DoD News Briefing, April 27, 1999 - 2:00 p.m.
(Also participating in this briefing was Major General Chuck Wald, J-5, and Major General Michael Kudlacz, U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for Air and Space Operations)
Related briefing slides [link no longer available]
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
As you know, President Clinton signed within the last hour or so the Presidential Select Reserve Call-up which gives Secretary Cohen the authority to call up as many as 33,100 reservists to support Operation ALLIED FORCE. We will give you a briefing on this later on, but this will be a sequential call-up and the first group is likely to be about 2,000 people, and then we'll add as we make further deployments of aircraft primarily to the theater in line with General Clark's request for more aircraft, so he can move to more robust 24-hour-a-day operations and to hit a broader range of targets.
Before getting to that part of the briefing General Wald will give you a quick operations update, then Major General Kudlacz, who's the U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for Air and Space Operations, will come and brief you on the Reserve call-up. There will be more information later from the Air Force for those of you who want to zero in on very specific detail.
As you also know, today the International Committee for the Red Cross representatives did meet with the three POWs in Yugoslavia. It was about a 40-45 minute meeting. It was handled in strict compliance with the terms of the Geneva Convention in that there were no Serb or Yugoslav handlers there. They were able to meet alone with the POWs. They brought a doctor with them who was able to give the POWs a brief checkup. They also were able to take messages from the POWs back to their families.
The ICRC has not commented on the results of the medical checkup, and obviously the messages that they're taking back are private at the discretion of the families.
We're encouraged by the fact that this happened, and also encouraged by the fact that the ICRC says that they expect to have future meetings with the three POWs.
Also today the ICRC had its third meeting (sic) [There have been two visits to the Yugoslav soldier, one on April 17 and the second on April 23.] with the Yugoslav soldier who is being held by allied forces in Germany.
Just two other things. You've all read the comments of the deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia, Vuk Draskovic. One of the things he said was there were horrible scenes of refugees in Albania, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro that were not making their way to the Yugoslav people on state television.
Despite those horrible scenes, we continue to receive reports of atrocities in Kosovo. We've received some unconfirmed reports that as many as 70 refugees were executed over the last five days in a town called Kolic which is northeast of Pristina. We will be obviously investigating these reports--we and other countries-- human rights investigators will be investigating these reports to see if there's information that should be passed on to the International War Crimes Tribunal. But I stress, these are unconfirmed reports, and we have to investigate them further.
Finally, on a happier note, I'd like to point out that President Clinton has announced that Lieutenant General John Keane will be nominated to become a General and be promoted to the job of deputy chief of staff of the Army. Lieutenant General John Keane is currently the deputy commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command in Norfolk, Virginia.
With that, I'll turn it over to General Wald.
Major General Wald: Good afternoon.
The weather today is right now not too good in Kosovo, but over the next few days, it looks like it will start clearing. The trend is usually 25-30 percent bad weather during the month. We've had about our quota for the month. We hope that will start clearing up. And as I've said, they've flown over the last 24 hours and continue to fly today.
Over the last 24 hours, we've hit about 11 or so targets, as you can. See in the last 24 hours of this type of target: command and control, sustainment, air defenses, fielded forces, mobility, in these particular areas. A couple of bridges up in this area.
Just to rehash, over the last 34 days or so in command and control, hit nine national command authority targets and 28 radio relay sites, com RadRels. These are command and control, C2. You've see some of the towers that we've shown. One of the towers that was taken out last night, or the night before last, I should say, and we'll show some imagery of that.
Integrated air defense. We continue to hammer away at that, both SAMs airfields, an army airfield here that has HIP helicopters that were used against the ground forces or the refugees in Kosovo. SAM storage, early warning throughout the area. Some in Montenegro, but that's for self-defense. And hit a couple of radars in Montenegro last night.
Continue to hit their garrison forces as well as their fielded Serb and MUP police forces. A total of 34 total targets, but those are garrisoned forces primarily. Then in the field itself there have been some targets that wouldn't be considered just individual targets, that were either vehicles, trucks, APCs, etc. There have been dozens of those attacked as well.
The infrastructure and sustainment--once again 100 percent of the refineries are down, 70 percent of their production capability overall. Then strategic storage, bridges, ammo production, industry, and ammo storage throughout Kosovo and the FRY itself.
On the humanitarian side, 57 contributing nations; over 6,400 short tons of food, shelter, bedding, etc., continues to flow through. Fifteen different nations have now taken on refugees in their country.
In Ancona at the intermediate staging base there are now over 2,700 tents and 4,000 blankets ready to move forward. Moved in another 61,000 blankets into the FYROM.
Once again, shelter is of the essence right now. They continue to move that forward. Out of these 2,700 tents, a couple of thousand of those will actually be sent forward to build the camp that will be in Albania. That will start up shortly.
The way head, we plan to send another additional, besides the 2,000 tents, 526 via Ancona and another 1,000 blankets into Kukes. That will be in the forward refugee camp, and we'll continue to send food in. The U.S. has been asked to have HDR-type food available. The European nations are supplying a large quantity of food that would be able to be cooked-type food. That's not necessarily humanitarian daily rations type. They have plenty of flour and food of that nature, and they're depending on us to have more of the emergency type foods, HDRs and MREs.
For SUSTAINED HOPE, which is our portion of the humanitarian effort-- there are several areas that have SUSTAINED HOPE personnel operating out of there. The headquarters is in Einsiedlerhof, Germany, about 189 folks there. That's where the headquarters for Major General Hinton is who is the CJTF SHINING HOPE Commander. We have a TALCE at Falconara Airfield, which is at Ancona, one of the four staging bases. The INCHON is still in the Adriatic with their MH-53s, about 661 folks there. There are five in the FYROM, Skopje, that are handling some of the coordination with ALLIED HARBOUR, which will be the NATO mission when that stands up. That's planned for about 7,600 folks. Out of the total U.S. personnel, 1581 will chop to the NATO mission ALLIED HARBOUR when that stands up.
We still have some in Greece; then about 628 folks in Tirane itself made up of various types of personnel for air traffic control, air base squadron, civil engineering, medical, security, etc., and a Red Horse team that will be closing in Tirane over the next few days, and they will be building four large ramps for aircraft holding and a road from the main gate to the airport general.
The only imagery I want to show you today is one picture. You've seen this on TV. This is the Socialist party headquarters. What used to be an antenna on top. That was part of their command and control. This picture is taken off of Serbian Internet, so they at least have some way of finding out a little bit in their own country what's happening.
Some imagery. First is a Belgrade radio relay. Once again, part of their command and control, an F-117 laser-guided bomb yesterday. You can see the actual tower here. Large radio relay tower. The ability to communicate with fielded forces throughout the FRY and Kosovo. The aircraft will drop the bomb from almost directly above. The tower starts to go, and we're not sure if it stayed up or not, but it looks like it was at least shut down.
Dakovica army barracks, F-16 with laser-guided bomb. This is in western Kosovo. Continue to take down their ability to sustain the fielded forces. There's an actual large tower here that's for communication of that force that we'll go after. You see it coming into view here. They'll hit at the base of the tower, and that shut down the transmissions on that. The tower looked like it stayed standing.
Novi Pazar army barracks, once again in Kosovo. Northern Kosovo. F-16 out of Aviano with a laser-guided bomb. You can see that he is moving around. He's maybe getting shot at, for all I know. There's actually--his wingman has dropped over here. He'll take out this building here. And in the last few seconds--actually tracks from the bomb--it's a direct hit.
Railroad bridge over the Danube River with an F-117 a few days ago. This bridge subsequently has been dropped totally into the river. This particular hit did not take out the bridge. You can see the black; there are lights on the bridge. Black shows hot in this film. This bridge was struck several times before it was finally dropped, and now the whole span is fully into the river except for just a center pier in the middle of that bridge. It's been shut down. That was the last bridge across the Danube up north.
Rudnik, MUP police station. Paramilitary forces fielded in Kosovo. F-15E with a laser-guided 2,000 pound bomb underneath the cursor. Large explosion, some secondaries. That was rendered destroyed.
Do you have any questions today?
Q: General Naumann was quoted as saying that the Apaches were not going to cross the Albanian border into Kosovo. Do you have any comments on that?
Major General Wald: I haven't read the report about that, but the Apaches at some time in the future will be employing, and they certainly plan to employ just like the rest of the aircraft there deployed as ALLIED FORCE.
Q: Can I read the quote? Maybe this will illuminate it. "The only thing which I can assure you, they have no combat mission which would allow them to cross the Albanian border," the general said.
Is there some new mission here that we don't know about?
Major General Wald: I think you'd have to go back to General Naumann. He may have been misquoted, because these aircraft are certainly intended to be used just like the rest of the aircraft.
Q: Help me out with petroleum products and crude. Both refineries, the only refining capacity is down?
Major General Wald: That's correct.
Q: Is that correct? They are not receiving crude from their fields in the north. They have no capacity for refining crude now.
Major General Wald: That's correct.
Q: Okay. Now, there's a supply link of refined products from the port of Bar. The supply line is rail. Is that supply line still open to Milosevic to use? Can he get products to Bar? Can he get them up into Yugoslavia? Or has that been taken out?
Major General Wald: The rail line is open except there isn't a rail bridge to get across. So once he gets to the border, he would have to go across via truck. If he wants to take the chance of doing that, that's up to him.
Q: So at the border he --
Major General Wald: He has to transfer to another means, a vehicle of some other sort, which would probably be a truck. If he wants to do that, he can do it at his own risk.
Q: General, is there any preliminary conclusion about what the likely cause might have been for the crash of the Apache helicopter yesterday? And will the crash in any way affect the timetable for the deployment of those Apaches?
Major General Wald: On the last one, from what I understand it shouldn't affect that whatsoever. On the first part, they're doing an investigation, so I can only speculate, and I wouldn't even talk about that until the investigation is over.
Q: Just to...
Major General Wald: I would rule out that it was not shot down, not hostile fire.
Q: Can you clear up something on oil shipments going into Montenegro? The information available here last week was that about seven ships had gone into Bar since the beginning of the bombing, but General Clark said today in his briefing that it used to be two or three ships a day, which of course would add up to more than seven since the start of the bombing; but now we're seeing ten ships a day in port, almost exclusively tankers offloading 24 hours a day.
Has there been some sudden rush of tankers? And while NATO sits there trying to figure out how it's going to do this maritime exclusion or whatever it's going to be called, is it the case that Yugoslav fuel stocks are actually going up?
Mr. Bacon: Quite the opposite. On one day there may have been as many as ten ships unloading in the harbor. We believe that in the last month there have been maybe about ten ships in there. We think in the last month they've brought in approximately one-third of the oil products that they brought in in January, for instance. So the shipments are down quite dramatically.
The one day in which we saw as many as ten ships there, we don't believe they were all oil tankers. So there may be some confusion on this, but the fact of the matter is that the shipments have already been cut dramatically. The shipments should be cut to nothing after the EU embargo goes in, and that will be, of course, reinforced by the NATO visit and search regime. Then to address your question, Bill, already we have cut the rail line out of Montenegro into Serbia. That was done several weeks ago. There will be more aggressive targeting of supplies as they move.
As you probably noticed today at General Clark's briefing, he did show an attack against a fuel truck, and that's an example of the types of attacks that will take place with more regularity.
Q: How long would it take to essentially drain Milosevic dry of fuel supplies? How many days, weeks?
Mr. Bacon: Well, I think, I'm not sure we know exactly. We think that the military oil supplies may be down to about ten percent of what they were--the military petroleum supplies, ten percent--down to ten percent of what they were before the conflict began. We are seeing some signs that units are having trouble getting the fuel they need. They're certainly on very reduced rations.
We don't know exactly where all the storage facilities are, but we think we're hitting them quite aggressively. As General Wald pointed out, we've already shut down the refining capacity, so it's just a matter of time. He can't refine any more. He's not going to be able to get any more fuel by ship. And we're aggressively taking out the supplies. So they're diminishing quickly.
Q: You were saying they wouldn't get any more supplies through the EU embargo, and then the visit and search. Obviously some important suppliers are not members of the European Union -- Russia and Lybia among them. How would their shipments be stopped?
Mr. Bacon: Well, as you know, the NAC is working out the arrangements now including the rules of engagement. My sense is that it will probably come out to be something like Operation SHARP GUARD, which I believe was run by NATO to keep fuel and other supplies from going in -- not fuel, but military supplies from going into Bosnia. That allowed boarding, and it allowed ships to be turned away.
Certainly, the proposals that have been forwarded by General Clark to the Military Committee or by the Military Committee to the NAC do allow as one of the options for a use of force.
Q: Generally, where is the oil coming from that's going into Bar? And specifically, were any of these ships that you noted Russian ships?
Mr. Bacon: The list I've seen didn't have Russian ships on it. Ships are registered in a lot of countries--Panama, places like that--and they're of various registry.
Q: Can I just follow up on that? When you say you support it, what's the U.S. current position on that? Is it use of force to board, use of force to turn away, could you just expand?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, use of force generally is not necessary in situations like this. The vast majority of ships don't challenge embargoes, or they don't challenge visit and search regimes. That was certainly true with SHARP GUARD. The times when they do challenge them, they can be boarded, and I think in SHARP GUARD there were only two cases where force was used to board ships. And those ships did not get through to deliver their cargoes, if it was contraband cargo.
The issue here is not to prevent all ships from going into Bar or Koto Bay, the two Montenegrin ports. The issue is to prevent ships carrying contraband material, specifically oil, from getting in.
Q: This now is you will board any ship that you believe is carrying contraband? That's the policy?
Mr. Bacon: I didn't say that was the policy. What I told you was before, and as you know, NATO is currently looking at proposals for rules of engagement and other arrangements for making this work. The options that have been proposed by General Clark do involve the use of force. NATO will make a decision on this.
Q: To follow up on the Apache, was there any special reason that the Apaches are already deployed in Tuzla and other places in Bosnia were just sent into this area because of the urgency of getting there in a hurry? Why the stress and the strain, taking them all the way from Germany?
Mr. Bacon: General Clark made that decision. As the Commander-in-Chief, he controls the Apaches in Bosnia as well as the Apaches throughout Europe.
Q: Is there any diplomatic objection to sending the nearby Apaches in there or is it strictly...
Mr. Bacon: I don't know. We do have a very robust and important mission in Bosnia, and he may not have wanted to pull it down to do this.
Q: A refugee question. There were radio reports today that some ethnic Albanian refugees may be going to Fort Dix, New Jersey. Can you shed any light on that?
Mr. Bacon: Yes. They may well process through Fort Dix, New Jersey, to join family members in the United States. I don't think they'll be living at Fort Dix. My understanding is the arrangement is that's the processing point and there may be some time that they would spend there as they get ready to go out and meet family members. This is a group of refugees coming here specifically to unify with family members in the United States.
Mr. Bacon: I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that. This is much more an INS thing than a Pentagon thing.
Q: The helicopter airfields that have been targeted, do they contain helicopters? Is there evidence that they are able to disperse helicopters and base them elsewhere, hide them under trees, things like that? And can you provide any information about what his remaining order of battle is with regard to attack helicopters?
Major General Wald: I don't know the remaining order of battle for helicopters, but the one they hit, the one target I did show you had helicopters at the field that were destroyed. They can...
Q: Do you know how many?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure of the number. I think it was in the--half a dozen I think was the number.
Mr. Bacon: We'll take one or two more questions for General Wald and then pass it.
Q: On oil?
Mr. Bacon: Let's do oil afterwards. Let's get to Reserves and we can do oil after Reserves. I'll take plenty of questions.
Q: Can I just ask an IDP question, please? Do you have any updates on the status of the IDPs in terms of are you still seeing them living in the hills? Are you seeing them come back to villages at all? Where are these people nowadays?
Major General Wald: There's a combination. Many of them are still in the hills. They're in valley areas that have water and some of the areas that would have water. Some have, we've heard, moved back into villages. We're not sure why that is, if they've been allowed to do that. We understand they may be being escorted back in, not necessarily of their will.
So the status of the IDPs is in flux, but the reports we're getting out is they're not being treated necessarily very nicely most of the time, and the ones in the hills are a little short of food, but not water.
Q: Can I ask you if there's anything you can pass on about what the defectors from the Yugoslav army are saying? We keep hearing every day that there's defectors, there's defectors. But are they saying that they're running short of food, that they can't live through the bombing? What's the message you're getting out of the...
Major General Wald: I haven't heard any interviews from the defectors that have been conducted by U.S. personnel or NATO personnel. There are anecdotal rumors that, first of all, there are defectors; and there are various ways of finding that out. But the...
Major General Wald: They are melting some of them into the populace and some of them are melding into surrounding front line states.
Mr. Bacon: It doesn't necessarily mean they defect to allied forces. They can desert from the military.
Q: We don't have our hands on any of them...
Major General Wald: No, we do not. But going back to your original question, George, the fact of the matter is there are several sources of information that tell us that the morale has decreased noticeably, that they are hurting for food in some places, that their fuel is being rationed.
One of the questions earlier was how much fuel do they have to maintain operations. The fact of the matter is they aren't operating their vehicles very much, so they don't need a lot of fuel right now. If they needed to start maneuvering a lot, they would be hurting for fuel.
Q: Just anecdotally, are there any, are the defectors non-commissioned officers or officers Or are they private? DESERT STORM, the NCOs checked out, then the privates were stuck in the bunkers. Is there any pattern to rank defects?
Major General Wald: The only thing I've heard through anecdotal is that-- not that they aren't necessarily officers. They're lower enlisted rank. But we're not sure of that either.
Q: General, why isn't more gear being drawn out of the prepositioned stocks in Italy instead of being flown down, like the tanks being flown down from Germany?
Major General Wald: I don't know of any real tanks that are prepositioned in Italy, per se. They have the Southern European Task Force that's there. That's a light organization. But I don't believe there's any tanks prepositioned in Italy per se.
Q:...whole brigade set.
Major General Wald: If there are, I'm not sure, and I think they're there for another purpose, but there are other missions in the area. And by the way, these organizations like Task Force HAWK when they come, they're pretty much married up to another unit for training and other purposes. They've actually trained together in the field, so they'd come with who they trained with.
Mr. Bacon: Thank you very much.
Mr. Bacon: Let's turn it over to General Kudlacz. Also we have here Charlie Craigen, who's the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, who can answer questions as well.
Major General Kudlacz: Good afternoon. As Mr. Bacon mentioned, I'm here to talk about how the Presidential Selected Reserve Call-up affects the Air Force.
The Air Force effort in operations over and around Yugoslavia has been a total force effort, which is business as usual for us in everything we do in the Air Force. More than 1,500 Guardsmen and Reservists currently are participating in those operations on a volunteer basis. And for worldwide Air Force operations, more than 6,000 Guardsmen and Reservists are serving side by side with their active duty counterparts on a volunteer basis.
However, to support the request from the CINC for more forces, we must go beyond the limits of volunteerism and call up selected Reserve forces. The PSRC gives us the authority to call up Reserves as needed to meet our operational commitments. Today we are calling up approximately 2,100 Guardsmen and Reservists as the first increment of the PSRC. These 2,100 men and women will meet our immediate need to deploy additional air refueling aircraft, crews, support people, and associated equipment. These forces are needed to increase the tempo of air operations, allow us to keep planes on station for longer periods of time, and increase the number of planes participating in operations over Yugoslavia and Kosovo.
The Guard and Reserve units that will be tasked to support this requirement are listed on the DoD press release provided for you at the back of the room.
As I said before, this call-up response to our immediate need for tanker support is just the first increment of the larger commitment that is required to support Operations ALLIED FORCE and SUSTAIN HOPE.
As we continue to increase the level of effort, we'll draw from the total force as needed to meet those requirements.
In addition to authorizing PSRC, the President also reaffirmed our authority to implement stop loss measures to ensure we retain the people necessary to meet our requirements. We intend to implement stop loss for critical skills across the total Air Force -- active duty, Guard and Reserves. This will preserve those skills needed to perform the mission.
We are currently analyzing our immediate and long-term requirements. Upon completion of that analysis, we will take a selective approach to implementing stop loss that will ensure we retain the critical skills needed across the total force. PSRC and stop loss are serious actions that further show our commitment to NATO.
We recognize the sacrifices that all our airmen, their families, must make to support these efforts, and we are deeply appreciative of their service and commitment. We also appreciate the outstanding support provided by employers when Guardsmen and Reservists are called to serve their country during a crisis.
At this time I'll take a couple of questions, or if you would prefer I'll have the chief of the Air Force Reserve, General Sherrard; chief of the Air Force Guard, Major General Weaver; and General Pamerleau from Air Force Personnel, and we'll all be together at 3:30 in Room 4D922. We can answer a lot of your specific questions at that time.
Q: General, how many Reservists and Guardsmen do you anticipate having to call up through this? You've said 2,100 to begin with, but what do you expect?
Major General Kudlacz: 2,100 is just the first increment, as I said. We don't know what we're going to expect. The ceiling for the Air Force is 25,000, but that's just a ceiling.
As the requirements become known from the theater from General Clark, then we'll incrementally call up the Guard and Reserves as we need to.
Q: How about the number for stop loss action? How many will be affected?
Major General Kudlacz: Stop loss, I don't have the number. We can get that for you at 3:30.
Q: How about if you call up Reservist X tomorrow, what is your target for how long he has to stay deployed? Is it six months?
Major General Kudlacz: The maximum is 270 days.
Q: I know the maximum, but there's usually a policy of going six months. Is that...
Major General Kudlacz: That would, of course, depend on how long the conflict...
Q: There's no gentleman's agreement about how long...
Major General Kudlacz: Not to my knowledge at this point, no.
Q: Can you tell us where the first 2,000 Reservists will deploy to in Europe? Will they all go to Italy? Will they go other places?
Major General Kudlacz: Some of them will be going to existing tanker bases that we have right now to augment those forces. Then there are other bases that the theater is looking at right now that they will be going to, but I don't have the specifics of that at this point.
Q: I realize you're Air Force, but what are the ceilings for the other services?
Major General Kudlacz: The total callup is 33,000, so that's divided between the Army, Navy, Marines, and the Coast Guard, I believe has had 10. Marines is about 1,000. Navy is 892. And the rest are Army.
Q: Do you know yet where the 2,100 will come from?
Major General Kudlacz: They're in the press release that we have back there. It lists the tanker units and where they're from.
Q: I know you don't have a crystal ball as to how many will be called up, but the CINC has asked for--this is the down payment on a force of about 300 aircraft. Given that, how many do you anticipate in the next tranche?
Major General Kudlacz: It depends on where they're going to be based. This will also bring up the requirement for base operation support personnel. It's not just air crews. So depending on where they go, that will drive how many people we need to support the aircraft once they get into the base, and I just don't have that fidelity yet.
Q: You don't have a ballpark?
Major General Kudlacz: No, I don't. Sorry.
Q: Can you give some general idea of what types of people -- are they going to be pilots, mechanics, base operations people, what all--who all will be called?
Major General Kudlacz: You can imagine the types of people that will go along with the tanker aircraft. There will be, as you said, pilots, aircraft mechanics. There may be a need for some security. But the base operations support end of this, we really don't have a good handle on at this point. That's being looked at right now between the force providers here in CONUS and General Clark's forces.
Q: Are there going to be like civil affairs people and intelligence and that sort of thing?
Major General Kudlacz: There could be. I'm not going to limit it to anything right now because I don't have the details.
Q: And stop loss is going to be put through also?
Major General Kudlacz: Stop loss will be the critical skills we need to maintain the...
Q: Pilots, airframe and power plant people and so on?
Major General Kudlacz: I would anticipate there would be all of those people. But as I said, that analysis is ongoing as well, dependent upon the increased forces that we're asked to provide.
Q: Are any of the other services doing stop loss?
Major General Kudlacz: No.
Q: When does stop loss start? As of today, or...
Major General Kudlacz: Do we have a date on that?
Voice: I think after we do the analysis.
Major General Kudlacz: We'll answer that further at 3:30. We'll get the personnel expert on that one.
Anything else? Okay, thank you very much.
Q: A question on oil. The United States is not part of the European Union, and the London Daily Telegram reports that we are not obligated to comply; the United States companies are not obligated to comply with the oil embargo imposed by the EU. Does that take legislation? Is that something that we're going to do by good will? How are you going to stop American companies from shipping...
Mr. Bacon: That's something we are about to do by regulation under the Export Control Act, and it will happen either today or tomorrow or sometime soon. But I think it's under a Commerce Department program, and it requires basically an adjustment to a set of regulations which are in the process of being drafted if they're not already signed and implemented.
Q: Executive Order...
Mr. Bacon: Yeah. I don't know whether it's an Executive Order, but it doesn't have to go to Congress. It's something that can be done under existing legislation.
Q: Still on oil, did I understand you to say that military supplies of fuel are down to ten percent of what they were?
Mr. Bacon: We're getting reports that in some units it's down that low, yeah in some units.
Q: Because Clark said...
Mr. Bacon: That reply--there are figures that apply to, in general, to military supplies in Yugoslavia. There are also figures that apply to reports we have about individual units. Some individual units have been hit harder than others or than the military as a whole.
Q: So the total supply, you would agree with Clark's figure, it was down 30 percent?
Mr. Bacon: He said about down 30 percent for the military. Military reserves I think is what he said.
Q: Is there a difference between reserves and supplies? They're all the same.
Mr. Bacon: I was just talking about some units. But remember, what we're doing is making it more difficult to move fuel from central storage facilities out to units in the field.
Q: Is that down amount or down to the 30 percent? About 30 percent?
Mr. Bacon: About 30 percent.
Q: Do you have a feeling for how long it's going to take to come up with the nuts and bolts of rules from the NATO staff? Are they going to implement the blockade or the visit and search or whatever...
Mr. Bacon: I think they hope to do it by this week. My understanding is the EU embargo goes into effect on Friday, is that correct? So I would expect that they'd try to synchronize what they're doing with the EU action. Also the new U.S. regulations will be, should be in effect this week. I think everything's supposed to come together with the EU embargo, so there will be a unified approach to this problem. That's, of course, what the heads of state agreed to do at the Summit over the weekend.
Q: Are there any signs that Milosevic is starting to crack? Do you read anything, for instance, into these statements by the deputy foreign minister or, for instance, the sudden compliance with the Geneva Convention regarding the POWs? Do you read anything into these, that Milosevic might be feeling the pressure of this campaign?
Mr. Bacon: I think that certainly his country and his economy [are] beginning to feel the pressure of the campaign quite dramatically. How this affects President Milosevic's calculus about what he should do next, I don't know.
It's clear that he, as General Clark said, has miscalculated in a number of ways, and the principal way he's miscalculated [is] on the will of NATO to carry out a devastating campaign over a long period of time in order to secure its military goals.
I think that if he doesn't realize what's happening to his country, he's not paying attention to reports he's getting, or he's not getting reports about the damage that his country and his military [are] receiving every night and every day now.
Q: Are there an adequate number of ships in the region to conduct an embargo, or is that going to require more ships?
Mr. Bacon: I think there are about 30 ships in the area now, and what's important to realize about a visit and search regime and an embargo is that it doesn't require that every ship be boarded. A lot of these ships can report as they leave ports as to what they have. Ships are boarded selectively. Ships can be examined, or their bills of lading can be examined at various stages, and then they're tracked. If a ship says it's not going to Montenegro, there's no reason to board it. But it can be followed, and if it suddenly veers toward Montenegro, then it might have to be visited.
But one of the parts of what General Clark is doing is deciding the statement of requirements. That is how many ships would he need to enforce this. A number of, several of the countries in NATO on Friday at the Defense Ministers meeting said that they would be willing to put up more ships to enforce a visit and search regime, so I think he'll clearly be able to get the ships he needs.
Q: Tankers are very obvious by their silhouette, obviously; and if tankers are stopped, even NATO tankers such as flying a Greek flag or something else, and it's found that they have say diesel oil or oil that can be used militarily, I would assume they would be turned around or stopped. But what about general, like heating oil and things like that? Will all petroleum products be stopped?
Mr. Bacon: I can't answer that question. That's a legal question, and I think we need to look at the terms of the EU embargo, and I'll take the question.
Q: Can I do one more, then, that maybe you can answer. It seems to me there's been a shift in strategy here vis-a-vis the tanks. It's been very difficult to take out the tanks in Kosovo for reasons we're all well aware of. But it now seems from what we hear from Brussels and from what we see, that the air campaign now focuses on hitting at the fuel oil, the diesel for the tanks and the ammunition depots, so that in a sense, they will become huge monoliths just sitting there. Is that true? Has that changed at all?
Mr. Bacon: Ivan, from the first day of the campaign, we've been hitting at ammo dumps and other supply concentrations including oil, so this is something we've been doing for...
Mr. Bacon: Well, we've always been attacking from several different directions. We are attacking the fuel and supplies needed to sustain the military force on the one hand, and we're also attacking the forces on the ground. The principal impediment so far to attacking the forces on the ground has been weather. When the weather clears up, we can get many more of these forces on the ground. We've also attacked headquarters and depots and storage areas as aggressively as possible to get forces that may still be there, but many are dispersed, so we have to go after these forces in relatively small numbers.
Q: Has an arrangement been worked out to base NATO planes in Hungary?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Q: Can you give us any details about what kind of planes? Will there be support planes there, or will there be strike planes?
Mr. Bacon: The defense minister of Hungary announced today that NATO tankers will be stationed at an airport in Budapest.
Q: Secretary Cohen said this morning that Clark still needed to send a detailed analysis of what 300 planes he wanted and how they would be used. I've been under the impression that the Joint Staff has already been chopping on that and that any second now they're going to approve these 300 planes. What's going on? It sounds like--is NATO organized?
Mr. Bacon: Yeah. NATO is organized. This is a complex issue because it does involve working out basing arrangements. I think that you can see from what you've read in the press that Bulgaria has allowed NATO planes to use its airspace; Hungary has announced that it's allowing NATO tankers to fly out of a former military airport in Budapest; that we are working aggressively to find places to base and ways to employ these planes.
The 30 tankers that Secretary Cohen deployed yesterday in response to General Clark's request are designed to allow the allied forces to fly 24 hours a day with the current planes they have based in the current locations. The list of targets will broaden, and the area of approaches into Yugoslavia will also broaden. As that happens, there will be a need for more planes and even more tankers beyond what we have now, so we can continue 24-hour-a-day operations against a broader list of targets being attacked from different directions.
Q: So is that liberalization of the battlefield that has slowed the detailed analysis of what planes are required? Is that true?
Mr. Bacon: The main thing is we have to work out basing arrangements for the planes, and that's been going on. And then the second is there's always refinement up until the last minute of exactly what the strike and support packages are. That depends in part on how far away they are from their ultimate strikes, from their ultimate targets. So all that's in the process of being worked out.
Q: Are the 30 tankers going, that you announced, are some or all of those going to Hungary?
Mr. Bacon: I believe that some are going to Hungary.
Q: And the rest are going to existing bases?
Mr. Bacon: They'll probably bed down in existing locations, yeah.
Q: Ken, how long will it take to get the fuel stocks in for the tankers?
Mr. Bacon: That's a good question. I don't know. I assume we'll be able to do it. They're flying out of an airport that must get fuel. But we'll try to get an answer to that question.
Q: Another point on what I asked General Wald. Ken, are there any other places, any other countries that are supplying refined products to Serbia at this time? And the second part is, if Bar, the port of Bar is the primary point of entry, how about when the petroleum products are offloaded, those road systems, whatever transportation systems would be used to haul the stuff from the railhead, is that, can that be shut down or has it been shut down, or do you know?
Mr. Bacon: Yes, it is being shut down, and it will continue to be shut down, but we're aiming primarily at lines of communications outside of Montenegro. It's where the roads, rail lines, whatever go from Montenegro, to Serbia, that's where we've been attacking and that's where we'll continue to attack. So it's a two-part program. One is to prevent oil from getting into Montenegro; and two is to prevent oil that's already there from getting out of Montenegro into Serbia.
Q: And there's no other place that petroleum, refined products are coming into Serbia?
Mr. Bacon: I hesitate to say there's no other place, but we've worked aggressively to shut down the supply.
I've been trying for a couple of days to get a Yugoslav oil expert down here to answer all these questions, and he can give you answers in terms of metric tons or barrels or gallons or liters and completely befuddle you as to what's happening with the Yugoslav oil supply.
Q: Tankers are going into Hungary. Could they possibly be the thin edge of the wedge? In other words, after this you might get strike aircraft there because, of course, the shorter you have to fly the fewer tankers you're going to need, so would it not make sense, if the bases aren't too primitive, of going from the tankers to strike aircraft being based...
Mr. Bacon: It's an interesting analysis, but I think I'll let the future speak for itself.
Q: There are no plans to do the upgrade for fighter airplanes?
Mr. Bacon: We'll just wait and see what happens.
Q: Ken, four or five weeks into the campaign, do we have any sense of how many precision-guided weapons have been dropped to date? Even rough order numbers? We know how many sorties have been flown roughly, but can you get that or...
Mr. Bacon: I'll take the question.
Q: I asked General Wald earlier, but I just wonder, do you have any indication of what, at this point, the preliminary cause of this Apache helicopter accident...
Mr. Bacon: I do not.
Q: There's no indication whether it was a malfunction or whether it hit a tree or...
Mr. Bacon: No, I don't even really ask these questions because I find that you never really know until the investigation's over, if then.
Press: Thank you.