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DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
March 23, 1999 1:45 PM EDT

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome.

Let me start with three announcements.

The first is that Secretary Cohen has approved the award of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal to qualifying servicemembers participating in direct support of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR or Operation JOINT GUARD in Bosnia. This is done pursuant to a law passed by Congress last year as part of the Defense Authorization Act. It was also done on the recommendation of the Chairman.

Second, I'd like to welcome a group of students from Miami University in Ohio. Welcome. I know you've already met with the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Ralston, so I welcome you here today.

Finally, I have a change to announce in the Defense Reform Initiative organization, which I know you've all been following. This is part of the effort to institutionalize the Defense Reform Initiative that Secretary Cohen announced in the fall of 1998.

As you know, it's been run on a temporary basis by Admiral Bill Houley who, after a year of great success at this, has retired once again. He will be replaced by Stan Soloway, who is the current Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Reform. Now he will be the Defense Reform Initiative Director as well. So this is building a permanent home for the Defense Reform Initiative in the acquisition and technology division of the Pentagon.

With that, I will take your questions.

Q: Ken, how close are U.S. and NATO aircraft and missiles to launching raids against Serb targets? What kind of alert are the planes on? And are you moving extra F-15s in from elsewhere in Europe to join the force?

A: First of all, we are much closer to military action now than we were several hours ago. As you know, Ambassador Holbrooke has left Belgrade, and he's on his way to Brussels where he will brief the North Atlantic Council at NATO at 9:00 o'clock Brussels time this evening.

His talks ended unsuccessfully. It was the decision of President Clinton and our NATO allies to give Milosevic one more chance to settle this dispute peacefully, and he has not taken that chance.

We have said all along that if diplomacy fails, NATO is ready, able and prepared to act. And without getting into details as to timing or targets, Secretary General Solana now has that ability to make the decision, and he will make it at the appropriate time.

Q: What kind of alert are the planes on? Instant? They could move immediately on orders?

A: The planes, as General Clark said yesterday, can move within hours of being ordered to do so.

Q: How about moving in extra F-15s that you were contemplating?

A: First of all, we now have between 350 and 400 allied aircraft assembled, ready to participate in air strikes if that decision is made. Of those, somewhat less, close to 200 but a little less than 200, are American aircraft. I think we have a very significant air force ready to go right now. I don't anticipate that many more planes, if any more, will have to be moved in. I think that we've been ready for days, if not weeks, to launch...

Q: ...B-2s?

A: That is a possibility, and they will be called upon if the commanders think that's necessary.

Q: Ken, what can military strikes accomplish? Can they, for instance, force Milosevic to accept the peace agreement for Kosovo? And the second part to that is you've said many times you don't want to be an air force for the Kosovo Liberation Army. How do you avoid that in these kind of situations?

A: First of all right now what's happening is that the Yugoslav or Serb troops are slowly crushing their opposition, the Kosovar Liberation Army. That is happening systematically from the northern corner of the country. We believe they're moving south.

There are currently about 40,000 Serb army, so-called VJ forces, either in Kosovo or around Kosovo, [and] about 300 tanks, in fact more than 300 tanks, closer to 400 tanks. They have several hundred armored personnel carriers as well as several hundred artillery pieces. So this is a very substantial force that they have either in Kosovo or near Kosovo.

Although there is some opposition from the KLA, basically our information is that the Serb forces are moving in with considerable brutality at this time.

The primary goal of air strikes, should Secretary General Solana make that decision, would be to arrest the ability of the Serbs to brutally attack the Kosovar Albanians.

Remember, the Albanians have applied for peace. They have signed the Rambouillet agreement. They have agreed to end the fighting. They have agreed to a cease-fire, and they have agreed to certain -- to standing down their forces.

The Serbs have not agreed to that. They have rejected that agreement, and they have chosen aggression over peace.

The Albanians have chosen peace; the Serbs have chosen aggression. The primary goal of these strikes would be to stop, to stop the Serbs from continuing their attacks against the Albanians.

Q: It's a pretty low-tech force. When you talk about stopping them, I mean this isn't the same thing as taking out surface-to-air missiles. You're talking about troops and tanks. What is it really that this campaign will look like? Will it be bombs on soldiers' heads?

A: Well I'm not going to get into the details of the campaign, but I will tell you, first of all, that before -- that obviously we have to pay attention to the fairly substantial and redundant air defense system that Yugoslavia has built up over the years -- built up primarily with Soviet era equipment. Therefore, we will take very seriously the threat posed by this air defense system and do our best to suppress that as well as looking at other targets.

But getting into specifics is not something that's appropriate for me to do. I stated the general goal of what an air campaign would set out to do.

Q: Just so I understand your answer to your previous question, are you saying that you don't have to be overly concerned about giving too much aid to the Kosovar Albanians because essentially they're suffering such setbacks militarily that these air strikes won't be of consequence in terms of emboldening them, for instance, to go for independence?

A: I'm saying that it should be very clear who is responsible for this problem. It is President Milosevic and his army. They are the people who are responsible for refusing a peace agreement, for insisting on continued aggression, and for launching attacks against the KLA, which has chosen the peace agreement.

You asked me earlier what the goal of air strikes would be. The goal of air strikes would be to diminish or degrade the ability of the Serb forces from attacking the Kosovar Albanians.

Q: But it's not militarily achievable to force him to accept a peace agreement.

A: We have a military goal, which is to do the best we can to stop the Serbs from continuing their attacks against the Kosovar Albanians.

Obviously we have made a very significant investment in trying to avoid the use of force, in trying to settle this through diplomacy. That effort made by our allies and by us has failed. And because it's failed, we will have to now contemplate using force as a last resort. We have always said force was the last resort, but it's the only resort we've been left with at this stage after the lack of success by Ambassador Holbrooke, who tried very hard over a series of meetings to win a diplomatic solution to this. It has not worked.

Therefore, we hope that if military action is used, that at an appropriate point, and we hope relatively quickly, that the Serbs will realize they've made a mistake and that diplomacy would have been a better solution than the use of force. But so far they have not admitted that it's a mistake to use force to resolve this issue. They tend to look to force as the first solution rather than the last solution. We've always looked to force as the last solution here.

Q: Will the main focus of air action be in Kosovo, directed against those forces which are threatening the Albanian Kosovars the most? Will that be the main action? And can you tell me approximately how many troops, tanks, brigades or whatever has Serbia violated the October agreement now? How many are in Kosovo?

A: First of all, I'm not going to get into details. I've stated what the goal of military action would be and that goal is to stop the attacks.

In terms of violations - violations, without getting into specific numbers because I don't have them here, have been substantial. In terms of troops and forces, troops and tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers that the Serbs have moved into Kosovo in the last few weeks, the violations have been substantial.

Q: You can't speak about the...

A: I stated what the goal was before, and I think I'll...

Q: Ken, what are we seeing in terms of movement or dispersal of Serbian air defense assets and aircraft?

A: There is dispersion going on now of their air defense assets. The primary air defense weapons they have are SA-6 missiles, and those are mobile missiles. We're used to dealing with those in Iraq. They also have some SA-3 missiles, which can be moved but are much more difficult and cumbersome, time-consuming to move. They, of course, have about 2,000 air defense guns, anti-aircraft guns, that can be moved around. And they have a range of shoulder-fired missiles as well, which of course are for lower-altitude planes, but those are very easy to move and to conceal. So this is a significant, substantial air defense system and we are seeing dispersion.

Q: What about aircraft?

A: They have a relatively limited air force -- five, six, seven dozen fighter aircraft I would guess. There is some dispersion there as well.

Q: Talk to us about commitment of NATO ground troops in Kosovo or in addition to Bosnia...

A: From the U.S. standpoint we've made it very clear that we will not commit troops into Kosovo unless there is a peace agreement. We won't go into a fierce environment; we will only go into a permissive environment, and that policy by the U.S. has not changed.

There is a fairly significant NATO force in Macedonia now that has two major elements to it. One is about 2,600 European troops there to extract the verifiers and other NGOs out of Kosovo if necessary. Most of those have -- I think all the verifiers are out; the OSCE verifiers are out. We think most if not all of the NGOs are out, or they're on their way out now. They've been able to leave without opposition.

In addition, there's the beginning of what's called an enabling force that involves a large element of British troops, but there are some troops from other countries there, German troops, etc. These troops were sent in as the leading edge of what would have been a NATO peacekeeping force had Yugoslavia agreed to the Rambouillet agreement, but they did not. So those forces are now in Macedonia, and I don't anticipate that they'll be used in Kosovo until or unless there's a peace agreement.

Q: General Klaus Naumann said that the plan had changed to be a long, protracted air campaign rather than limited raids of 48 hours and then a pause while he reconsiders, the Serbs reconsider.

Why the change? And if it's going to be a long, protracted engagement, it would sound like the objective is more than just stop but to completely destroy the Serbian military.

A: Yesterday, as you know, NATO put out a statement announcing that it had given Secretary General Solana the ability to move forward and initiate a longer campaign if he needed to. This is something, obviously, that has been approached in steps, and initially he was given authority to go with the first step. Now he's been given authority to go beyond the first step. This is really to give the NATO forces the flexibility to carry out a coherent and seamless air campaign, if necessary, to achieve the military goals.

Q: Given the emphasis that you folks have been putting on the sophisticated air defenses, and of course we hope it doesn't happen, but if an American pilot is shot down and captured, do you consider him at that point a prisoner of war? And if so, is he supposed to live up to the Code of Conduct? And how would you go about getting him back from the Serbs?

A: Well, those are all good questions, and without going into details, we would certainly consider him a victim of aggression. We have significant assets prepositioned in the theater for getting pilots back. Obviously, our first effort would be along the lines of what we did to get Scott O'Grady back when his plane was shot down over Bosnia. We would hope that we would be able to get the pilot back to our own specially trained forces.

Beyond that, I don't think it's appropriate for me to get into details about what would happen.

Q: The Geneva Convention would apply, wouldn't it?

A: It certainly would apply.

Q: I've seen a lot of reports about concerns that Serb forces or Serb sympathizers might make some sort of attack on NATO forces in Bosnia or might cross the border into Macedonia. These are reported. Are there any specific or credible threats that you're aware of that such action might happen?

A: In short, no. But if they were to do that, it would be an extremely grave mistake.

Q: Could you just address whether you consider a downed pilot a prisoner of war?

A: I'm not a lawyer, and this is something that I have to look into further. I believe, as Pat said, the Geneva Convention would apply. Beyond that, I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment until I learn more about this.

Q: Ken, in the October agreement NATO and the former Yugoslavia exchanged officers, put officers in each other's air operations centers.

A: Right.

Q: Have those officers been withdrawn by both sides, either side?

A: If not, they will be very shortly. I believe that it may just have happened in the last several hours or it's about to happen. That certainly was one of the provisions that was to be made.

Q: Did you say yes?

A: Yes. Well, I believe they have been removed. But if they haven't, it will happen very soon.

Q: Ken, you said earlier that "we hope relatively quickly the Serbs will realize they've made a mistake and stop their aggression."

What is the game plan or the goal if the Serbs do not stop their aggression? If they continue to take hits as Saddam Hussein has, are we looking at a many months long campaign? Can you give us some window into your thinking?

A: As I said at the very beginning, I don't think it's appropriate for me to get into time tables or tactics or targets at this stage. But as General Clark has said, we have plans for a swift and severe air campaign that Secretary Solana, Secretary General Solana, now has the authority to start at the appropriate time. We believe that this will be a -- will be painful to the Serbs.

Q: Would you say that the goal is to diminish their ability to be offensive against the Kosovars? How diminished? What will the Serb forces look like when you guys say, okay, let's call off this air campaign? What is that degradation?

A: These are the types of details that...

Q: How will Milosevic know if I just do this, they'll stop bombing? What is it that you want him...

A: Milosevic knows the phone number of NATO, and he knows where to call when he wants the strikes to stop.

Q: Getting back to the KLA, is there a concern that if you do bomb the Serbs that extensively, they will move into the breach? And if they do, how will you folks react?

A: The goal here is to stop them from moving into the breach, obviously.

Q: You said that, but what if they do move into the breach?

A: We will respond aggressively. We will respond with air power.

Q: No, I'm talking about if the KLA moves into the breach.

A: Oh, the KLA, I'm sorry, the KLA moving into the breach.

The KLA, I think, wants to end this fighting. What they want to do is to have a cease-fire and to stop having the Serbs attack them, to shoot, stop having them shooting their fathers and their sons and killing their wives and daughters, and they want them to stop burning their villages and destroying their houses.

Q: You don't see any likelihood of them taking advantage of the situation on the ground?

A: I think there's going to be a period of considerable confusion after these air strikes begin, but I go back to the fact that the Kosovar Albanians have agreed to the peace agreement, and we would expect them to do their best to work to get the terms of the peace agreement in place.

Q: Ken, I want to go back to Jackie's question about what we're left with at the end of this campaign, however long the bombing is and whatever is accomplished. Assuming Milosevic doesn't give in at that point, is the United States then essentially going to be pursuing a policy of containment as the U.S. is in Iraq, containing Milosevic and preventing him from waging war against the Kosovar Albanians? What are we going to be left with at the end of this bombing if Milosevic doesn't capitulate?

A: I think you have to go back to the model here of what happened in Bosnia in 1985 [sic 1995]. After a series of massacres, NATO began bombing targets in Bosnia in 1985 [sic 1995] and bombed quite aggressively for a period of time, and ultimately both sides decided, but particularly the Serb side, decided that the Dayton Accord was a better option than continued bombing.

We have always tried to make a peaceful settlement the first step to ending this crisis. We still hope and expect that that will be the ultimate solution.

Q: Ken, the prime concerns at the moment are the troops inside and around Kosovo and the brutality towards the Kosovars.

In terms of bombing targets, is it fair game on targets in greater Serbia that might be military-related? Or is the bombing simply going to concentrate on the Kosovo area?

A: I'm not here to discuss targets.

Q: Two questions. The first one is about the air defense system. Can you, in terms of the risk to pilots -- can you use Iraq as some sort of baseline and talk about what the differences are, and is this a riskier mission for pilots and how, the terrain, that sort of thing?

My second question is, do you have any indications that there is any dissent within the Yugoslav army about, at this moment, about Milosevic's track and focus? Can you talk a little bit about that?

A: In terms of the air defense system, the primary advantages are that it is a very redundant system. It is well connected, well integrated with fiberoptic cables. The Yugoslav air defense forces are well trained, and they are well equipped, although their equipment is somewhat older equipment. And, of course, because Yugoslavia has been under economic sanctions for some time, it may not have been as well maintained as they would like. But we believe the system is in good shape.

The primary difference between Yugoslavia and Iraq, of course, is the terrain. And it is much trickier terrain. An easier terrain in which to hide air defense assets, but also a more difficult terrain through which to move air defense assets and to relocate and redeploy air defense assets. It's relatively easier to do that in Iraq than it is in Yugoslavia.

We've had a lot of experience against these weapons. We've had a lot of experience against the radars. But every country and every air defense system presents its own challenges, and we take those challenges very seriously.

In terms of the Yugoslav army, I'm not aware of internal divisions now about what path they should be taking. But back in the fall, it was quite clear that the army was reluctant to get involved in an anti-guerrilla campaign in Kosovo. And that's why for awhile -- one of the reasons why Milosevic depended on the special police forces, the so-called MUP, rather than on his army. The army was a relatively late arrival.

However, when they did arrive, they arrived in force, and they've continued to arrive in force. That's the problem.

Q: Is a change of regime one of the goals of this air strike?

A: I stated the goal in the beginning, and the goal at this point in the briefing is exactly what it was in the beginning of the briefing.

Q: Would you welcome a change in...

A: The goal of this military action, should it occur, is to prevent President Milosevic and his army from attacking the Kosovar Albanians.

Mr. Milosevic has caused a lot of trouble in the Balkans in the last ten years, and perhaps some of that trouble would be alleviated if he weren't there, but that's not the goal of this action. The goal is what I stated before.

Q: Ken, Azerbaijan said that it's holding a Russian transport plane on which there were five MiG jets bounds for Yugoslavia. Has the United States any independent proof of that?

And Primakov said in Ireland today that -- he denied, of course, that the Russians were providing such equipment to Yugoslavia, saying, "we haven't broken the embargo yet," as he put it.

First, has the United States any independent proof of the MiGs? And how would the United States view the Russians supplying more aircraft and other equipment to the Yugoslavs?

A: We do not have independent confirmation of the Russians shipping MiGs to Bosnia [sic, Yugoslavia], nor are we able to deny that that's happening. But we have no independent confirmation that it's happening. We have seen the Russian denial.

In terms of Prime Minister Primakov's statement, it's worrisome, clearly, that he would raise the possibility of violating the embargo. Russia is a member of the Security Council, one of the permanent members of the Security Council, and we would expect them to honor arms embargoes imposed by the U.N.

Q: If bombing occurs, people may look back in 1995 and say it seemed to work then, why couldn't it work now? Can you flesh out some of the major differences between the '95 campaign and what's anticipated now that -- what's some of the thinking?

A: I think I should leave that to pundits and area analysts to do that.

Q: Ken, the President went to some lengths today to explain to the American people why we were getting involved there. As this continues, what is going to be your policy on explaining what's going on? Are you going to have the J-2, J-3 in here to talk to us? Are you going to try to push this all off on NATO? What's going to be your information policy?

A: My anticipation is that if there is military action, at the appropriate times Secretary Cohen will be down here to discuss it, along with Chairman Shelton, and depending on the duration of the military action, I would suspect that there will be regular briefings at NATO and briefings as appropriate here.

Q: Will you be releasing the weapons systems video such as has not been released recently from Iraq?

A: That remains to be seen.

Q: You mentioned near the outset that we probably have enough aircraft in the area. Are any additional ships being dispatched? Any more Tomahawk shooters?

A: No, we have six U.S. Tomahawk shooters in the area now, and we think that's appropriate.

Q: Do they have plenty of Tomahawks on board? (Laughter)

Q: Ken, let me ask two questions. Number one, you said that the diplomatic effort had failed. Is that the absolute last diplomatic effort? Or is there a chance that Primakov coming to the U.S. -- they might apply pressure to Primakov to add more pressure on Milosevic?

And I have another question about the main overall objective.

A: I don't anticipate that there will be another diplomatic effort. I think that President Milosevic's tolerance for diplomacy is pretty clear. It's nil. So far diplomacy has failed. We've tried a number of different ways. We gave the Yugoslavs two chances to negotiate an agreement, to reach an agreement in Paris. They did not take those chances.

There have been a series of visitors to Belgrade over the last few months, including two sets yesterday. And Mr. Holbrooke, who started his discussions yesterday, continued them today. I don't see that there is room left for diplomacy.

Should a good faith diplomatic effort arise or diplomatic initiative be presented, obviously this is something that the allies would have to consider. But so far there's not a lot of hope that diplomacy can work, given the response so far.

Q: Going back to his question, that many lawmakers raise the point and some citizens are now starting to say, what can the United States say to those who would argue why should Americans be killed, and many people are now saying that there will be Americans coming back in body bags. Why should Americans be killed for what is essentially a civil war?

A: I think there are two reasons and the President explained them extremely well this afternoon. The first is that what happens in Europe, the stability of Europe, influences the stability and security of the United States. That's the lesson of the 20th Century. And just because we're nearing the end of this century doesn't mean that that lesson is any less forceful today than it was in the 1930s or it was in the second decade of this century.

The second is, of course, that there are compelling humanitarian reasons to prevent killing that seems to be fairly determined and systematic.

The third is that at the end of this century, NATO is an organization that has taken on itself the daunting task of trying to keep Europe stable and secure, and this is an important challenge to NATO, and we are an important member of NATO.

Q: There are three new members of NATO and they have air forces. Are they going to take part in this operation?

A: Right now they are not scheduled to take part in this. Remember, they've only been members of NATO for several weeks. Certainly, if there were a peacekeeping force put into Kosovo, I would anticipate that they would participate in that, just as they've participated in the implementation force, other forces in Bosnia.

Q: Ken, I know you've explained several times what the end game, what the goal is in air strikes, but how does that square with the mission that Richard Holbrooke laid out on Milosevic, which was to stop fighting, withdraw troops, and sign on to the peace agreement?

A: It squares extremely well. That would stop the violence in Kosovo. That's what our goal is.

Q: ...peace agreement. Isn't that in fact a goal of these air strikes to force Milosevic to sign onto the peace agreement?

A: Look. For air strikes to end, one way to end them, if people ask what would be a determination about ending these air strikes. One way President Milosevic could end the air strikes would be to say: "I've reconsidered. I think peace is a better option than force." So far he hasn't made that determination.

But the primary goal is a military goal. It's to use air power to interrupt and block, to the extent possible, the Yugoslav forces from continuing their attacks against the Kosovar Albanians.

Q: ...the Serb forces that are on the border that have a legitimate border patrolling and security, will those forces be left alone? And basically who will then enforce the law inside of Kosovo if the Serbs are fighting NATO? From the air, that is.

A: Law and order seems to be something that left Kosovo some time ago, I guess I'd say. I'm not going to get into specifics of what forces might be subject to attack if there's an air campaign.

Q: You mentioned Bosnia in 1985 [sic, 1995]. A lot of people who are critical to this idea point out that the Serbs were also losing the ground war at the time.

How confident is the Secretary that in fact air power can achieve the goal that you've just laid out?

A: There are always risks to the use of military force. I think we've been very direct in discussing the risks that we face. One, from the Serb air defense system; and I think, two, the fact that we always hope that diplomacy would solve this because force should be seen as a last result precisely because it does pose risks, not only to our forces, but particularly to the people in Kosovo and in Yugoslavia, although we will obviously try to be as precise as we can in the use of force.

But I think that we have set out a limited military goal, and we have arrayed to prosecute that goal a very large air force in Europe that is well trained and well led and well armed, and I think that the goal is achievable.

Q: Ken, you've refused to say what the strikes would include. Would you rule out that these strikes would include infrastructure such as the electrical grid, bridges, that kind of thing? Would you rule -- as opposed to strictly military targets.

A: Charlie, I'm not going to rule in or out any specific targets.

Q: Ken, what will you say to those who comment that this sets kind of a dangerous precedent? You have a sovereign country dealing with an internal problem, and NATO is interfering in it without having been asked by the sovereign country to do so.

A: This is a -- we did not seek to use force to solve this problem. We have, quite the opposite, sought every alternative to force and been rejected time after time by the Yugoslavians.

This is a country that has led to a cancer of instability throughout the Balkans really now for seven or eight years. Europe is tired of this. The countries around Yugoslavia feel threatened by what's going on there. And it's something that is disturbing to all the NATO allies.

Q: Has time run out for Milosevic, or can he reconsider and call off the bombing up until the first bomb falls? In other words is there a point of no return we're approaching or we've reached? Or has he still got time to call this off?

A: I'd say the train has pretty much left the station here. He's shown no willingness to do anything that's required to call off or avoid military action.

Q: ... considered it's too late for him?

A: As I said to an earlier question, we have always hoped to avoid the use of force, and if there is a legitimate possibility that this could happen, clearly we and the allies would consider it. But the question is, how many chances do you give somebody to make the right choice? He has rejected every chance he's been given so far.

Q: When you say the train has left the station, that connotes to me that we're going to go and do this thing.

Q: Today.

A: I'm not going to -- as I said at the very beginning, I'm not going to talk about time tables.

Q: Ken, once the bombing were to start, and at some point Milosevic called up NATO, as you put it, since he has the phone number, and said I'm ready for a cease-fire, would that be sufficient to stop the bombing without him agreeing to sign a peace agreement?

A: I think that we've learned that Mr. Milosevic's agreement, from last October, wasn't worth very much. So this is something that's left to diplomats, not to spokesmen for the Pentagon, but my guess is that we would want something firmer than what we had back in October.

Q: Ken, the last couple of days there haven't been any strikes in Iraq. Is that because of a lack of provocation by Iraq, or because the United States is choosing not to respond because its attention is diverted by the Kosovo crisis?

A: I'm not aware that there have been any violations of the no-fly zone for the last several days.

Q: Do you read anything into that? Is Saddam Hussein backing off? Or is it too soon to make that kind of judgment?

A: I've tried to make it a career of not psychoanalyzing Saddam Hussein. So I think we'll just let the facts speak for themselves.

Q: Are any of the U.S. assets based in Turkey going to be involved in operations in Yugoslavia? Fighter planes or support planes?

A: There have been several EA-6Bs that have been moved from Incirlik to the Aviano theater.

Q: ...defensibility in Iraq?

A: We do have redundancy in both places, but as I said, I was asked the question, and several planes have been moved. There are still a lot of planes in Incirlik.

Q: You've made it clear that no ground forces will go in in any combat role. I just wanted to clarify, you also mentioned search and rescue forces would go into either Kosovo or Serbia proper if necessary to rescue downed pilots.

A: We have trained search and rescue teams that will go where they have to go to rescue pilots. We hope that won't be necessary, but we're prepared for the worst. I wouldn't call them combat forces. I would call them rescue forces.

Q: Ken, is there a certain amount of degradation that you have to accomplish to reach your objective? Do you have to reach a certain level before you look to Milosevic saying wait a minute, enough is enough, before you start getting into that kind of discussion of discussion of his military assets?

A: We've given him a diplomatic road map for ending this crisis time after time, and I think he knows what he has to do to avoid a crisis or to end military action after it begins.

Q: If I could follow up. When you say the objective is to stop him, is the stopping by something he may say, or is the stopping by destroying his military assets around Kosovo?

A: I think we're talking about a distinction without a difference to a certain extent. He will know how to stop military action should military action commence. We've made it very clear in our discussions what our goals are. Our goals are a cease-fire. Our goals are a pull back of his forces. Our goals are autonomy for the Kosovar Albanians. Those goals won't change simply because we've been forced to use military action as a way to protect the Kosovar Albanians. We hoped to protect them through a peace agreement. That hasn't worked.

Q: Do you have any round numbers at all for the numbers of SA-6, SA-3, SA-2 missiles that Yugoslavia has? Is there any way...

A: You can read the figure that's given in the International Institute for Strategic Studies. There are military balances about 60 systems. So I invite you to go and read the details there.

Q: Technology question in Bosnia. One way to mitigate the risk to U.S. pilots was using unmanned aerial vehicles, the Predator drone.

A: Uh huh.

Q: There have been some reports that Predators are flying over Kosovo now. Is that going to be one of the weapon systems employed?

A: We are using UAVs in that theater, yes. As weather permits.

Q: One last question on another topic. (inaudible)

A: I'd refer you to the Japanese government on that. We're aware of the incident, we're concerned about it. But it's really something for the Japanese government to respond to.

Q: Do you have any comment on U.S. (inaudible) cooperation to prevent such (inaudible)

A: We have made available some surveillance aircraft that have been involved in tracking the ships that apparently violated Japanese territorial waters. We obviously oppose the violation of territorial waters.

Q: (inaudible)

A: I do not. This is much more appropriate for the Japanese to answer than our government.

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