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Transcript : DoD News Briefing : Tuesday, January 2, 1996, 1:30 p.m.

Presenters: Lt. Gen. Howell M. Estes, Director, Operations Directorate, J-3
January 02, 1996 1:30 PM EDT
(Also participating in this briefing was Captain Michael Doubleday, DATSD PA.)

Capt. Doubleday: To start off the new year, General Estes the director for operations on the Joint Staff has agreed to give us an update on the operational situation and after that briefing and after General Estes answers a few of your questions, I'll stay behind and try and see what else is on your mind. General Estes.

Gen. Estes: Well, Happy New Year.

Press: Happy New Year.

Gen. Estes: What I'll do here is just talk a few minutes about some of the things that have happened since I talked to you last, about five or six days ago. The big issue is the bridge, of course. It's no news that the bridge is up. It's probably the best covered event of that kind in history. I don't think we've had any better coverage, other than live coverage on the scene, so you all and the people at home have seen plenty of coverage on the bridge going up itself.

I do want to come back to that, but before I talk to the bridge there's some specifics that I think are important to talk about. I'm trying to put in perspective what's going on now, where we are in this overall effort of moving U.S. forces into Bosnia-Herzegovina. If I can have the first slide, please.

Again, this is a slide you should be becoming familiar with. I've shown it a number of times. Basically, the time period runs across the top here. Major events including the establishment of our initial supporting forces, the signing of the overall agreement in Paris, I've established what they call G-Day or the start of the flow. D-Day is the day that the NATO forces took command of the theater from the U.N. forces, and we're sitting out here at the 2nd of January.

The time out here in which the monitoring of the zone of separation, which is the separation of both warring parties on either side of a cease-fire line, is to occur in accordance with the Dayton Agreement on the 19th of January. And this is the date that's so important to us in terms of having sufficient force in the theater to be able to carry out this task in the U.S. sector.

What we show you down here on the bottom are the various major units that are deploying in -- the enabling force which was primarily communications and some support forces, some intelligence forces. Some additional support force for the U.S. support in Hungary is shown here. This was the initial entry with security and command posts into Tuzla itself. And then the bridging units shown here, the aviation brigade which is one of the major brigades of the 1st Armored Division. The two mechanized brigades themselves. These are the primary elements of the ground force that will do the tasks required out here on the 19th, and then the sustainment for those forces. The color scheme, again, everything on the right of the line here is in blue, depicting that's what the plan is. Everything to the left is history. It shows whether we thought it was on time if it was in green; minor delays in yellow; and critical delays in red.

 

So to bring you up to speed on where we are, obviously, these forces are all in as we talked last week. The bridging unit obviously is there, and the first bridge went up on schedule. We said it would be up on the 30th or the 31st. It was, in fact, up on that date and forces started to flow. What you see here depicted is a slight amount of yellow again as of today, this has to do with the second bridge going in, and when I get to talking about the bridge, I'll talk about this in a little bit more detail, as to what's happening here with the bridging units that are going in now.

The aviation flow, as you can see, the brigade itself is virtually deployed. One hundred and fourteen helicopters are in place in either Taszar or in Tuzla, which is where they were scheduled to be deployed to. We will eventually move most of those helicopters, or a good portion of them, forward from Tazar into the U.S. sector but, in fact, the brigade initial deployment, as of this time, was into the sectors where we have them. We have two more helicopters to go. They are, in fact, enroute as we speak, and we will have closed out this first aviation brigade.

One piece you don't see on the slide here is another increment of helicopters that are scheduled to come. They are observation helicopters called an OH-58. These are the helicopters that will be flown to do a lot of the monitoring of the area in which the U.S. is responsible. They are observation helicopters. They have all the latest equipment on board that the U.S. Army has. They are scheduled to deploy an additional 16 of those helicopters. That was actually going to start out here at about this time period sometime after the sixth week. It's been moved up 10 days. The flow is going so well that we're going to -- the commanders in Europe have decided to speed up the flow of these 16 helicopters. So, you'll see all of the helicopters closing in a much earlier date than we planned.

Q: Where will they be, sir?

A: They're going to be in the U.S. sector as well. Initially, they'll deploy to Tazar in Hungary and then as the support for them arrives in Bosnia, they'll forward deploy from Tazar down into the Tuzla sector. But, that's a real good news story here, even with the weather problems we've had, the aviation brigade has deployed on time -- in fact, a little faster than we expected and we're going to move up this last piece of the helicopters that are going to flow in.

The first brigade -- again, these are the mechanized ground forces that you, in fact, have seen on television are actually flowing across the bridge now. The majority of this brigade is on the road now moving, on rail or road moving. Most of them have closed in to Kaposvarin and Hungary and many of them are sitting down at the bridging site in Camp Harmon that we talked about, which is the holding area short of the bridge as we build up force there to flow it across, in the order that General Nash would like his forces to flow in. So, all of that is on time from the first brigade.

The second brigade shows on time. This is primarilt a rail movement. They are loading out and moving the forces into Kapaswair and Hungary and they will, in fact, move on down after the 1st Armored Division moves in.

Now one thing that happened over the week, this past week, is we actually have sped up the flow of this second brigade. It was to follow the first brigade in. But we now, as of today, have the first company of the second brigade actually in Tuzla. It was airlifted in. And the plan is in the very near future to airlift the second company of the first battalion of this particular brigade in.

Q: Doesn't the delays of the bridge --

A: No, the plan was to get them on the ground there as quickly as possible. But that went so well, that we're going to go ahead and airlift in the second. We've got strategic lift capabilities to be able to do this. And so, they're going to go ahead and speed the flow up a little bit now from what was planned and so some of these forces from the second brigade, you're going to see them close sooner than expected.

Q: They are airlifting their tanks into Tuzla?

A: The tanks are not being airlifted. The tanks are coming by rail, but Bradley's are being airlifted. We airlifted the first 14 in. We're going to bring another group, another company of 14 in for a total of 28 Bradley's, and you will see that this is going to be important as we move down into the U.S. sector to the southwest. I'll describe that on the next slide here in just a minute as I finish discussing the general movement of forces here.

So, the story here is first brigade is on time moving into sectors coming across the bridge. The second brigade also appears on time, in fact, is a little ahead of time because of the initial elements of it are being airlifted into Tuzla.

The sustainment forces starting their deployment literally today or early tomorrow and this is the sustainment force for all of the combat elements of the 1st Armored Division. So, in a macro perspective, things are going very well in accordance with the plan that I showed you right from the start. The bridge actually went up on time. We had some minor delays here which I'll talk to in just a minute with the second bridge. But there will be no impact in a time period we're talking about here before that bridge goes up in terms of the flow of forces.

Remember, the second bridge was to start two-way traffic. Right now everything is going in. We've got one bridge up, and that's what's required. For sustainment as vehicles leave fuel behind, they need to go back and get another load up at Kaposvar in Hungary, they'll need the return flow from the second bridge. But that's not required at the moment but will be important to us a little later on. We expect this second bridge to be up by that time. But in terms of where we wanted to be, we've got a little -- we `ve got a little bit of a delay here and again, I'll describe it when we get to the last slide.

Let's talk a little about what these brigades are doing now in terms of where they're going and where they're flowing to. Let me have the second slide, please. Just to briefly give you the layout of where we are. This is the northeast corner, the U.S. sector of Bosnia that you see depicted in this sort of tan color. Here's the Sava River running along. This is the bridge crossing site. This would be Croatia here and Serbia off to the side here. The blue line is the inter-entity boundary line. In most areas, it's very close to the cease-fire line that were initially going to separate the forces along.

As you can see, that the first of the brigades of the 1st Armored Division is going to be going into this sector right here, and that's what you see going on right now. These folks are crossing the river. It started yesterday. A lot more of them crossed today and they are literally flowing into their sector to take up positions in the [inaudible] corridor which is what this area is right here.

I mentioned to you that some of the elements of the second brigade are in Tuzla and more are going to come. They are going to go into this sector to the southeast and south which right now is occupied by some Pakistanis forces, and the plan, if it works out, is that the Pakistani forces will move to another sector and the U.S. will fill in behind them. And if that flow works as the IFOR commander wants, he'll be able to use the Pakistani sooner if we can speed up the flow of this second brigade a little bit by moving some of it in by air. As I mentioned, 14 Bradley's of that second brigade are already in Tuzla. Another 14 soon to come.

You can see here. So, that's where we are right now in terms of what's happening. Across the bridging site here. This first brigade is moving into its sector here. We did have some initial elements move down this road and secure elements of the road that's been flowing down into Tuzla. That was the 1st of the 1st Cav. The first units you saw cross the bridge. But this first battalion force out of this, out of this brigade, the first brigade and the 1st Armored Division is flowing into sector here as I mentioned.

Russians, when they come here in a couple of weeks, will be in this sector. We already have, of course, the Nordic battalion is already here, but they're going to build to a brigade-size force. Their sector will be in this area, and the Turkish battalion will be down here in this general area and will cover this section of the cease-fire line. So, that's the general picture as we have it in terms of where we are in the flow and what the general deployment stance is as of this moment.

Let's go ahead and go to the next chart if we can. Let me talk a few minutes about the bridge itself and then I'll get to your questions.

General Estes: Let me talk a few minutes about the bridge itself, and then I'll get to your questions. Initially, let me just explain this chart a little bit. This is right down on the bridging site itself. Here's the Sava River. It's in dark blue. What you see in the light blue is the flood plain on either side that occurred when the river rose dramatically. Normally, at this time of the year it's 14 feet deep, at flood stage it's 28. Right now it's up to 21 feet. So, it's a substantial increase, seven feet above where it would normally be this time of the year which is why you had these areas flood. Initially, the bridge -- there was a road along here -- the bridge was going to go from here to here, and that's the 310 meters that you heard me talk about, or about 1,000 feet. What's actually happened is because of the flood plain filling in on both sides, we had to do some gravel fill here, gravel here on this small little bit of raised land, and gravel fill here, and this is what we had to span here and here. Just about doubled the size of what the plan was -- we went from 310 meters to 620 meters. That's in the neighborhood of 2,000 feet, which is about double what I told you about two weeks ago. And to put it perspective, this bridge is longer than the Brooklyn Bridge. People have a good feel for what that looks like, especially those up around New York. This is a very, very large bridging operation.

Now, I mentioned to you that the bridging for the second bridge was slightly delayed. Because so much bridging had to be used to complete the first bridge, we've got to bring more bridging sections from Germany, and so that is underway now. Those bridging sections are being loaded and will be soon be moving into Zupania and then be brought down to the bridging site itself. The second bridge is going -- this is the permanent bridge right here, and you can see that across the river, the span is dropped. The plan is to run the second bridge on the other side, probably about the same distance as the first, but on the other side of the permanent bridging structure you see here. And so it will go in starting here in the next couple of weeks. Actually will be in within a couple of weeks, but that's a little later than we had planned on it being up, still well within the ballpark. The commanders see no operational impact from the standpoint of this bridge being capable of sustaining the flow of forces into Bosnia. They are required to meet the dates for completion for the IFOR task I described earlier.

Just a couple of other facts here. I think this is unprecedented. You recall the pictures that you saw -- the visual pictures of the river as they were putting in the sections of the bridge into the river and starting to marry them up. They were lifted from the flood plain level where many of them, where by helicopter and carried here. That allowed the engineers to continue working on preparation in these locations without having the trucks carrying these bridging sections backing up into this area and dumping them into the river. So, this is the first time this has ever been done, and it's really accounts in large part for why the bridge went up on time. Tremendous imagination, ingenuity used by the 502nd Engineering Company and the folks that were there working with them and putting this bridge up. The helicopter pilots that flew the CH-47s actually came up and picked these bridging sections up, dropped them here and then the folks operating the small boats that were, in fact, moving the bridging sections around, constructed the bridge.

One thing that you may hear is the bridge is open from time to time. That's a normal operation to allow things that have accumulated -- as the river flows down river, the water does, debris will build up on the bridge. They'll either clear that once in awhile, and they have a barge that's going down the river from time to time, and so you may hear that the bridge is being open from time to time, and that's true. Every night we'll open the bridge allowing debris to go by and any other things that need to pass down the river.

The operation right now is a daylight operation. We're not crossing the river at night. There's no requirement to do that. Safety is paramount. We've had in the construction of this bridge, to the best of my knowledge standing here today, we've had no injuries putting this bridge up. And considering the tremendous feat that it was to get it done, and the timing that was described to you all earlier, and the size of the bridge now, it's a tremendous accomplishment, a great tribute to the soldiers out there that made all that happen.

So, a real success story from where we stand here, and as we watched this overall operation, it's been a tough operation. Nobody will say it was easy. You've talked to many of the soldiers there that have described it, and they are very proud of their accomplishment, as they well should be.

About 1,000 tons of gravel so far to lay the approaches from Harmon down to the bridge. About three-quarters of that 1,000 tons were actually used to do the preparation here on those three locations, and the road network that comes in right in here from Harmon, which is the large staging area to the wharf on the Croatian side.

Again, lots of dump trucks -- I've described to you earlier about 40 dump trucks, 35 bulldozers. It takes that kind of effort to be able to make something like this happen in the time period that it did.

Okay. Let's go ahead and take that down and with that, I'll see if you all have any questions.

Q: How many forces, U.S., are already in Bosnia and how many will be there by the 19th?

A: Right now, we're in the neighborhood of 3,500 soldiers and airmen, Marines and in some cases a few sailors who are actually in Bosnia now as part of this overall operation. This just counts the U.S. people that are coming in specifically, not in NATO hats. There are obviously other Americans there that are filling NATO billets in the ground commander's staff and in Admiral Smith's staff, in the IFOR staff that's in Sarajevo. So, we're up to about 3,500. You're going to rapidly see that number climb now as forces flow across the bridge and as the combat power flows down from the U.S. support base up in Kaposvar down to the bridge site across. There will be a continuous flow now and so these numbers will rapidly increase.

How many will be there on the 19th? I can't tell you the exact number, but I can tell you that the plan is on schedule to get the number required there to do the tasks that must be done, and that's General Nash's call. He knows what he has to do and where he has to position people. But you can see from the slide that the majority of the combat force is going to be there. You've got to have most of the aviation brigade in place obviously. Most of the first and second brigades will be there, the mechanized brigades, and it's the sustainment piece that you see that arrives sometime by the early part of February, based on the plan, and that all is going according to schedule. I see nothing at this point that says they are not going to meet the timing. I mean, we really have watched this thing carefully. We talk to them everyday and they see absolutely no problem getting the right force there for General Nash by the 19th. As I get closer to it, I'll be able to give you the definition of exactly, you know, within 1,000, about how many people that is. I'd give you a bad number if I gave it to you because I'm not -- General Nash is still looking at his sector, deciding how many forces he needs to have, and he's going to call them forward at the rate necessary to be able to assure that he has sufficient force there by the 19th. The plan, as I said, is to flow most of the first and second brigades in by that time.

Q: Well, up to now we've been told that the plan called for roughly half the force to be there on the 19th. Are you confident you'll have roughly half the force there?

A: You'll certainly have the bulk of the combat force, and that's going to be roughly half, maybe a little more than that, and again, I don't want to give you the specific number, except to say what I'm concerned with is that sufficient force be there for General Nash to do what he has to do. And the answer to that is yes, based on everything we see, there's no reason why he shouldn't have sufficient force, plus by the time he needs it on the 19th.

Q: General, what does the intel say about the former warring factions? There seems to be a deafening silence by all parties involved over there except for firing off guns in the air. Well, is this reduced?

A: Tremendous. That's exactly what we'd like to happen and, in fact, we've gone back and looked at all of the pieces of the agreement that we're suppose to be completed by this time. We not only see them completed, but those that are due completion in the future, we see substantial movement to complete those tasks, such as the separation of forces. There are areas in which separation of forces has already started on both sides and yet, IFOR is not fully in place yet in any sector. So, this is -- I think it's very encouraging based on what we see so far.

Q: A follow-up. Does intelligence show any forms of any rogue elements gearing up or [inaudible] anywhere else?

A: I can't tell you that's not going on. I can tell you we have no reports of that. We have seen nothing to indicate that there is a substantial threat or even a threat of rogue elements at this point to any of the IFOR. But as we described early on, you can't rule that out. I mean, you know, there are -- there is a possibility this will happen. I'm not trying to have a self-fulfilling prophecy here. We hope it doesn't happen. But we've got to be realistic about this. There are bound to be some people somewhere in Bosnia that aren't totally in agreement with what their governments may have done, and we hope it's a minimum, and we hope they don't take violent action in response to -- in response to their personal beliefs.

Q: What's the status of the construction of 13 some odd base camps that will be done and what will be the concept of operations for those? And secondly, have you had any requests from the Russians yet for any logistical support and what's that status?

A: Well, let me answer the second one first, and that is have we gotten any requests for logistical support? The Russians are going to be self-supporting. I mean, that's the plan. That's what they've said they wanted to do, and we fully expect that to happen. There's obviously, in our sector, support from an intelligence standpoint and things of that kind that you're going to give to everybody that's in the sector, to be sure everybody has the same view of things. But you're talking, I think when you say support, you're talking about tents, food, and things of that kind. They are going to be self-sustaining. That's the plan and with their initial group that came in, with their forward liaison group that came in about a week ago to talk to General Nash, that's what they committed to do. So, we'll see where that ends up, but that's the plan.

Now in terms of the base camps, 13 base camps is right. Two base camps are already in construction, and we looked at this morning and they're on time. They are right where they are suppose to be for construction. There are a number more to go. There are some things that have to happen before those base camps will go up and it's going to be a challenge to get all those places built as this force flows in. Again, I'm not going to kid you by saying this is going to be easy. But, we are committed to providing the proper shelter as I've described to you; the proper conditions for field conditions for these soldiers as they get there. They've had a tough time coming down with the conditions they've faced so far as they flow in, we need to do everything we can and again, this is a commander's responsibility to try to take care of his troops. We're doing everything they can to make sure that happens. But, 13 base camps, being built for the number of people that are coming is a substantial number of base camps and it's going to take a concerted effort to make sure all this happens on time. But right now, as of this morning, we're supposed to have two under construction, and two are, in fact, going up and on schedule.

Q: How concerned are you about the much slower pace of the program for civilian reconstruction of the country?

A: Well, I would -- again, this is not an issue appropriate for me to address. It really is from a U.S. standpoint my counterpart at state for these kinds of things would be Bob Gullicie [ph] who is looking at this from the U.S. standpoint, and he would be a better one to ask this question.

But, I would simply say that in terms of where we've been in other operations, Haiti or anywhere else, we've already had significant progress in terms of the meetings that have been taking place and the structure that has been set up almost in parallel with the military piece. And so I think, you know, again, we've got to get in there as we said initially with the IFOR and certainly in the U.S. sector and this again applies to all sectors to try to establish the kind of conditions that allow those sorts of other things, the civilian tasks to take place.

So, the tasks right now for us is to get in there and create those right conditions. But, I think you'd have to -- I'll have to refer the question, Jamie, to the folks over in the State Department.

Q: General, to follow-up.

A: Let me go over here first and then I'll come back to you.

Q: One of the issues this morning were these reports of these kidnappings. The Bosnian government is complaining that NATO is just letting this happen. The NATO response is that it's the civilian police force responsibility to investigate such things. How did that delineate between if you see it, you stop it versus going out and trying to patrol and prevent it?

A: Yes, you know, if you go back and look at the IFOR tasks, it's not an IFOR task. I mean, assuming it happened, and I don't know anymore about than you do. We've seen the same reports you have. But again, this is a function for the police to address. This is not an IFOR task. Now if, in fact, the IFOR watches a kidnapping going on, they're going to take steps to prevent it. I mean, that's part of the rules of engagement, assuming the commander has the right force there and can carry out the task. He's not going to get himself involved in something he can't carry out. Clearly, he has the authority to do that. But, it's up to the commander to make the decision based on the conditions and what's going on. It clearly is not an IFOR task though. But, it just makes sense that if something is happening and it appears to be something illegal, that you would take steps, if you have the wherewithal to do it, to prevent it from happening.

Q: [Inaudible] you had over in the airport in Belgrade. How heavily is that being used?

A: Well, we flew four C-17s in, as we've described, and we actually had the movement that I described to you, of the trucks called the HUMMWV. It's a light sized truck with military police on board that actually drove the route from Belgrade to Tuzla and it was uneventful, absolutely uneventful. So what we're doing now is the commander in Europe has a survey team in Serbia at this time, looking at those routes in more detail. The first group just literally drove the route. Now we've put back in people who are engineers to take a look at the road surface, to take a look at the bridges, to be sure that, in fact, we could support movement along those roads of whatever force may be required. So, it will be an alternate way we could get forces if, in fact, we decide to do that at a later date. But we've gotten great support from President Milosevic and his people and so we just don't see a problem with this, but we're out exploring other alternative roads that might be used in the future to help the support of U.S. forces.

Q: The second brigade is not going to come in through that route?

A: No, that doesn't mean anything. It just means that we're looking at all the alternatives. This opportunity has presented itself. It looks like a good opportunity. We might as well check it out and see what the possibilities are. That's what it means.

Q: A couple of quick ones. Going back to the forces that you have seen withdraw from the line of separation, have you seen any Bosnian-Serb forces pull back? Can you be any more specific? What about Mujahideen, what status can you give us on them? And have you done some adjustments to your soldiers gear or your routine because of the cold weather, additional boots, different kinds of rotations, etcetera?

A: Well back to the issue of have we seen any Serbs move back or what's going on with the Mujahideen, your first two questions. Again, I don't mean to skirt and not answer your questions. It's just improper for me as a U.S., member of the U.S. Armed Forces here in Washington to answer those kinds of questions. Those questions properly should be addressed to Admiral Smith, the IFOR commander, and so I'm just going to have to pass on it. He's the one in theater. He's the one that can make the proper assessment. But I would tell you from what I see in both those areas we've got good movement. I mean, it looks very favorable. But, you're going to have to go to him because he can tell you specifically what's happening.

In terms of the gear for soldiers, you've already seen reports of additional boots, socks, and things of that kind because that's where the problem is. We've been in the rain and the muck and you've to be sure to keep your feet dry or it creates a longer term problem. And so, there has been additional equipment brought forward to supply the soldiers with those kinds of things. There's also been great care in trying to ensure that we're checking soldiers more frequently that are out on guard posts and things like that, rotating them a little more often because of the conditions we have. It's cold. It's damp. I mean, it's easy to say standing here in this nice warm place that it's miserable. I can't begin to describe what those soldiers are going through, but we all have the same vision of what's it like and we've got to do everything we can. And I'll assure you that General Crouch, the U.S. Army Commander in Europe, General Abrams, the Corps Commander right down to General Nash, the Division Commander, are concerned with the welfare of those soldiers. They are doing everything they can to bring things forward to support them and ensure that they have what they need to endure the conditions they face. I'm coming back to you here.

Q: Just a couple of points of clarification. First, on the early movement of the second brigade by air, is that because of the delays or because of needing to put the Pakistanis out early or is it a combination? And the second question is, earlier you made a distinction between U.S. forces in the U.S. sector versus U.S. forces in so-called NATO billets. What does the 20,000 troop number refer to? Is it those troops or --

A: Yes. The 20,000 refers -- let me answer that part first. The 20,000 refers to U.S. soldiers in Bosnia that have been deployed to accomplish this mission. It doesn't count the people that are off in NATO billets of which I can't give. It's not a large number, but there are some there. The approximately 20,000 wasn't meant to address the people in NATO billets and the IFOR staff for Admiral Smith and in the ground commanders staff for General Walker. But all of the special operations and so we're -- I mean, we're probably talking less than 500 of those anyway. So, are we approximately 20,000? If you want to throw it in and say it's approximately 20,000, that's fine. But I will tell you that you are asking me a specific question. I'm giving you a specific answer. OK. And the second part of the question was?

Q: Oh, the movement of the --

A: The early movement. Yes. Again, the opportunity has presented itself. We have excess strategic lift. A lot of strategic lift was brought in to handle the initial flow of forces. The train movement initially, as you know, started up a little slower but is going so well now that we literally are moving everything by radio and we have excess strategic lift. We have an opportunity to get some forces in earlier than was planned. This can only help the situation since we have the capability to move them and so we are availing ourselves of that excess capability.

What part does the Pakistani piece play? Clearly, it allows other movements to take place in the theater assuming that the movement of the Pakistanis works out in accordance with Admiral Smith's plan and they are, in fact, a part of IFOR, it allows them to move sooner. And so it's just a vehicle of speeding up the whole flow of things and allowing things to happen a little sooner. It's not a critical thing, but it's something that's possible. It's doable and so, the capability is there, why not use it. So, that's where we are.

Q: Just a little bit more about the base camps, general. Who is building them, SeaBees, Army engineers, civilian construction workers, a combination and what are you building [inaudible]?

A: What we've put up initially are tents with wooden floors as we described. There are some modular buildings coming at a later date that will flow in certain places, but the vast majority of these base camps are going to be the standard tent that you've seen with wooden floors and heat in them and lights as we described when we talked about this maybe two or three weeks ago. So, that's the kind of camp that's being built. Who's building them? You've got SeaBees doing work at Camp Harmon in Croatia. They've also done the work, a lot of the work up at Kapovsar which is the primary U.S. support base in Hungary. You've got U.S. Force Red Horse people building the camps at Tuzla and you're going to have soldiers building many of the camps too when we get into building all 13 of the camps. So, to answer your question, it's a combination of virtually all of the services and the capabilities they have to put these base camps up. But, it's not just soldiers doing it. We've got Navy SeaBees and Air Force Red Horse helping out with this as well.

Q: Would it be comparable to bring up the subject of the withdrawal of the [inaudible] forces from the separation zone? Specifically, there was a report that 2,500 Bosnian troops, Bosnian and Muslim troops had left a particular area. In the area of the U.S. forces, in the Tuzla area, have any other troops been noted withdrawing from their positions? What can you tell us?

A: Well, we had this question earlier and again, it's a little -- it's improper for me to address what's happening operationally in the theater. It's an IFOR area of business. You really ought to go to the IFOR commanders that are there and ask them this question. They are the ones that are on the scene. My only comment would be we've seen favorable movement in all the things we've asked both sides to do in accordance with the asks that they are to complete based on the Dayton Agreement. Everything we've seen says it's really gone extremely well. And so clearly, there is movement going on. Where the movement is, who is that's moving, you're going to have to ask the IFOR commanders. It's only proper that they address that issue.

Q: So, in your opinion, is this on track for the 19th?

A: From everything I can see based on the reports that I've seen, it looks like it's going well.

Q: For the 19th deadline?

A: Yes. Let me take one more question if there is one.

 

Q: Has there been any action taken against Colonel Fontenot for his [inaudible]?

A: I got asked this question last time I was standing here and I will give you the same answer like it or not that I gave last time. Again, this -- Colonel Fontenot belongs to General Nash. He is a soldier under his command. It's up to General Nash to sort out the proper steps to determine whether the allegations are true and then to do what he deems as proper as his military commander. He's one of the brigade commanders under General Nash. When General Nash has completed looking into the issue, he will tell you what his decision is. It's not up to me as a member of the staff back here to even get into this issue. So, I'm not trying to skirt your question. It's just not proper. I'm not even involved in it. I know about the issue. You know about the issue. Let's let General Nash deal with people that are under his command.

Thank you. Press: Thank you.

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