NATO Expands Target List, Reserve Call-up Near
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 23, 1999 NATO has expanded its target list in Yugoslavia to electric power transformers supplying command and control centers near Belgrade, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said April 23.
Bacon said Allied Force pilots knocked out transformers serving civilian users and command and control facilities. They also struck Radio/Television-Serbia -- propaganda centerpiece of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The network was off the air six hours. Asked if NATO would strike again, Bacon answered, "Stay tuned."
Bacon said pilot reports indicate hits on a number of artillery pieces that were firing into Albania and on a number of military vehicles and a mobile command post along the Kosovo-Macedonia border. NATO pilots flew 434 sorties and hit 17 targets April 22.
The expanded target list sends Milosevic two messages, Bacon said. First, NATO is united and will pursue the air campaign. "There is no sanctuary for murderers anywhere in Yugoslavia," he said. The second message is that Milosevic can stop the allied attacks when he decides to stop the killing and depopulation in Kosovo and agree to a NATO-led peacekeeping force in the province.
Bacon said the U.S. reserve call-up is tied to the 300 additional U.S. aircraft recently requested by NATO commander U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark. Where the planes will be based dictates the number of reservists needed.
"If they could all go to Aviano [Air Base, Italy], where they have force protection in place, where they have support facilities and other facilities, we would know how many [reservists] are needed," Bacon said. Call-up decisions are near, he remarked.
Bacon said the United States and its NATO allies remain committed to the air campaign. NATO planners will, however, look at a previous assessment of troops and assets needed to enter Kosovo in both "permissive" and "nonpermissive" environments.
The reassessment is needed because of the changes in Kosovo since the peace talks in Rambouillet, France, broke down in mid- March, he said. The Serbs have destroyed much of the provincial infrastructure, including more than 32,000 buildings in 550 villages -- more than a third of that damage has occurred since the peace talks dissolved, he said.