to unfold, and yet you keep intensifying and ratcheting up and adding more things and getting more permissions to bring in more armament. It sounds as if none of this stuff was planned in the first place and you didn't expect to be into it three weeks and still having to bring in 80 more aircraft.

Mr. Bacon: I think if you go back and check the record, everything that I have said here, everything Secretary Cohen has said, everything General Shelton has said suggests that we expected this to be difficult and long, and we were prepared to spend the time and the weapons necessary to achieve the goal, and that's what we'll do.

Obviously, if Milosevic wanted to cut this off he could have done it at any time. If the terms had been right, met the five conditions that we set, we would have accepted that. But the fact is, he hasn't done that, and therefore we have moved through the systematic steps of this campaign.

But remember, any air campaign has to begin at a starting point and that starting point is to attack the air defense system that challenges or threatens the allied planes. That's what we've done. Then we've moved out in the way that I've described it.

From the very first day we did attack some forces on the ground in Kosovo. I think I said that 20 percent of the strikes on the first day were against forces on the ground in Kosovo. But we will, as we achieve our other goals, be able to concentrate much more intensely on those forces on the ground.

Q: Anything on the Canadian meeting?

Mr. Bacon: No, it was a good meeting. Secretary Cohen has made it a point to talk with many of his colleagues in person or by phone on a very regular basis. I think the Canadians feel exactly the same way we do, that this is-[that] the campaign is proceeding systematically, we are achieving more every day. And that we have to hang in there as a unified alliance until this job is done.

Q: The Canadians have also publicly mentioned the possibility of using ground forces. Did they discuss that?

Mr. Bacon: I wasn't at the meeting so I can't answer that specifically, whether they discussed ground forces. I'll try to find out.

Q: (inaudible) had an interesting (article) that the army, the VJ, and the MUP have small caches of fuel and ammo in caves and elsewhere around the country, and their whole military doctrine is to fight a war of attrition. Have you seen any evidence of these caves or small caches? Are they using them?

Mr. Bacon: We assume that they have stockpiled food, fuel, munitions and other supplies. That clearly is their doctrine. We don't know how much they've stockpiled. Obviously if we knew where they stockpiled it we would attack it. But the fact is we are already beginning to see signs that the choking campaign is beginning to have an impact. That is, it does seem to be slowing their mobility somewhat. Still, we have not seen what you all want, which is pictures of tanks that have run out of gas being abandoned on the Pec to Pristina road. We haven't seen that.

Q: I have an air-launched cruise missile question, not about the quantities. But Aviation Week this week in their current issue had a reporter fly on one of the B-52 missions, and he makes a point in here that up until the point about a week ago, no B-52 had launched all eight cruise missiles at once. That there were reliability problems on each of the missions.

Do you have any insight into the extent of the reliability problems hampering the launches?

Mr. Bacon: I do not.

Q: Is that something you could check with Air Force to find out how many missiles have not been launched because of reliability problems?

Mr. Bacon: I'll take the question.

Press: Thank you.

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