DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, May 4, 1999 - 2:00 p.m.
(Also participating in this briefing was Major General Chuck F. Wald, J-5)
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome. And welcome to the group that's arriving, whatever it is.
I have two announcements. The first is that Secretary Cohen and General Shelton will accompany President Clinton and Secretary Albright and others to Brussels and Germany tomorrow. They're actually leaving early this evening. They will visit with the NATO Secretary General Solana as well as General Clark tomorrow in Brussels. Then from there they'll visit two airbases, Spangdahlem and Ramstein, both in Germany, to talk with fighter pilots and commanders at Spangdahlem, and then to talk with the people who are actually loading the humanitarian aid and sending it down to Macedonia and Albania [from] Ramstein.
Secretary Cohen will come back tomorrow night, and President Clinton will continue on in Germany.
Second, I want to bring you up to date on what the military is doing to support the rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts after the tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kansas.
There are approximately 200 Air Force Reserve and Navy volunteers from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma supporting the search and rescue efforts in and around Del City. They've set up shelters for those who have lost their homes. There is a team of ten disaster response specialists from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, [that] have been on duty as of early last night assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency and coordinating the rescue efforts and help efforts. There are also approximately 873 Oklahoma Air and Army National Guard troops as well as 115 members of the Kansas National Guard mobilized last night to help in the operation.
There were no aircraft hurt at Tinker Air Force Base, although some buildings were hurt. The storm narrowly missed Tinker Air Force Base.
With that I'll take your questions or turn it over to General Wald who has a crackerjack briefing today.
Q: Ken, can you give us any more on the shootdown of the MiG-29, and also on the progress on the call-up of the aircraft, up to 300 aircraft?
Mr. Bacon: There's nothing more to say on the call-up of the aircraft, nothing new to say, because it's still being evaluated. And I think I'll turn over the MiG-29 shootdown to General Wald. That will be a good segue into his briefing.
Q: Ken, (inaudible) about the three American soldiers. It's clear that something happened to them. They got hurt in some fashion. As yet the Army hasn't told us how they got hurt.
Do you know how they got hurt, and will you please tell us?
Mr. Bacon: No. I do not know how they got hurt. I can tell you that the debriefing of the soldiers has been methodical and sequential, and basically the first part has been medical. They've been examined thoroughly; they've spoken to physicians, and they have not really done a lot of debriefing with other people to give a minute-by-minute account of what happened to them.
Q: I'm sorry, this is not credible. When a guy has cracked ribs and a broken nose, you don't ask him how did that happen?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know what happened.
Q: Does anybody in this building know?
Mr. Bacon: I assume they do. I've asked the Army for that information. I do not have it.
Q: What does the Army tell you?
Mr. Bacon: The Army says, "we'll get back to you." So when we get the information, you'll get the information. I think it is reasonable to assume that we'd like to give a complete picture of what's happened and not something that may turn out not to be complete by the time we finish. But all of this will be out in due time.
Q: For the record, if the Army reads this thing, I just find that ludicrous.
Mr. Bacon: I understand.
We'll talk about the MiG shootdown.
Major General Wald: Good afternoon. I'll mention the MiG shootdown first, just explain it to you.
What I understand is that today an F-16CJ, which is a HARM-shooting aircraft but also carries air-to-air missiles for self-defense and for flying combat air patrol, in conjunction with EA-6 type aircraft for jamming were protecting a strike package that was going into the middle of Serbia around Batajnica airfield on a target. During egress the F-16 detected an aircraft in the vicinity of the strike package as it was exiting. It determined that it was a hostile aircraft, identified it, and then shot it down. After that, they all egressed the area safely. So this is the first time they've had an air-to-air engagement since the third day, I think it was, on 27 April.
Q: Where was it?
Major General Wald: Batajnica airfield. So you have to assume that's where it came from.
Q: Where did the F-16 come from?
Major General Wald: The F-16 was out of Aviano, but it wasn't home-based there.
Q: How do you know it was a MiG-29?
Major General Wald: There are various ways to do that. Some with your eyeballs, and there's other means.
Q:...from AWACS at all?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure if that's the case or not, and I wouldn't talk to that right now.
Q: What kind of missiles shot it down?
Major General Wald: It was, from what I understand, it was a radar missile.
Q: And you believe it was not going to Bosnia, it was going after the strike package?
Major General Wald: We assume it was going after the strike package.
Q: Where did it go down, exactly?
Major General Wald: It went down in the same vicinity. I think it was a couple of miles from the border of Bosnia, if I'm not mistaken.
Q: Do you know how long the engagement lasted?
Major General Wald: Not very long.
Q: Did he even get close to the flight package?
Major General Wald: No, not close enough to fire anything at them, no.
Q: Do you know whether the MiG pilot ejected?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure if he did or not.
There was another MiG-29 and a Galeb that was attacked on the ground yesterday and destroyed as well.
Q:...try any evasive action or anything?
Major General Wald: I don't have the details if he maneuvered or not.
Q: How many MiG-29s does that leave them, do you know?
Major General Wald: I think there's around four left.
Q: That's out of 15 isn't it?
Major General Wald: I think they had 14 or 15, right. A couple of those are trainers. So the ones they have left may be in the trainer model, too.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
Okay, the weather today has been pretty good. It's getting a little worse this afternoon. I just thought you might want to see the projection for the next three months out. It looks like the weather will start improving incrementally over the last three months, and into July it should start being pretty good, so as the next few months go on, and this continues on, the weather should improve, and that will give us more days like we had over the last few days.
[Chart-Level of Effort-Day 41]
Yesterday, 41 fixed targets struck, much of that in the Kosovo area on fielded forces. A significant amount of those, about 50 percent of the actual fixed targets, yesterday were in that area. Once again, some mobility, command and control, radio relay, and some other SAM-type sites were struck yesterday.
Q: What's the mobility refer to?
Major General Wald: Mobility could be a LOC, that would be a bridge type target.
Q: How many targets again? I'm sorry.
[Chart-Day 41 Summary]
Major General Wald: There were 41 fixed, but as I'm showing here on this chart there were actually 80 total because as we've increased the OPSTEMPO and started to change the way we operate a little bit, where we're hitting fielded forces, and you're hitting targets of opportunity, of which I'll show you several films today of those--some of those targets that wouldn't be necessarily fixed would be maybe a SAM launcher or a truck or an APC of some sort or even maybe a fielded force or other targets that could come up on the screen through various sources throughout the day.
So [we] started out planning to hit about 41 targets and actually ended up hitting 80-plus yesterday. Six hundred and six sorties yesterday, and this is only a smattering of the type of aircraft, but we flew the B-52, B-1, B-2, F-117, as well as all the NATO aircraft of all types flew yesterday as well as all the support aircraft. So it was a big day. So it looks like we're getting into that part of the campaign where we'll sustain a very high level of OPSTEMPO for the foreseeable future, really.
Q: Did the B-52s drop dumb bombs?
Major General Wald: We don't have any dumb bombs. We have gravity bombs.
Q: Gravity, sorry.
Major General Wald: Yes, they did.
There's a big distinction, because the point is that people envision what happened in Vietnam all the time with these bombs dropping down in a mile to a mile and a half area. These bombs are dropping on targets that are appropriate for it and footprints about a thousand feet long. Once again, we go back through because of the avionics and the GPS, so...
Q:...the navigation of the aircraft is so much better than it was?
Major General Wald: That's correct.
Q: And they did drop those as opposed to HAVE NAPs.
Major General Wald: That's right.
[Chart-Lines of Communication Routes into Kosovo]
The LOCs themselves, once again I just showed this the other day, but we continue to hit. We had a question the other day where that river--there's a river here you can see coming down. These large areas here in yellow are the major LOCs that we've hit. All along all of these there are several other bridges that we continue to strike, and I'll show you some of those today.
So the idea here is to cut him off into Kosovo, to keep him from being able to sustain or resupply his forces, depart and come back. And as was mentioned the other day by Mr. Bacon, these bridges down here remain open.
[Chart-ALLIED FORCE Operational Tempo]
I thought you'd be interested in what a schedule looks like in a general fashion. Throughout the day, this is a 24 hour period. From here it's 0300 in the morning out to 0300 the next day. This is just a synopsis of generally how the missions will go all day and how that schedule goes.
You can see up here they'll have surveillance generally throughout the day; refueling at some times, some times a little more refueling. That might match up where the package is a little larger here. Intelligence of all sorts. Then combat air patrol. As we talked about just a moment ago on one of those aircraft, although this was not a dedicated combat air patrol, but it performed that type of mission where we shot down the MiG-29 yesterday. Those will stay in the area and protect all the forces. Then various types of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, in this case the Predator; I'll show you some film of that a little bit later of a strike.
That goes on 24 hours a day, and it just keeps rolling and keeps rolling. So that's how we're flying the sorties over the period of time we are [in] now. You can see that as this grows, these sorties down here, some of the tankers we talked about coming in that will allow us to have even a double batch of strikers here--possibly we'll have more tankers and that will give us a chance to be more responsive to targets that we find fielded, targets of opportunity, and keep them from moving around.
Q: But you haven't yet had a thing where you've had five strike packages overlapping with coverage the entire day, have you?
Major General Wald: This is a generic. There have been all types. There have been times where there have been strike packages on top of each other, maybe two or three or four. There have been times where there's one. But there generally are aircraft in the area ready to attack nearly 24 hours a day now.
Q: That one does show 24 hour, with overlap I would say about half the day.
Major General Wald: That's once again, generic. Don't take this is an actual schedule. It changes all the time. Just remember there's aircraft out there around the clock.
[Chart-Refugees in Theater]
Quickly on the refugees, they still are departing. The UNHCR has come up with a little better estimate on the FYROM. There's about 193,000 refugees there, a couple of thousand over the last two days, both there and at Albania. And the camp at Camp Hope/America continues to be built. Plans are for another 20,000 person camp is in the planning right now with the potential for a third. That would be 60,000 people in camps in Albania.
[Photos available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation+Allied+Force]
[Photo-Bela Palanka Communications Site, Serbia-Pre Strike]
Just some imagery. This is a Bela Planka communications site in Serbia itself. You see three fairly good sized buildings. The red buildings were the two that were attacked.
[Photo-Bela Palanka Communications Site, Serbia-Post Strike]
You can see that in the post-strike imagery those two buildings are gone; plus a radio relay site antenna has been destroyed there. So that particular site is down.
[Photo-Beograd Petroleum Product Storage HTPP, Serbia - Post Strike]
Beograd petroleum production area. You can see some of the post-strike imagery, some of the larger tanks have been destroyed and burned. This building over here has been attacked, and there's still--during this imagery there was a trans-loading area that still remains.
[Photo-Valjevo Ammunition Plant Krusik, Serbia - Post Strike]
The Valjevo ammunition plant in Krusik, Serbia. And all these arrows -- I won't point out all of them, but all these buildings have been hit. And methodically, his ability to resupply ammunition or to produce it has gone down dramatically.
[Photo-Valjevo Ammunition Plant Krusik, Serbian - Post Strike]
Another picture of the same area. It's a big target. You can see some of that over there [that] we showed earlier. You can see in all these areas here the buildings are destroyed. Some had ammunition in them, some are production.
[Photo-Boljevac Explosives Storage Facility, Serbia - Post Strike]
There's another explosive storage facility, and you can see that some of these targets have several aim points. Many of these have been hit. Most of those are the ones that they determined beforehand would be the most likely ones to have the ammunition in them.
[Photo - Pontoon Bridge Construction, Danube, Serbia]
A pontoon bridge here, kind of a work-around over the Danube. Most of their bridges are down. They're starting to try to build one here. We'll keep an eye on that.
[Photo - Destroyed Serbian Border Post, Serbia]
This is a border post, but I'll show you a film last night that we hit this with an LGB along the Albanian border. It was a large structure. It was hit several times, and that's been destroyed.
[Photo - Damaged Ground Equipment, Kosovo - Post Strike]
This is a tank, once again fuzzied up a little bit, but you can see right here there's an actual tank. You can see where the treads were. That was over the last couple of nights. A tank in Kosovo destroyed.
We have several films today. The last one will be actually Predator film of an actual strike last night watching an F-14 off the TR hit a Flat Face radar.
The first one is a petroleum tank car. He continues to try to move his fuel around in Kosovo in tank cars, disperse them. As we find them, we hit them and destroy them. You can see the tank car's actually leaked a little bit before this, so it helped us find the target.
We'll continue to not only cut off his petroleum production, destroy that, but cut off any he has fielded as we find it.
Ammunition storage in northern Kosovo. F-16. This is under a camouflaged area, made it harder to find. This is actually dispersed ammunition in Kosovo itself. You see a large secondary, so there was quite a bit of ammunition under that camouflage.
There are some artillery pieces in northern Kosovo. Three B-30 artillery pieces. I'll point them out on the film. You'll see these. This is an F-16 with a laser-guided bomb, takes out the middle one, probably just damages the other ones. We're not sure, but for sure the middle one was destroyed.
Military vehicles in western Serbia. This is an F-15E with an optically-guided bomb. This is a military vehicle in a storage area. You see this little work area, house by these vehicles. It actually hits the building, a small building, and post-strike imagery showed all three of those vehicles destroyed.
Self-propelled artillery on the Kosovo/Serbian border. F-16 with a--this is actually a FAC, and he's marking. This is not the instrument--he's filming this. He actually is using his heads-up display in his cockpit. He'll shoot two rockets off, mark this, and then two other aircraft will come in and destroy it. You can see the rockets come off.
So a forward air controller many times will mark the target with white phosphorous rockets.
Here's a tank in western Kosovo. F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. You can see that; they're putting their tanks in and around built-up areas.
Q: What kind of a tank?
Major General Wald: T-55. It misses a little bit to the left, but--as you see, and you'll have to watch close--but the tank is burning as he pulls off here. You can see some of the burning down here. So that probably was damaged heavily. Whether it was destroyed or not--we wouldn't count that as a destroyed tank yet. I wouldn't want to be in the tank.
There's another tank close to that one. Once again, as you go down the numbers, and this is one of the reasons we don't give a lot of numbers, because I think if you're a practical man, saying taking your chances in that tank is not a good idea. But we still don't count it as destroyed yet.
Same area, you can see above that the black spot over there is where the other tank was, up in this area here. That one looks like it had a direct hit, but once again, until we have better imagery, we can't tell if it was destroyed or not. I would say there's a fairly good chance it was probably destroyed. I doubt if it's going to drive off. But once again, we don't count that as destroyed yet.
Here's a border post. Once again, we continue to take out their border posts along the Albanian border. This is in southern Kosovo. This is the image I showed you on the chart or the picture a moment ago. A large area. It's been hit earlier. This one has a fairly large explosion, and that building is destroyed.
A radio relay site in southern Serbia, F-16 with laser-guided bomb again. Day before yesterday. Take out his ability to command control.
I doubt very seriously if he has any idea how bad he's being hit right now, and I doubt if the people in the field are reporting up very good to him. They're probably a little bit concerned about telling the truth.
Once again that radio relay site is taken out.
Command and control, it's more and more difficult for him to communicate with his fielded forces.
A Low Blow radar. This is in conjunction with a SAM. SA-3 type radar. F-15E with an optically-guided bomb. You'll actually see the truck down here. You can almost read the license plate at the end gate on this one. He's working hard to get it.
Actually, I take that back. This was actually camouflaged, you can see here, and he takes that out. I have another one later that shows the truck. That one was destroyed.
Vranje highway bridge, Kosovo. There's two shots here. Both of them hit the bridge and neither one of them drop the bridge. That's why we have to go back sometimes. F-16 with laser-guided bomb. He drops just on the edge of the bridge. You'll see the actual hole on the next film. But the bridge is still up. This is his wingman. Two thousand pound bombs. You can see where the previous one struck. The bridge [is] still up. He's going to try to hit it here. He does. Puts a good-sized hole in the bridge, but the bridge is standing, so it's probably structurally not very sound, but you still get across it with some type walking at least.
There's another bridge just about like the ones we just hit earlier. This will give you an example. This bridge has been hit before. They're going back, and he actually drops the span on this one. It's weakened enough. You'll see it right above the cursors here. In just a moment you can see the span has dropped, so that bridge is out.
You can see it dropped.
These are some of the smaller bridges. We're taking those out continuously.
Pristina explosive storage facility. Continue to take out. Pristina is one of his major areas where he's holding a lot of his ammunition for sustainability. We've hit Pristina a lot.
Small secondary there. Not very large.
Flat Base radar, F-15E with optically-guided bomb. This is the one I mentioned earlier.
This is an early warning radar which gives us the ability then when we take all his radars out, you have a better chance to fly with a little bit less impunity -- more impunity, I should say. And you'll see the actual truck as you get closer. You can toast that one.
Rakovina highway bridge, southwest Kosovo. This is an F-18 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. A little different type film. You can see not as clear, but underneath here you'll see the bridge. He actually had a direct hit on that bridge.
F-15E with an LGB on an airfield control tower. This would be the tower that you'd see around a normal airfield, a military field that would do the actual controlling of the aircraft, underneath the cursor. And we'll take down part of that airfield's ability to function properly.
Prizren TV FM transmitter. Much of their national TV is down. This is an F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT with an LGB. Direct hit.
And his ability to transmit propaganda over TV is taken down.
SA-6 control vehicle. Once again, the critical SAM. A critical SAM vehicle. This is in Serbia, F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT again. Important target. Three bombs, direct hit. That van is not functional.
This is Flat Face radar which is another early warning radar. This is in Serbia itself in the Kosovo engagement, F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. You'll see there's a pond over here. Keep that pond in mind. He drops it right on the Flat Face radar.
The next film you'll see is a Predator watching this occur last night. The same bomb. This is now a Predator watching and verifying both the target and the strike.
It's a little fuzzy. You can see that pond over to the right. Actually this has been fuzzed up a little bit for this purpose.
The target itself is down in this area here. That's the actual bomb hitting it. So that's a destroyed Flat Face, which is very important.
Q: You said that imagery has been distorted a little bit?
Major General Wald: Slightly.
Q: So we can't tell how good it is or...
Major General Wald: Part of it's distortion, and part of it's changing it over to the film itself.
That's all the film.
Any questions? Charlie?
Q: The Serbs say that they still have a major power problem, but they indicate that they don't think there were any strikes on power stations. Did you hit any electrical power stations against last night?
Major General Wald: No, we did not.
Q: Can you talk about the timing of hitting the, using the bombs on the electrical power stations, why at this point in the campaign you chose to do that?
Major General Wald: First of all, I didn't choose it, the SACEUR did. But he's got in his mind his campaign, and it made sense for him to do that at that particular time. And as this campaign increases in intensity, there are a multiplicity of different types of targets that are still candidates, and we'll continue to hit those.
So we'll continue to strike his ability to perform the repressive action in Kosovo and for his military to have any viability on it at all.
Q: How many Serb troops are in Kosovo now, and how many are involved in that defensive perimeter on the Macedonian border?
Major General Wald: The numbers are still around 40,000, plus or minus. And once again, we're not counting troops on the ground, and if they're destroyed or not. And the numbers up front along the borders, I can't tell you exactly, I'll find out, but it's not the majority of the 40,000 by any means, but there are some up there.
Q: You don't have any idea how many?
Major General Wald: No, I don't.
Q: What were the B-52s used against, and can you give us some idea of the tonnage of bombs that were dropped?
Major General Wald: They dropped I think 54 500-pound bombs, and they went against an airfield.
Q: Can you describe for us the extent and condition of Milosevic's network of underground bunkers?
Major General Wald: He has an extensive network of underground bunkers, as you know. We've found some of those, and we've attacked some of those. Over the last few days we've used some bunker-busting type weapons, as you know. Again, last night some of those. So we'll continue to do that as we find those that are, we think are occupied or useful or important, and we'll continue to attack those.
Q: Many of these were built a long time ago.
Major General Wald: Right.
Q: Are they still in good shape, or have they been allowed to decay over the years?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure what the definition of good shape would be. I imagine they're still functional. They probably have some rudimentary capability to sustain operations in some way with radios. But I've been in a lot of European-type bunkers, and they're not exactly what you'd envision from a highly sophisticated combat capability, but they're adequate to go ahead and sustain a military operation from the standpoint of you would maybe have communications and then some sustainability for subsistence -- for food, water, that type of thing.
But they're fairly robust, they're fairly hardened, and as we find those, we'll go ahead and attack them with the appropriate weapon.
Q: General, does the accelerated pace of attacks on the fielded forces in Kosovo that you've described today suggest it's less likely that the Apaches will be brought into use at all?
Major General Wald: Not at all. I think the Apache, once again, once CINCEUR decides it's the time he wants to employ them, he'll ask the National Command Authority, and then they'll employ those.
Q: There's no indication that there's been any assessment made of them being used in the next weeks or days? Where does that...
Major General Wald: Once again, I'm not going to talk about when they may or may not be employed for the right reasons. But we have other weapon systems we haven't employed as well, and there are things that we could or could not use. When the time's right, we'll use those.
Q: General, is there any more information on the bus that was struck, the civilian bus that was struck? Who was responsible? Who do you believe was responsible?
Major General Wald: What I understand is they spent a lot of time trying to find out if we, NATO, attacked that bus, or accidentally, and there's no indication that we can find whatsoever. Spending a lot of time in BDA on that one, as we do any time--there's the possibility of collateral damage, but we cannot find any indication on any of the gun camera film or any of the targets or any of the actions that took place yesterday that had anything to do with NATO.
So it looks like something attacked that you could speculate, maybe the VJ or MUP did that, I suppose. But it wasn't NATO that I understand. We've tried hard to verify that.
Q: Were there NATO aircraft in the area at the time?
Major General Wald: Well, there were NATO aircraft in Kosovo at the time, but on that particular area there were no bombs dropped at all that we know of. And from what I understand, it's not a normal place for buses to travel anyway. So there's no indication at all that was a NATO attack. So you can speculate how that happened.
Q: Can I just ask you one question about the F-16/MiG-29. Is there footage available, and do you think we'll get to see that?
Major General Wald: If there is, I think we will. I think it was at night so it may be difficult. There may be something where there's a flash ahead of the aircraft someplace, but if there is, I'll try to get it.
Q: General, as you start hitting more targets of opportunity, does the risk of hitting, mistakenly, mistaking buses for military vehicles and that sort of thing, hitting the wrong thing, does that go up?
Major General Wald: It does go up. I was trying to get the numbers today; I added it up. I think the numbers of bombs we've dropped--out of those bombs, it's 99.93 percent of those bombs have not caused collateral damage. So...
Q: Say again. Sorry.
Major General Wald: 99.93 out of those bombs. So it's going to happen. We talked about this before. We said that we'd probably have aircraft at risk, pilots at risk. We've had some of that. We said there would be some collateral damage. We've had some of that. But I think over a 41- or 42-day period, with that many bombs, that's pretty good. And the fact of the matter is there have been several times where people haven't dropped bombs--we know that--ere they've pulled off targets. This is all during the time when they were being shot at.
I think if you look at Milosevic's record, I'd say 99.9 percent of his targets are collateral damage, so you can kind of take it for what it's worth.
Q: Regarding the electrical power grid targets, are--do you know if they're still suppressed? Have they been fixed? Are there work-arounds that may have been put in place?
Major General Wald: I understand it was fairly dark in the FRY last night, so--I imagine eventually they'll do some work-arounds, but it's...
Q: You talked about you don't think Milosevic knows how bad off his forces are in Kosovo. I wonder if you could elaborate on, first of all, it implies an assessment of how bad off they are. If you could fill us in on that, and if he doesn't know, why doesn't he? Is it because communications are cut or because commanders are reluctant to relate that information back? If so, what does that say...
Major General Wald: Some of it's speculation on my part. I mean I would imagine if I were in the situation he is with what's happening to his command and control, his ability to communicate, his other means of trying to find out--he doesn't have the BDA capability we have for sure. So for him to be able to get all these things put together from field commanders, it would be difficult for anybody. Even if the field commanders weren't afraid of the fact they'd have to admit error.
So I can only speculate that he probably has no idea totally how bad off he is. I imagine he has a general idea, but he doesn't travel out of Belgrade, doesn't do his own assessments. He doesn't have systems to go around and show him all of this.
So the concern for him probably would be is how bad off does he really have it, and even make an estimate of it.
It's difficult enough for us to know even after we've known we've hit targets, because of the BDA requirement of how much of that is damaged or not.
Take the tanks, for example. You hit a tank, it looks like it blows up. But our experience is that unless you can get a real good picture of that, sometimes that tank could be possibly repaired.
Again, you go back to sustainment. For his military sustainment, most of his ability to repair military equipment has been--much of it--destroyed. His ability to move that equipment back into Serbia to fix it has been degraded, because he doesn't have the lines of communication. He doesn't have the spare parts.
So he probably really doesn't know how his equipment is holding up, necessarily. He doesn't have the ability to have a sheet that says well, my equipment is 90 percent functional today.
Q: Is he continuing to talk to his commanders there? Can they talk to each other?
Major General Wald: Well, there are indications that they do have some work-arounds for communication, but once again, if you look at the way NATO is operating from several different countries in Europe--the United States as a matter of fact--and the ability we have to communicate and keep up to speed real time on both the air tasking order, intelligence, communication between the commanders. Even in spite of that, we have to work awfully hard to keep up with a 600-sortie day. And we have outstanding communications. It's the best. None of ours is down. We have all of our airplanes; we know how they're working. We're getting resupplied. People are being fed. We have all the fuel we need.
On the other hand, his people in the field, obviously, are being destroyed at a deliberate pace over time. It's going to start accumulating. I would say probably 25 percent of his tanks, APCs, and trucks are destroyed in Kosovo right now.
Q: How many?
Major General Wald: About 25 percent, somewhere in there. About a quarter. Maybe not quite that much, but in that category. So that's got to be a problem for him. If we had 25 percent of our airplanes down, just for maintenance, it would be a problem. We don't.
So [as] you start going over time, you have to wonder what's going through his head. What does he really know? And if I were him, I probably wouldn't err on the conservative side.
Q: Do you have a sense of what is left in terms of the missile stockpiles for SA-3s and SA-6s? You hit a lot of storage facilities early on.
Major General Wald: That's a good point, because some of these missiles probably were in storage. We don't know.
We know that he had a lot of SAMs, in the thousands. The problem is his SAM radars and control equipment [are] being destroyed, and a big chunk of his SA-3s and SA-6s have been hit. The SA-6s, he had more of those. SA-3s, not as many. That's being taken down significantly.
So his ability to shoot is still there. As long as he's got something he can put it on, he can shoot it ballistically if he wants to, but his ability to have an integrated command and control capability to do that has been degraded, and that's why we'll continue to fly more and more sorties and different types of aircraft.
Q:...inventory concern in terms of missiles (inaudible)?
Major General Wald: I don't see him trying to conserve his missiles per se, but once again, I think if you go back and look over the last few days, there have been quite a few SAMs shot. There were some last night, not as many as the night before. But then again, last night he tried to get some aircraft airborne. When he doesn't shoot a lot of SAMs, in the past--at least the first couple of days he tried to fly with his aircraft, then he quit after about two or three days when he didn't have much success.
It looks like he tried to go back again last night to trying that. The same result.
So I don't know if it's desperation or stupidity, but one or the other, it's not working.
Q: Did only one MiG-29 go up last night?
Major General Wald: I know of one. There may have been more than one, but we shot one down.
Q: One was destroyed on the ground also.
Major General Wald: Right. So he doesn't have a lot left, so you can speculate, if he had a wingman with him, I don't know where he is, but...
Q: Do you have an approximate time on that?
Major General Wald: I think it was around, it must have been around this morning sometime Washington time is when I first heard of it. I think it wasn't too long after I heard. I think it was around 10:00 o'clock (sic) [7 a.m. EDT] or something. Don't quote me; I can get that. Something around there.
Q: General, NATO's been able to increase its operations to go to 24 hour strikes.
Major General Wald: A couple of weeks ago.
Q: Right. Without these additional, most of these requested additional aircraft.
Major General Wald: Some of the NATO allies have sent a few tankers as well in the last few weeks.
Q: How necessary, though, is sending the majority still that hasn't been sent?
Major General Wald: If I were the CAOC commander or the JFAC or Admiral Ellis at AFSOUTH or General Clark at SACEUR, I would want these tankers. Because I have a chart here that showed some gaps. Now that doesn't mean there's a gap where nobody's there, but I want as many airplanes as I can have up there all the time, so when he moves we can destroy them. And when you have more tankers, you can have those airplanes go back and forth to the tanker; you can have them waiting on the tanker on alert almost, airborne.
Q: How about strike aircraft? Do you still need some more strike aircraft?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure exactly where that stands. I think he may ask for some more, but I think as this continues to increase in OPSTEMPO, [as] we get better daylight, it's going to be more and more difficult for Milosevic to move around. And it's a combination of factors. He is hurting for fuel. He's got to be hurting for some ammunition. He's got to be hurting for repair and sustainability. He's got to be hurting for command and control, so they're not sure when they move--I'm not sure how their intelligence is. Then when they do move, they're vulnerable to what you saw on TV here, or on the imagery.
So it's a real problem, and the more we can do that to him, the better it is for us. So at some point he's going to have to say either I have to knock this off because I have to defend my own country, or he'll just continue to be destroyed.
Q: Excuse me. General, you said about 10:00 o'clock (sic) our time this morning. That would have been Tuesday afternoon when it happened their time, right? The shootdown?
Major General Wald: Yeah.
Q: So it was daylight.
Major General Wald: Actually it's six hours difference, so it would have been this afternoon (sic) their time, right.
Q: So it was daylight.
Major General Wald: That's what I heard. Now it may have happened earlier than that.
Q: General, you showed us some production facilities in one of the photos. Are you referring to primary production, oilfields in the north of Kosovo? And what's being done, if anything, to cut the flow of indigenous oil? And secondly, what about the storage facilities for fuel for the power plants? Are they a target?
Major General Wald: All the fuel is a target. All the fuel. Wherever we can find it, however he gets--it is a target. It's a military target. So we are trying to keep him from having fuel to move around his war machine. So anything that has fuel attached to it or in it that would be the type of fuel that would be used for military operations is a potential target.
Q: And those production facilities were refineries?
Major General Wald: Remember, there are two production facilities. Major production. Where they made crude oil into actual gasoline type products. Those are down. There are other ones that do a small amount of modification and some-- they put it in types of containers and move it around, but they aren't really their major production where it goes from crude to--to those have been, we're starting to hit those, too. Mainly those are for sustainability.
Q: General, as you go along now with looking for targets of opportunity and increased tempo, can you give us a little better idea, especially in the coming days, how you're doing on taking out tanks, artillery, MPCs, armored vehicles?
Major General Wald: I just did. We're about 25...
Q: You said about 25 percent.
Major General Wald: Right.
Q: But we had a 25 percent figure almost 10 days ago.
Major General Wald: It was about 20 percent 10 days ago.
Q: So you're doing about five percent...
Major General Wald: That's the problem with numbers. Everybody keeps saying don't say numbers because you'll go down a path of numbers. But the fact of the matter is...
Q: Can we go...
Major General Wald: ...may be more than that, it may be less, it may be 22.5 percent, it may be 31 percent; it may be something. But it's in a category that a big chunk of his tanks are gone.
Q: These are prime targets now in Kosovo, aren't they? The armor and the artillery?
Major General Wald: They're all prime targets. But yes, they're prime targets.
Q: So if we can get a running count on it so we know on a daily basis...
Major General Wald: I'll tell you what. I've tried every day to call Milosevic and ask him, and he won't tell me. (Laughter)
Q: No, but I mean your BDA.
Major General Wald: Like I say, our BDA, I'm telling you every day. If you'd kept track since the beginning you'd probably have about as good a count as I do. But the fact of the matter is, just like these two. We hit them yesterday. What we'll do is we'll go back, and we'll look at a photograph. If they're gone, we don't know if they pulled them off, if they drove them off. If they're still there and it doesn't look like the turret's on it anymore, we'll probably call it destroyed.
So we go down this path. Our concern is we're going to tell you something that's wrong. And the last thing we want to do is give you bad information, because our credibility means everything. So suffice it to say when we show you a picture up here -- I've never shown a film twice. As a matter of fact today I showed maybe 20 films. There were 80 attacks last night. So there are another 60 of those out there someplace that I haven't shown, and that's about the number each day. So you can imagine if I showed two here, there were--from what I understand last night there were 16 tanks and APCs totalled, APCs and tanks destroyed.
Q: That's a meaningful figure. Yeah.
Q: The last couple of days you've shown us pictures of border posts being destroyed. What is the purpose of that? I think early on you said you weren't doing that because of fear of collateral damage, when you had the big lines of refugees.
Major General Wald: Right. There's a combination. Some are almost like customs buildings, then the other ones are actual--they're all police, but some do customs work, which there's not a lot of that work going on right now, and some of those are actually military headquarters buildings where they're actually staging from.
So they're along the border, and they go out, and they do their patrols, and they watch the border and that, so they're a military target. We're going to continue to take them down, which obviously should cause them a little bit of concern because their border isn't as secure anymore.
Q: Which border are you talking about?
Major General Wald: That's along the Albanian border.
Q: So you're taking away their ability to control their border with Albania?
Major General Wald: Somewhat, yes.
Q: Are you also hitting the artillery pieces that they moved in to start shelling across the border that...
Major General Wald: Yes, we are. The artillery I showed you today was north of Pristina, but we've hit the artillery along the border as well.
Q: Do you have a sense of what's left of his capability there?
Major General Wald: I don't, personally. They move it around a little bit. When we see it, we'll destroy it.
Q: General, are the refugees still coming out of Kosovo at the same rate that they were the last couple of days?
Major General Wald: I think last night it was a little slower, but I've seen some film and some Predator film that shows the refugees moving around a little bit. I understand that most of them are out of Prizren now. There's some came out on a train last night from what I understand, which is unusual--last night into Macedonia. So they continue to move them out. Once again, I can't imagine what he's doing with these people, why he's doing it, but...
Q: The F-16CJ, was that the first time the U.S. F-16s have shot down somebody in ALLIED FORCE?
Major General Wald: No. The first MiG-29, of course, was shot down by an F-16 also.
Q: What's the percentage of combat sorties in the 606 that went last night?
Major General Wald: I think they're around 50 percent right now. Once again--I've got to correct that. Those are people that dropped bombs. Now this F-16 was not counted in that. I would consider that combat, so that's CAP. Then the suppression of enemy air defense aircraft, which also he's part of, don't count.
So it's usually, counting those aircraft, up around 70 percent.
Q: So about 300 of the pre-planned dropping bombs on 80 target areas, still not 80 single targets? Eight target...
Major General Wald: Well, 41 pre-planned targets. Then an additional almost 40-plus, about 40 targets additional to that. And 300 of those aircraft planned to go out and drop bombs, and there was another probably 250 or so that were in SEAD, that's suppression of enemy air defense, and CAP.
Q: Is this the first time that the number of targets of opportunity was up to the number of pre-planned?
Major General Wald: I don't know.
Q: That's unusual isn't it, so far?
Major General Wald: I don't think so. Well, maybe. I think yesterday it was like 40/30 or something. I think it will continue as long as the weather's good and we have the ability to go ahead and attack. It will be something like that, I would suspect.
Q: The F-16 crash, can you say anything about what happened there?
Major General Wald: Once again, we don't have the aircraft so it's speculation whether it was--he had an engine problem, whether it was because it was FOD'd out, or foreign object damage and injured because of a SAM or AAA, or just quit, we're not sure.
Q: Was it engine failure that...
Major General Wald: He lost his engine is what happened. So it could have been because of a number of things. Something could have flown into the engine or he could have just lost it from material. But we can't get to the aircraft, so we can't tell you.
Major General Wald: There was some SAM activity, uh huh.
Q: A quick question about the capture of the three soldiers, and maybe this is better for Ken, I don't know. But there is one report out that the way that they were captured was they were surrounded by non-combatants, and then with paramilitary people behind them, and that they couldn't return fire, basically, and that's how they were captured. I don't know whether it's true, but do you know anything about that?
Mr. Bacon: In line with my earlier efforts on this, we don't have a complete picture now. The first part of the debriefing has been almost entirely medical and medical examination, and we're now moving into the stage, balancing the time that they're spending with their families, to get the facts. And I think we should just wait until there's a complete account.
Q: To get back to the question about the aircraft that General Clark has requested and haven't been provided yet, I believe it's been about two weeks since he made that request. Is part of the reason for the delay that you're just having trouble finding that many aircraft that are available that aren't needed somewhere else and that are serviceable at this point?
Mr. Bacon: No, I've talked about this many times. It's a question of arranging places to put the aircraft so that we can expand the air operations, both geographically and in terms of time. And we are working on that. We have been working on it for awhile, and I think are fairly close to being finished.
But it's been a three-part decision. One is basing; the second is getting the proper mix of aircraft, depending on where the bases are; and the third is deciding what the force protection and other staffing needs are to operate those bases.
Obviously, if we put them at bases that are already well established fighter bases or tanker bases, you need fewer maintenance people, fewer security people, and fewer flight planners than you might if you were putting them someplace else in a more austere facility. So that's what we're doing.
And that basic dynamic hasn't changed over the last couple of weeks. We've been working on the whole package, and I think that we're making a fair amount of progress on it.
Q: I have a question about the early warning radars that you showed us that were hit in the last few days. I would have thought those were part of the target set that would have been hit in the first, not the first week but the first few weeks. I'm wondering why we're still seeing them after six weeks popping up. Are these...
Major General Wald: The reason is he has a lot of them, and we didn't find them until now.
Q: These are mobile early warning...
Major General Wald: These move around, or some of them aren't turned on. So he's--as you've heard over the last few weeks, he's not turned on some of his systems actually to save them. So I don't think it's because he's feeling more frisky or more able to go ahead and attack aircraft necessarily, why he's doing this. I think it's--my, and I'm not an intel expert, but my read on it is he's probably getting a little more desperate and is probably doing what he can to try to keep us from bombing him. So he's taking more chances, and I suspect he'll do that more and more over time.
Q: General, on the shootdown again. You said that he attacked the MiG as the MiG appeared to be going after the strike package as it was egressing. Was that strike package by any chance the B-52s that you say have been used?
Major General Wald: No.
Press: Thank you.