DoD News Briefing, Friday, June 4, 1999 - 2:05 p.m.
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: First, let me start with a brief but very serious announcement. As many of you know, Zachary Fisher died this morning in New York. He was a great patriot and a great friend of the military. One of the things that Zach Fisher has done is to endow a number of Zach Fisher houses around the country and around the world where military families can stay while soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines in their families are recuperating from injuries. He has also provided constant help in many, many important ways to families of military people who have been injured, frequently on the spur of the moment and with great generosity. So he will be severely missed.
There's a statement that Secretary Cohen put out earlier today, and I commend it to all of your attention.
Turning now to Kosovo, yesterday, I noted that it was a time for caution, not for celebration. I think that caution should continue today. We very much welcome what the Serb Parliament did yesterday, but so far we have not seen the withdrawal of one Serb soldier from Kosovo. And a series of very difficult discussions are underway to prepare the way for the next stages under what we hope will be a secure and verifiable peace agreement.
The most important is that there will be a meeting tomorrow, as NATO has already announced, between Serb military authorities and NATO military authorities to work out the schedule for a withdrawal. The general plan is that as we have verified firm evidence that withdrawal is underway, and after withdrawal has gone on for an appropriate period of time, the NATO forces will begin to move into Kosovo, if there is a verified and firm withdrawal.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/#SLIDES]
[Chart-Level of Effort-Day 72]
Until that happens, NATO will continue and is continuing its air operations. Last night, the last 24 hours, we hit a variety of targets that you can see. A total of 51 targets including 35 fielded forces. We concentrated almost entirely on military targets over the last 24 hours, as you can see.
Let me bring you up to date a little on what's happened.
We have flown a total of over 32,000 sorties, both combat and support sorties, over the last 73 days. And we have hit more than 400 fixed targets--I think more than 450 fixed targets--and about 450 forces in the field or targets of opportunity that we've seen and acquired on a day-to-day basis as we've concentrated on the forces on the ground in Kosovo.
[Chart-Operation SUSTAIN HOPE-Last 24 Hours]
Moving from that to the humanitarian situation, you can see briefly up here what's been happening. Air drops continued today. This many HDRs were delivered by the International Rescue Committee, and there's another air drop set for June 7th which is Monday.
Q: Weren't there supposed to be 8,000 a day?
Mr. Bacon: They're building up. As you know, they had a smaller number yesterday. It was about 100 because they had some drop problems. Now they've gone to 1,500, and they're in the process of building up. So I would expect larger numbers as time goes on, and--particularly as the air defenses stop operating--then it should be much easier for them to get in and increase the number of air drops.
Q: Why have they laid off between today and June 7th?
Mr. Bacon: You'll have to ask them that. This is being done by the International Rescue Committee, not by us. I think you can call them at the number we gave in New York a couple of days ago, and they'd answer that question.
Q: AID's footing the bill, aren't they?
Mr. Bacon: Yes, they are, but they are not arranging for the pilots and the planes. That's being done by the IRC, so they'd be the appropriate people to answer that question.
[Chart-Refugees in Theater]
Remember, the goal here is to get the IDPs home within Kosovo as soon as possible and the refugees back from other countries as soon as possible, so I wanted to give you sort of a baseline, reminding you where the refugees are.
The biggest numbers, obviously, are the IDPs within Kosovo itself. A big range, because we don't really know how many people are there, but you can see the range goes from 260,000 to 700,000. The next biggest group is in Albania, approximately 443,000. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, almost 250,000. But there are also big groups in Bosnia, in Montenegro, and then in other European countries. More than 100,000 we believe are spread out through Europe. So that gives you an idea of what the challenge is over the next several months, or year or so to get these people back.
[Chart-NATO Land Forces in Region]
Finally, you're all interested in how many NATO troops are already in the area, so I thought I'd give you this rundown. In Macedonia there are 15,500 approximately. You can see the country breakdown there.
In Albania or near Albania are this many. ALLIED HARBOUR, which is doing a variety of humanitarian operations, has most of these troops in Albania, but some of them are stationed nearby in support of what's going on in Albania. This includes 1,500 U.S. About half of these are on the ground in Albania, and about the other half are on the INCHON, which is supporting Operation ALLIED HARBOUR.
Then, of course, Task Force Hawk has approximately 4,700 American soldiers.
Finally, the 26th MEU, Marine Expeditionary Unit, is now at sea, steaming from the Adriatic into the Aegean, positioning itself to be the enabling force, in other words the lead element of the U.S. contribution to the peacekeeping force. At the appropriate time, they would land at Thessaloniki in Greece, take everything off the ships, and move into Skopje, Macedonia, positioning themselves to move into Kosovo at the appropriate time.
We anticipate that the USS KEARSARGE, the lead ship of the Amphibious Ready Group carrying this Marine Expeditionary Unit will be in this area in the next two days and ready to offload if necessary.
So with that, I will take your questions.
Q: Ken, late last week and earlier this week it was announced that 68 additional aircraft were being sent to the theater. Can you tell me what is the status of that now? Have some already gone? Are others on temporary hold?
Mr. Bacon: Yes. I'm glad you asked me that. Some of those aircraft are on hold. We did move some F-16s to Turkey, as you know, and we had planned to move 36 additional F-15s to Turkey. They were supposed to leave this weekend. They have been put on hold temporarily. There are already now over 700 U.S. aircraft participating in Operation ALLIED FORCE, and over 1,000 allied aircraft [NATO total with U.S. aircraft], and they will continue to participate.
I might point out, for instance, that strikes are ongoing today, and the early reports are from pilots -- these are unconfirmed by the intelligence analysts -- but the pilots report that they have struck more than two dozen tanks, armored personnel carriers, and pieces of artillery in Kosovo so far today.
Q: Are they being fired on today?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware--there was certainly anti-aircraft activity last night. I'm not aware that there has been any today, but I just don't know.
Q: Can you give us a better idea of what it is that Michael Jackson is going to be laying down for the Serbs? Is he asking them, "can you please get out?" Is he emphatically telling them, "here's what you're going to do. Here's the schedule. Here are the roads." Walk us through what you know.
Mr. Bacon: Sure. He will basically present a fairly detailed withdrawal schedule, and we will have benchmarks for meeting that schedule. At some appropriate time, NATO will, if the withdrawal begins--and I say it has not begun yet--but if the withdrawal begins, at some appropriate time, NATO will take a snapshot and look at the progress of the withdrawal, and gauge whether enough withdrawal has taken place to show seriousness on the part of the Serb forces, both the army and the special police as well as the paramilitary, [and] at that time, make a decision to suspend the bombing. But there will have to be some significant and verified withdrawal before NATO makes that decision.
Q: They will be [told] on certain routes as you are departing, these will be safe routes. This is the route we want you to go and we won't bomb you when...
Mr. Bacon: First of all, as Secretary Cohen said yesterday, we will do nothing to impede withdrawal.
Q:...how you go about it.
Mr. Bacon: Well, there are essentially three major routes that NATO has tried to leave open. The goal in leaving them open was to allow refugees to flow out safely along roads that had not been bombed and where the bridges had not been dropped. But of course the water now can flow the other way, and these roads will be appropriate avenues for the VJ, that is the Serb army, and the special police forces and the paramilitary forces to take out. These essentially, the roads that have been left undamaged, essentially are the road that runs from Pec to Pristina, which is here; the road that runs from Pristina down to Skopje, which is down here; and then the [Mr. Bacon is referring to a map of Kosovo here and below.] road that runs from Pristina through Prizren and then out this way into Albania. So these are the three routes that are largely unimpeded, largely unattacked over the last 73 days.
Now these happen to be relatively major roads, so it should be easy, relatively easy for them to move out on these roads. I can't tell you exactly how specific General Jackson's demands will be. The North Atlantic Council is meeting right now to come up with a clear plan that would be presented tomorrow.
Q: You want the anti-aircraft to go first, in the first 48 hours, according to the document that was published yesterday. Is that sort of the goal? And then within seven days all ground forces to be out?
Mr. Bacon: Well, the document printed yesterday said that all forces should be out in seven days. And you're absolutely right, it did say that the anti-aircraft should be out in 48 hours.
Now it's not just a question of getting out of Kosovo. They can't just nip across the border and sit here. There is going to be a mutual security zone of 25 kilometers that extends beyond the border of Kosovo. This is, they will have to have all forces, including anti-aircraft forces, beyond 25 kilometers of the border. This is to make it safer for NATO aircraft to continue flying throughout Kosovo, to verify the withdrawal without having a threat of attack from surface-to-air missiles, such as SA-6s. This would be outside the SA-6 range, generally. So this border here is designed to protect the NATO forces within Kosovo, including the air forces.
Q:...envisioned, Ken, that Russian peacekeepers may be operating in that buffer zone along...
Mr. Bacon: I think that we have to--there are still details on Russian participation to be worked out, but we hope the Russians will participate. They certainly have played an absolutely crucial role in getting us to this point so far. They have shown a firm commitment to winning a peace agreement and have been, as I say, central to doing that all the way along.
But where exactly they will serve or how still has to be worked out. It ultimately will be up to them. We do hope they'll be a part of the force, just as they're part of the stabilization force in Bosnia.
Q: You mentioned the benchmarks for the withdrawal that NATO would be watching. What are those benchmarks? Is it numerical, or how many troops have left...
Mr. Bacon: I think we'll make the presentation to the Serb military first before publicizing it, but in general concept the withdrawal will move from west to east. It will take place in a series of phases that will be laid out. So the flow will be out this way.
Some of the--there is still fighting going on in Kosovo. Over the last 24 hours, there have been Serb counter-insurgency operations against Kosovar liberation forces in places like Malisevo, in Suva Reka, which is here, and in Prizren which is right here. And in addition, there's still a fair amount of fighting going on in the Mount Pastrik area right along the border where the Serbs have been trying to dislodge the KLA forces, preventing them from moving in, and have failed to do that so far, although the KLA forces do remain pinned along the border, but they have not dislodged them from Kosovo yet.
Q: Ken, two questions along the line of these details. Do you have any idea, if the meeting is successful tomorrow, when the first troops will start moving? And again, to try and pin this down a little bit, how much of those forces have to be on the move before NATO stops the bombing?
Mr. Bacon: I think that those details will be worked out by NATO. They're still being discussed, and they'll be worked out tomorrow, but this will have to be something for NATO to decide. There will have to be significant and verified withdrawal before NATO stops the bombing. We've made that very clear to the Serbs in all our discussions with them, and that will be made clear again tomorrow in the meeting.
Q: Have you been in contact with the KLA to try to ensure that there's no harassment of Serb troops, hit and run attacks, as they are withdrawing?
Mr. Bacon: The Serb troops are able to move much faster than the KLA because they're motorized to a much greater extent than the KLA is, so I think they'll be able to get out much more quickly than they can be pursued. I wouldn't anticipate that that will be a problem. But I also think that the KLA has a fundamental interest in letting the Serbs get out as quickly as possible. It would be counter to that interest for them to harass them on the way out.
The point here is to get the Serbs out of Kosovo as quickly as possible so the Kosovar Albanian refugees can get back in, into a secure environment maintained by a NATO-led force. My assumption is that the KLA will cooperate as much as possible in allowing that to happen.
Q:...any official contact with the KLA, is that what you're saying?
Mr. Bacon: We don't coordinate with the KLA.
Q: Ken, you made a point of saying earlier when you were pointing at the chart that attacks in the last 24 hours focused almost exclusively you said on military targets. I assume by that you meant forces in the field as opposed to broader strategic targets like power plants.
Mr. Bacon: We've always focused on military targets, but I did mean forces--I did mean forces on the ground.
Q: But along those lines, has there been any shift in emphasis or changing in the selection of targets to reflect the fact that there may be a political settlement close at hand?
[Chart-Level of Effort-Day 72]
Mr. Bacon: You might want to put the chart back up again. I think you can see that the targets have been primarily located in Kosovo over the last 24 hours. There have been several command and control, integrated air defense and other targets outside of Kosovo, but the vast bulk of them have been in Kosovo.
Q: So you're laying off Belgrade, for instance.
Mr. Bacon: We retain the right to hit any target that is necessary to advance NATO's goals. I think this list speaks for itself. You can see we concentrated almost exclusively on forces in the field in Kosovo last night. I'm not going to predict what we'll do...
Q: If I can just follow. This looks a little bit like--it looks like NATO is pulling its punches a little bit in recognition of the political realities.
Mr. Bacon: We're continuing to hit military targets, and NATO has the right to hit any target it wants.
Q: Inversely, have the Serbs changed any of their targeting, or any of their behavior? Have they been laying off so as to preserve themselves? Or have they simply been doing the same kind of resistance that they have for the 71 days of the air campaign?
Mr. Bacon: Well, they're continuing to fight the KLA in counter-insurgency operations, and I pointed out several places where those battles are still taking place. We get reports that they're continuing to remove people from villages in various places. The do not seem to have changed their stripes. But the hope is that they will do that soon. That's one of the reasons why the bombing is continuing, and that's one of the reasons why I urge you still to be cautious.
There's a lot of euphoria about this agreement, but this agreement needs to be translated into action, and that has not yet happened on the Serb side. We do not see signs that they have pulled punches, and we do not see signs that they have begun to pull out. That is the fundamental test of whether they're serious about this agreement, whether they're committed to deeds or just to talk.
Q: Will the Yugoslav forces be allowed to take their remaining tanks and other armor with them?
Mr. Bacon: Yes. They will be encouraged to remove their equipment with them.
Q: Ken, will the staging area for KFOR be only Macedonia? It kind of flies in the face of the MAGTF concept to have the Marines come into Greece and move up, whereas their whole theory of operation is to move ashore very quickly without a staging area. So is everything being moved into Macedonia?
Mr. Bacon: Where would you want them to go through? Albania? They have to land someplace and move by land. They can't get to Kosovo by boat. So if we think...
Q: The Marines can do anything, Ken.
Mr. Bacon: They can, and we expect them to, and they show they can every day, but the fact of the matter is they have to land...
Q:...through Montenegro (sic)...
Mr. Bacon: Well, they have to--I believe that initially most of the troops will come in through Macedonia. To the extent they come by ship, they'll come through Thessaloniki.
Eventually, there may be rail routes established that will bring people in, and I would anticipate the rail routes would come down through central Europe, through Romania, into Bulgaria, and then across into Macedonia and in that way. But that remains to be worked out, and that would be handled by individual countries sending forces down into the peacekeeping area.
Q: If the Serbs do agree to the NATO time table and if they proceed according to plan, roughly how long might it be in that circumstance before you would halt the bombing? Can you at least give us some kind of a ball park idea if Serbia cooperates?
Mr. Bacon: If Serbia cooperates, I think the bombing could be halted by the end of the weekend or very early next week. If they were to start to cooperate tomorrow--the meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Yugoslav time tomorrow. Depending on how long the meeting lasts and how serious the Serbs are about acting on this peace agreement and ending the bombing of their country, I think we could have enough movement in two days or so. But it could take much longer than that. It could be four days. It could be longer. A lot will depend on how quickly the Serbs are willing to act on the agreement that their Parliament has already accepted.
Q: Did you say exactly where they're going to meeting?
Mr. Bacon: Sorry?
Q: Did you say exactly where they're going to...
Mr. Bacon: I did not.
Q: Can you?
Mr. Bacon: No.
Q: Why would it be a secret?
Mr. Bacon: I just think we'll leave it up to the negotiators to handle this the way they want to, and so far they have not wanted people to know where they're meeting, so far be it from me...
Q: Inside Macedonia or inside Kosovo or... Can you tell us that much?
Mr. Bacon: It will be near Macedonia and near Kosovo. (Laughter)
Q: Two different questions. The first one, the paramilitary--can you tell us your thoughts on how tough it's going to be to get those guys out? No one's ever been really clear who really commands them, and they're a very diverse group. How do you get them out, and how do you verify that they're out?
Mr. Bacon: Our experience is that the paramilitaries are usually associated, usually commanded by people who are closely associated with Slobodan Milosevic. We have no doubt that if there is a decision at the top to pull out all forces, including paramilitary forces, that the paramilitaries will come out.
Q: Your view is you think they will follow orders?
Mr. Bacon: Yes. From their commanders.
Q: My other question is a different one, going back to some of the discussion yesterday. Now that a little time has passed, I guess, what's the sense here of how successful air power was in making this campaign work, and what about air power made it work this time as opposed to other times when it may not have achieved U.S. goals so readily?
Mr. Bacon: First, as I've stressed, it's not over. We have not seen tangible signs of withdrawal. The airstrikes are continuing. So with that caveat, I'll answer your question.
I think the fundamental factor here was NATO's unity and resolve. NATO acted in a way that was tough, progressively tougher throughout the campaign. It failed to be deflected from its goals. It hung in there, and it hung in there with increasing force. I think that this lesson was very clear to Milosevic. I think he felt that he could outwait NATO, and he learned that he could not, that NATO's resolve was, in fact, very strong and growing, as a matter of fact. So that's the first factor.
Secondly, I think that both the precision of the air campaign and the persistence of the air campaign were fundamental factors in convincing Milosevic that it was time to try to end this fight. Now, as I say, we still have not seen performance behind the promises. We're waiting to see that. But I think that this air campaign, which started slowly but gathered momentum as it went on, became systematically damaging to his entire military infrastructure, not just the forces in the field in Kosovo, where most of the attention has been focused over the last week or so, but throughout the entire country.
I think, a final point, that the pounding his forces took during the last week had to have a huge impact on his determination to continue the fight. We know that it had a big impact on the morale of the forces. We were seeing desertions increase, although we didn't see whole units moving out as we had during the Krusevac revolt several weeks ago. There were increasing reports of lack of food, lack of fuel, lack of equipment, lack of will, lack of morale, and increasing dismay with the leadership not only of the forces but of the country, and an increasing feeling that we were picking up from anecdotal reports and other sources of information that they just saw no way out. And that they realized, because of NATO's persistence, the situation was just going to get steadily worse.
I think those factors added up to a conclusion that there was no alternative but to agree to the terms that were accepted yesterday. We still have to see those terms enacted.
Q: Ken, if those terms are not agreed to, if for some reason Milosevic plays his usual game, starts to withdraw, does not totally withdraw, comes back in, is NATO resolved to just pick it up and continue and go back to the airstrikes?
Mr. Bacon: I think the leader of virtually every NATO country, including President Clinton, has said we are going to win. We have not won yet. We still have to see this agreement enacted, and we have to see it enacted 100 percent. But, yes, NATO will do what it takes to make sure that the refugees are able to get home.
Q: Can you give us a rundown on the difficulties you expect forces to encounter on issues such as mines and booby-traps and bridges that may be booby- trapped? You have very sort of general intelligence on that. Are you beginning to refine and focus more on the magnitude of that challenge?
Mr. Bacon: We are. We obviously don't have people on the ground, but we have to assume that the Serbs have kept pretty accurate records of where they may have mined and what bridges they may have booby-trapped, and they will have to perhaps un-mine and un-booby-trap some of these roads and other transportation routes as they move out, which would be helpful. Also I think there's a good chance that they will be required under agreements yet to be worked out to do some de-mining and certainly to assist NATO in addressing the mine problem.
The Marines--who will go in as the first Americans on the ground, as the enabling force to clear the way for the Army troops coming in later--do have a de-mining capability, and that will be certainly used. Our allies also have de-mining capability deployed to the area and will be using that right away.
So to answer your question, the first thing that the forces going in, moving in basically from Skopje, will have to do--and this is, remember, one of the roads that we did not attack systematically, left open as a refugee route--we will go in and, obviously, have to check for mines first along this major road, but then more importantly, along the secondary and side roads that allow the forces to reach their destinations and security posts.
This will be divided into sectors, and the British sector will be in the Pristina area; the U.S. will be over here; and then the other countries will be spread around elsewhere. So they will have to clear the routes, so they can get their forces into their areas.
Q:...the nature of this conflict, though. This is not anywhere near the magnitude of the mine problem that forces faced in Bosnia, for example, where there were three protracted forces with long lines of heavily mined front lines. Do you feel this is not in the same ball park in terms of the magnitude of this issue?
Mr. Bacon: I think it will turn out to be far fewer mines per square mile or kilometer in Kosovo than in Bosnia, but I don't think we know for sure. We haven't been able to take a mine census. That's one of the first things we'll have to do.
Obviously, there are other problems. Much of the infrastructure has been degraded or destroyed over the last ten weeks and before. Remember, the Serbs started destroying Kosovar Albanian houses and headquarters long before NATO got there. So this will be an infrastructure-poor environment in many parts of the country. We obviously have to be careful to make sure that everybody who is supposed to have left has left. Our forces will have plenty of inherent force protection against attacks that they might encounter along the way and will be prepared to respond very quickly and aggressively if they are attacked.
Q: Ken, do you have any idea when the first refugees will start moving back in?
Mr. Bacon: I do not. I hope soon, but I don't know that.
Q: Will U.S. and other troops be prepared to set up tent camps given the fact that thousands of homes have been destroyed and burned, and these people won't have any place to stay, many of them?
Mr. Bacon: I think there is a very established international infrastructure to deal with that through the NGOs and that they will be taking the lead in that. Obviously, NATO troops will help where they can, but their primary goal, and their primary task, is going to be to provide a safe and secure environment. I think they will have to complete their military tasks first, and if they have time and resources left over, they may be able to devote that to other tasks, but their primary goal is the military one, and there are plenty of NGO organizations in the area that will be able to move in very quickly.
One of the obvious issues that we have to face is determining how badly the internally displaced people need food and how quickly we can get food to them. That could be done through convoy, [which] is the most efficient way, obviously. Initially, some of them may be done through air drops, but I would think as soon as possible we'd want to open up roads and get food in by convoys.
Q: The initial entry of the enabling force, what do you see as the time line for getting the bulk of KFOR in there?
Mr. Bacon: Well, as I pointed out, there are 15,000 people, NATO troops, already in Macedonia. Many countries, including England, have already announced plans to start sending people down even before there's an Activation Order passed by NATO. There is a military command/bureaucratic process that NATO has to go through to pass the proper orders to get people in there.
But I would guess that there will be significant forces in there within a week or two after the Activation Order is passed, and it will probably take several weeks--could be over four weeks, for the whole force to get there. That will depend on a lot on details to be worked out.
Q: Is each participating country going to go right to its sector, or is there going to be some sort of coordinated sweep to make sure that the Serbs are out? How will that work?
Mr. Bacon: The main way to--the first level of making sure the Serbs are out will be verification from the air. Many of the planes that are now flying in support of the combat missions will be used also to verify the outward movement of the Serb forces. The OA-10s, for instance, would be perfect for that. We also have the unmanned aerial vehicles--the Predator, etc. will be perfect for that. So we will watch very closely with the same assets we're employing today.
Then as forces get on the ground, obviously, they will do their own sweep. So my expectation is that what you'll have is individual countries moving into the five sectors and taking care of the monitoring on their own.
Q: Would the enabling force that's going to go up to the border with Serbia, will that force be equipped to defend that border from any kind of tricks that Milosevic might want to pull? Will the Marines have sufficient armor to be able to match what the Serbs take out?
Mr. Bacon: Well, first of all, the Marines are only the enabling force, and they'll be there for a period of time, and they will be replaced by a much heavier, larger Army force that will come principally out of Germany. But the short answer to your question is "yes." The forces that deploy along the border with Serbia will be able to protect themselves against any "tricks," as you put it, that Milosevic might try.
Q: Ken, looking at your map there, is there a major road that's still open going north or east of Pristina and the rest of the way into Serbia?
Mr. Bacon: Although many bridges have been bombed within Kosovo, the major bombing of bridges took place just outside Kosovo. There is a major road here that goes from Pristina out, and if you look at certain charts, you can see that many bridges in this area have been bombed; some in here have been bombed. But we've tried to--our goal was to prevent forces from flowing into Kosovo and supplies from flowing into Kosovo from the rest of Serbia or from Montenegro. So that's where the concentration has been. There have been, of course, some bridges hit within, but most have been out.
Q: So there still could be some bottlenecks on...
Mr. Bacon: There will be bottlenecks.
Q: Ken, can you go back and explain one point? The enabling force, the 2,200-roughly Marines...
Mr. Bacon: Right.
Q: Is it your anticipation that they would go directly to the U.S. sector in Kosovo? Is that what their mission is going to be? Or will they go somewhere else?
Mr. Bacon: It is my anticipation that they will go to the U.S. sector.
Q: So they're an enabling force then only for the U.S. sector?
Mr. Bacon: That is my anticipation--that they will begin mine clearing; they will do initial reconnaissance; they will help determine where headquarters and camps will be set up and begin that task, and the advance party will come in as quickly as possible, probably within the first five days or so from the Army to start building up the Army infrastructure.
Q: How big will the U.S....
Q: If I can follow up for a...
Q:...minute, Charlie. Then the ARRC will take the multinational non-U.S. element, NATO element to the ARRC, in separately from the enabling force, in through Pristina and...
Mr. Bacon: These details are still being worked out by NATO, but my anticipation is that in Kosovo as in Bosnia, countries will move into the sectors that were assigned to them. That's what happened in Bosnia. We didn't move into Mostar which was in the French sector, or Sarajevo. We moved into Tuzla, which was the headquarters of our sector. And from the headquarters, then we fanned out and set up an organization within the sector. The U.S. sector is basically in the eastern portion here, and I would anticipate that we will move in here, into this sector. Gnjilane is one of the major cities in our sector, and we will find a place to set up a headquarters and then move out and set up base camps throughout the sector as we did in Bosnia.
Q:...checkpoint issue. The Serbs will have limited border, limited okay to operate at the borders and the border checkpoints. But will NATO and ARRC forces also be manning border checkpoints?
Mr. Bacon: Yes, I would anticipate that all checkpoints will be manned by NATO forces.
Q: How large do you expect that to be, Ken?
Mr. Bacon: How large?
Mr. Bacon: Large enough.
Q: I mean...
Mr. Bacon: I don't have the size in terms of square kilometers, but I would say it's maybe a little more than a fifth of the land area of the country.
Q: Just to be clear, simultaneously, the Marines will be moving into the U.S. sector and similar enabling forces from other countries will be moving into other sectors, all going on at the same time?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Q: Ken, do you know if there's any plan to use any of the [SETAF] folks in Italy now?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that there are currently plans to use the [SETAF] folks as part of the enabling force.
Q: The retreat has the potential to be really bloody from two ways. One, the Serbs have a history at least in Bosnia of pillaging all the way back and setting things on fire. Second, I'm not sure, I think it may be overly optimistic to expect the KLA just to be glad that they're leaving. They might want to extract their pound of flesh on the way out.
What assurances or what planning is NATO doing to protect the Serb forces on their way out from KLA? Or are you just going to let them duke it out, if that happens? And what assurances are you providing to folks that might be along that retreat route that NATO won't allow that kind of nonsense?
Mr. Bacon: We will continue bombing until we see very clear and verified evidence that the pull-out has begun and is significantly underway. I think that is the primary--if air power got us to this point, air power will continue to keep pressure on the Serbs to complete the withdrawal.
Q: What if they're withdrawing and burning things along the way? Does this...
Mr. Bacon: I think the burning should stop, but the primary way to stop the burning is to get the Serb troops out, and the plan that will be presented tomorrow is the design to get them out as fast as possible.
Q: Is there a time frame for this suspension of the bombing? Is there a D-Day for suspension after which time the suspension will be reviewed and bombing could resume? Or is it open-ended?
Mr. Bacon: The bombing, first of all, won't stop until we have clear evidence...
Q: I understand that.
Mr. Bacon: Second, it could be resumed at any time we see there is backsliding on the agreement.
Q: So in other words, NATO is not going to set down a three-day or seven- day...
Mr. Bacon: I don't anticipate that. No. It will be subject to continual review.
Q: What kind of a lag are we having when the Serb force is withdrawing until the enabling force crosses over the border?
Mr. Bacon: It will be synchronized so that NATO forces will come in before the last Serb troops [are] out, but I think that that synchronization is still being worked out.
Q: Is there a briefing tomorrow?
Mr. Bacon: Briefing tomorrow at 11:00.
Press: Thank you.