Also Participating: Major General Chuck Wald, J-5
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
First I'd like to welcome all the soldiers here in the Army NCO course. I'm glad you could come.
Second, I would like to -- I usually don't get such accolades as a "whoo-ah" from the press, so it's nice to have some soldiers doing it in the back rows. (Laughter)
Second, I'd like to announce that General John Jumper, the commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, will be here tomorrow to brief you on his command's participation in Operation ALLIED FORCE. That will be at two o'clock.
With that, I will take your questions or turn it immediately over to General Wald.
Q: I'm so shocked that you're on time I haven't got a question.
Mr. Bacon: That's all right, maybe I'll let General Wald brief, and then you can work up your questions.
Q: Is the SecDef considering extra planes above and beyond the 176 that you've announced? In the package of the 300...
Mr. Bacon: The balance of that package is still under review and could be made available if the CINC still needs them. The CINC in this case, General Clark.
Q: You say if the CINC still needs them. Is it kind of on hold?
Mr. Bacon: I wouldn't say it's on hold. The 176 planes haven't completed moving yet. General Wald will give you a rundown of the build-up in the air forces, where we are now and where we will be when the 176 planes get there. I think it brings it up to 1,200 U.S. and allied planes. All together, it's a very significant air force. If General Clark thinks he needs more beyond that, obviously, we'll go ahead with it. Right now it's been a sequenced plan, and the Secretary has given him the planes that he needs. They'll be going in in the next week or so and starting operation shortly thereafter.
Q: A current CBS poll has showed that the national support of the war is dwindling. It's down to 48 percent and declining. As we know, and as was told during the Vietnam War, we're accused of having little patience, and yet from that podium and from the NATO podium we are asked to be patient about this war, and it looks like it's going to take time, but what do you tell the American public who is losing patience with this? What do you tell them about where we're going and what's going to happen?
Mr. Bacon: Well, despite my deep reservoir of respect for CBS, I'm hesitant to pin my comments on any one poll. Polls reflect the feelings of the moment. There are many polls, and I'm sure I could come up with polls that would be both more supportive and less supportive than that. I haven't seen that poll myself, and I would rather not comment on it.
But I think this Administration has been very clear in pointing out this would be, could be a lengthy campaign that will require patience. I think the American public has been patient, and I expect they will continue to be. The results are getting better and better every day. Secretary Cohen said yesterday Milosevic is getting weaker, and NATO is getting stronger. I think that those results will begin to become more and more apparent as time goes on.
Q: Is there any...
Q: One follow-up...
Mr. Bacon: Let me take Jim, and then I'll come back to you.
Q: It's a follow-up to your questions. When the (inaudible) was determined.
Mr. Bacon: All right.
Q: Yesterday General Shelton said that the forces in Kosovo could fight on "for some time." What is the reaction to that? This war could drag on not only months, but considerably even longer.
Mr. Bacon: Ivan, we have never pulled any punches on how long this might take. We have said that it could take awhile, and we are prepared to go as long as it takes. General Shelton also said that we are grinding away, and I think that's a very accurate description of what's going on. But as he gets weaker, and NATO gets stronger, the grinding will become faster and finer.
What we're dealing with here, I think, are two dynamics. The first dynamic is the military dynamic. In that dynamic it is indisputable that we are making progress at a faster and faster rate. We're also dealing with a psychological dynamic. Basically, it is the will of President Milosevic to prevail, and I think he has gravely miscalculated NATO at virtually every turn. I don't believe he felt NATO would attack him in the first place. It did. I don't think he believed that NATO could stay unified for a long period of time. It has. I don't think he believed that NATO would hit Belgrade hard night after night. It has, and it will continue to do so. I don't believe he felt that we would fly low enough and often enough to have a big impact on his forces on the ground in Kosovo. NATO has and is and will continue to do so.
So the question is what pain is he prepared to accept in terms of military destruction and ruin; in terms of economic destruction and ruin; and in terms of international isolation, which seems to be pretty clear right now and pretty firm. He can go on for a long while. I suppose the question is at what price to his country. That's what we're dealing with right now.
We have never said that we could predict when Milosevic would fold. All we've said is that we will continue to increase the price of failing to fold. That's what we're doing -- every day, systematically, and regularly -- and we'll continue to do that.
Q: Ken, the Serbs were quick to produce some video today [of] the handful of troops that they claim were withdrawing from Kosovo. Is there any evidence that the Serbs have begun or are even preparing any sort of serious withdrawal from Kosovo?
Mr. Bacon: Well, we've all seen repeatedly that film of the staged withdrawal, a handful of troops in starchy uniforms getting onto a shiny bus, smiling at each other, and driving away. It's the soldiers they're leaving behind that are in trouble. Those are the ones who are getting bombed every day; those are the ones who are getting strafed.
We see no signs of legitimate withdrawal. Taking out a couple of hundred soldiers here and a couple of hundred soldiers there is not what we consider to be a withdrawal. We consider that to be theater.
Q: Is this considered to be perhaps an opening gambit by Milosevic in terms of trying to negotiate conditions for withdrawal?
Mr. Bacon: If it is, it's pretty paltry. It's not anything near meeting the five NATO conditions, and I'm sure by now every one of you can cite the five NATO conditions. But the five NATO conditions are a ceasefire, complete withdrawal, an international force with NATO at the core in, refugees back, and moving toward autonomous, some type of autonomous self-government for the refugees, for the Kosovar Albanians when they come back. He's far away from doing that.
He's had a staged withdrawal of a handful of troops, as you say -- handful. And it does not constitute anything approaching a withdrawal of his 40,000-odd military and special police forces, not to mention the fact that there are now paramilitary forces, somewhat vicious paramilitary forces, that are operating as well.
So we would require a clear, convincing sign that he is withdrawing those forces, that he is stopping his assaults against the Kosovar Albanians, and that he's prepared to let a legitimate -- and I would say meaningful -- peacekeeping force with NATO at the core in to help the refugees get back.
Q: What can you tell us about the report that the DIA and CIA are doing together -- I think it's due on Saturday -- about the embassy bombing?
Mr. Bacon: I can't tell you anything about it. I guess I'll let them speak about it themselves.
Q: Ken, Julia Taft of the State Department on Monday announced that there, in two weeks from that particular day, that would be about ten days from now, there would be NGO-sponsored airlifts and air drops to the displaced persons, the IDPs. So I would ask from a military standpoint, from the standpoint of this Department, is that something that will get in the way of the air operations? Is that something that's so dangerous that this Department would recommend that that not happen? What do you think?
Mr. Bacon: My understanding is that later in the day Jamie Rubin was somewhat less definite about the timing or the actual event.
I think what I can say about that is that one, trying to get food to the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people within Kosovo is a priority for NATO and certainly for the non-government organizations. It's a humanitarian imperative.
Having said that, we have not yet figured out a safe and reliable way to do that. And by reliable I mean a way that would actually get the food to the people who need it, particularly when vast parts of Kosovo are still under control of the Serb military which hasn't begun any legitimate, sustained withdrawal yet.
So the question is, could we get the food to the people in a way that wouldn't endanger the deliverers? We have not figured out a way to do that. NATO is looking at a number of options. Air drops is one of them. Supporting NGO efforts is another way to do that. But NATO has not found a good way to do that yet.
There are some supplies going in over land under the auspices of some Greek NGO organizations. They are taking some food and medical supplies into Kosovo and also I believe into Serbia itself, as part of a reciprocal agreement they've worked out with the Serbs. Although that's significant, it's not a large amount that's going in, so we continuing to look at ways to get more food there faster.
Q: Can you comment on the NBC report that the U.S. military has been directed to do some sort of planning for increased U.S. presence in the future, in a peacekeeping force? Specifically the report that up to 16,000 U.S. Marines might be part of that force?
Mr. Bacon: It is true that NATO is reviewing the plans for the Kosovo peacekeeping force, the so-called KFOR.
As you know, before this began NATO had plans to put in a peacekeeping force of 28,000 people. Of that, 4,000 people would have been Americans.
Everybody now believes that that force is probably too small, and that a larger force will be required to go in as a peacekeeping force, but I'm not aware that the final number has been nailed down, and we don't know whether it will be twice as large or three times as large or 50 percent as large as we initially planned. That's still being worked out as far as I know it.
Therefore, the individual contributions by countries has not been worked out either. Typically NATO would decide how big a force it needs, and then it would essentially request contributions from individual countries. NATO is not at that stage yet.
Then, of course, every country would have to decide how it would fill its requisition or requirement. They would decide whether, we might decide whether we would put in Army people or Marines or some combination of those. We are far away from making that decision and I'm not aware -- and I've talked to the Joint Staff about this; they are not aware either -- of any plan right now to send 16,000 Marines to Kosovo.
Q: Can I follow up on that?
Q: Not that there's necessarily a plan, but is that one of the options that's being looked at with the realization that at some point in the future the United States may be called on to contribute more troops to this force. Are you looking at the option of essentially a Marine division?
Mr. Bacon: We are always looking at options, and, Jamie, I tried to make it very clear that we're far away from that level of detail right now.
Q: Is everything you're looking [at] in that updated assessment still and only a permissive environment?
Mr. Bacon: That's what NATO is studying right now.
Now separately, as this Administration and other nations have made very clear in and around the time of the Washington Summit -- NATO, just before the Washington Summit -- Secretary General Solana announced that NATO was going to take the assessments made last year off the shelf and reexamine those assessments. And one of those assessments looked at a whole range of possibilities including sending a significant invasion force into Yugoslavia and into Kosovo alone. Those assessments are still in the process of being reviewed.
Q: Can you give us any update on where those stand and what some of the U.S....
Mr. Bacon: Well, they stand in NATO and beyond that, I can't tell you where they stand.
Q: Just to be clear, are you denying the NBC report? are you saying that that report...
Mr. Bacon: I've said enough about the NBC report. I think I've explained it...
Mr. Bacon: I think I was clear.
Q: About this theater from Belgrade. Do you have any intelligence indications of even a small withdrawal? Or are you just talking about what you've seen on television?
Mr. Bacon: We have TV indications of a staged withdrawal.
Q: But no intelligence...
Mr. Bacon: We do not have signs that any significant withdrawal is taking place.
Q: Even a couple of hundred. Do you see a couple of hundred being pulled out from...
Mr. Bacon: That's what we see on TV, just what we see on TV. We don't see anything else.
Q: Ken, just a followup to Jamie's question. Do you have any indication -- I mean 4,000, earlier the plan was for 28,000. The original plan was for 28,000, 4,000 U.S. troops. Or it could be about 15,000.
To your knowledge has the United States made any decision or given any indication that it might increase that percentage of troops in any final...
Mr. Bacon: Give me a break. How many times do I have to explain this? NATO has to settle on a number. It hasn't done that yet. Then NATO decides what each country will provide. It hasn't done that yet. Then each country decides how to make up...
We may end up sending 6,000 Marines, 16,000 Marines. I'm not saying we won't. I'm saying we are far away from that decision right now. That's the point I'm trying to make. We may end up sending all Army people, all Marines, some combination of the two. We may end up sending more than 16,000, less than 16,000. It is premature to talk these numbers right now. I've tried to be very clear about that.
Q: My point is, would the United States be willing to provide say 40 percent of the force instead of 15...
Mr. Bacon: My point is, all these are very good questions, but it's too early to answer them.
Q: On your comment that it's still far away, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair had some comments yesterday that because of the winter, the onset of winter and the inexorable timetable, that a decision on the use of ground forces would need to be made within weeks. That doesn't sound like far away.
Mr. Bacon: Well, everybody has their own estimates. I think right now we're concentrating on making the air campaign work, imposing as much pressure as possible. We are clearly looking at ground force options, have been for some time. NATO is aware of the calendar, as anybody else, and we will try to react as necessary to the imperatives of weather.
Q: To follow up on that, what advice has the Joint Staff given the senior leadership in this building as to the time table that's necessary to follow to plan for ground troops before winter sets in?
Mr. Bacon: I don't think I'll discuss the Joint Staff's advice.
Q: (inaudible) said this morning that he didn't see any evidence of a Serb withdrawal, but rather a tactical redeployment. What does that mean? Do you know?
Mr. Bacon: Well, a tactical redeployment in simplest terms would be moving from one part of Kosovo to another, for instance, from Pec to Pristina. I would consider that a tactical redeployment. It would be pulling troops perhaps away from the Albanian border more into the center of Kosovo.
I've used the term staged withdrawal, and I think that's what we have now -- a theatrical, not a real withdrawal underway.
Q: The Human Rights Watch Organization says that they object to cluster bombs. They're asking NATO and the U.S. to stop using them. Their principal objection is that some of the bomblets are duds, and they become, in effect, landmines.
What's the military utility of cluster bombs, and are these a munition for which there's no effective substitute? Why do you continue to use them?
Mr. Bacon: I think that General Wald showed a very good picture of the utility of cluster bombs yesterday, and I know he has a very good picture of cluster bombs today, and I'm going to turn this briefing over to him, and let him show you those pictures and answer those questions, and then I would be glad to come back and answer more questions.
Let me just take one from this gentleman here.
Q: Can you estimate how long (inaudible) NATO strikes? And also, after his (inaudible) that it's time to rebuild Kosovo, who will pay and how much is it going to cost and what's the military (inaudible)?
Mr. Bacon: Could you just repeat the first part of your question again, please?
Q: How much more he can (inaudible)...
Mr. Bacon: As I tried to say earlier, this is -- from a military standpoint it's very clear that he's losing ground every day, and he's losing at an accelerating rate. What we don't know is how much pain he's prepared to inflict on his military, how many deaths he's prepared to see, how many tanks he's prepared to see lost -- perhaps never to get back again -- and how much pain he's willing to inflict on the people of his country. We don't know that. So far it's been a fair amount. But the pain is going to get more and more every single day, particularly the pain on his military and the leadership of the military, and I think that it's been clear over the last 50 days that that has been happening, and it will happen as long as is necessary. NATO is prepared to stay the course. I think Secretary Cohen and General Shelton -- and today President Clinton -- were very clear about that. So we can't predict how long that part will take. All we can predict is that we will continue our job to achieve our military goals which we hope will lead to the diplomatic goals.
In terms of rebuilding, the President also spoke about that some today. Clearly the international community is interested in rebuilding Kosovo. The sooner the fighting stops the less daunting the task. The longer it goes on, the more daunting.
But let's be clear about one thing. Almost all the destruction caused to homes, villages, and other buildings in Kosovo has been caused by the Serb army and the Serb special police. It started before March 24th; it accelerated after March 24th, and it's still going on. They are still shelling positions. We had reports yesterday and the day before that they were shelling groups of internally displaced people within Kosovo.
There is more and more fighting going on between the Kosovar Liberation Army and the Serb forces. There was a report yesterday of a 12-hour battle. So the KLA is far from dead. It is resurgent in parts of the country. The longer that fighting goes on, the longer Milosevic delays ending this fighting, the more costly and time-consuming the reconstruction task will be. But that's basically the key to what we want here, because the refugees have to go back, and they have to be able to live in a safe, secure, and eventually a prosperous environment.
Q: The maritime interdiction of NATO, is it dead in the water?
Mr. Bacon: It's not dead in the water. It hasn't gotten to the water yet. NATO's still reviewing it.
Q: When you say that you're looking at ground force options, does that include a ground offensive?
Mr. Bacon: Jim, we've been very clear about this, and the Secretary General was very clear about this. Last year, as you know, there were a number of "what if" questions asked.
What if we wanted to invade Yugoslav? 200,000 troops is what NATO came up with. This is sort of a back of a briefing pad estimate, really. It was a quick estimate.
What if we needed to send a force into Kosovo? It was around 70,000, I think, 80,000. Something like that.
What would it take to assemble a peacekeeping force to go in and enforce an agreement? That was 28,000.
What Secretary General Solana said just before the Washington Summit was that we should take all of these guesstimates off the shelf, these assessments, and review them. That process is ongoing. We're looking at all of them.
Nobody anticipates that NATO's view will change, and that view is we should continue the air campaign until we achieve our military goals.
Let General Wald come up, and then we'll answer more questions later.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/#slides]
Major General Wald: The weather has been, contrary to the chart here, excellent for the past 24 hours. And as I've gone through these briefings, the only thing I can tell you that's for certain is the weather is not predictable, and Milosevic is losing. (Laughter) So as we go down this thing, it shows the weather as poor for the next few days, and in fact it's been excellent, and right now they're flying missions all the way throughout the FRY and Kosovo itself, and it's clear as a bell. There are a little bit of "puffies" here and there.
Q: Do you need new weather forecasters?
Major General Wald: I'll tell you what, if he forecasts bad, and it's good, we'll keep him. I don't care. (Laughter)
[Chart-Level of Effort- Day 50]
Over the last 24 hours, there have been 41 actually fixed targets and then another I think 33 or so additional targets struck. Actually one MiG-21 was destroyed on the ground, four Super Galebs. We continue to take his air force down. He'll end up with nothing at the end of this if he doesn't stop.
Command and control, three of those. We continue to take down his ability to have a functional command and control of his fielded forces.
Sustainment, air defense, forces on the ground, 22-plus fixed targets, and then as I said earlier 33 other type targets which included trucks, a couple of tanks, artilleries, mortars, things like that. Then we continue to take down his bridges. And even though it showed on TV maybe that some of his people are leaving, we don't see any indication of that at all.
Q: How many sorties?
Major General Wald: They flew, I believe yesterday was over 650, and today there's 760 combat -- 900 total today scheduled. So 900 total with 760 strike/attack type sorties today, which is very large, of course.
Q: Yesterday you said again was...
Major General Wald: Around 640 or 50, Ivan.
Q: Is that a record today?
Major General Wald: It's a fairly large number for this operation. It's certainly not a record for any combat. For this month it's about as big as we've done, but it's going to continue to grow as the weather gets good and the aircraft continue to arrive.
[Chart- US Forces]
On fighter aircraft, Mr. Bacon mentioned I'd go through this. Just to review, as of right now, we're at 645 total aircraft, of which 272 are fighter/bombers, and then the support includes tankers and reconnaissance.
The THEODORE ROOSEVELT is operating in the Adriatic today. They've got about 46 strike aircraft and another, I guess 20, or so support aircraft on that aircraft carrier. Then you can see the complement of other Navy ships that are in the area supporting in various ways.
Q: That's U.S., that's 645?
Major General Wald: That's correct.
[Chart- Allied Forces]
The allies are at 277. There's the array of the countries that are flying. The Belgians dropped the first precision weapon in combat day before yesterday, so they're starting to drop LGBs.
Two carriers, one from France and U.K., and then the other complement of support ships.
[Chart- Allied Force (Modification)]
At the end of this buildup, when it finally occurs over the next few weeks, there will be 982 U.S. aircraft, which is 337-plus. There will be about 1,259 total aircraft in the area supporting this operation. As the weather gets good this summer, then obviously the sorties will go up, and the OPSTEMPO will increase quite a bit.
Q: When will that hit?
Major General Wald: It will be in the next few weeks; it starts moving along.
Right now in some of the places, they have to put living facilities in some of the areas they're going into and things like that, Tony.
[Chart- Refugees in Theater]
On the second front, the IDP is coming along well from the international relief effort. Some of the refugees are now departing Macedonia and actually moving into other areas, Albania included. In Macedonia, that 231,000 includes over 120,000 that are living with families in homes, and in Albania the 427,000 includes around 200,000 to 250,000 people that are actually living with families. The rest, of course, are in tents, etc. And then Montenegro's got about 65,000. So the total stays at about 1 to 1.5 million.
Still about 640,000 tops left in Kosovo. About 200,000 of those, we think, are still in homes, and then the other 300,000 to 400,000 are displaced around the hills and various places.
[Chart- 59 Countries Provide Contributions]
The donations continue to come in on the second front, humanitarian, and once again, 69,000 tons of food over the last few days. You can see the short tons of shelter, equipment, vehicles, etc.
Lebanon has contributed recently several tons of food and shelter. There are 160,000 refugees in 28 different countries around the world that have gone to various countries, as you can see.
[Chart- PROVIDE REFUGE- Refugee Status]
PROVIDE REFUGE at Fort Dix continues. You can see the total over there is 1,758 at Fort Dix. They're going to increase their capacity to 4,200. We still plan to take in 20,000 over the next couple of weeks. You can see the flights that are going to arrive, usually at about 450 per flight. The ones that go into JFK are usually going directly to families in the United States rather than Fort Dix.
[Chart- US Personnel Deployed in Support of Operation SUSTAIN HOPE]
SHINING HOPE continues, SUSTAINED HOPE and SHINING HOPE. There are still 1,627 U.S. folks supporting that. The INCHON is still in the Adriatic supporting it. There are helicopter flights from Tirane into Kukes still continuing, and they're still supporting the camp buildup. The camp buildup for Camp Hope, the final buildup should be completed by the 25th.
Q: Seven hundred and sixty attack sorties, do you know against how many targets?
Major General Wald: There's usually 50 to 60 targets a day. It will probably be in that category. Something like that.
Q: And also on the refugees you said 200,000 remain in their homes. Does that mean that 1.6 million are now displaced?
Major General Wald: If there's 1.8 million it should be; the 200,000's out of that. I think there are 200,000 Serbs actually in Kosovo as well. So there's a population total of about two million. Which interestingly enough, if you take the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, that's about the population of those three states that have been displaced.
Q: General Wald, if they're still in their homes, why are they displaced?
Major General Wald: They are not. They are part of the refugee numbers. We're not sure where they are or what their status [is]. We're estimating there are probably a couple of hundred thousand that still are in some homes in some places. We're just not sure...
Q: Maybe not displaced...
Major General Wald: Correct.
Q: Because why?
Major General Wald: They're not counted as displaced. As he said, 1.6 million -- 200,000. So it's 1.8 million of Kosovar Albanians. There's two million total counting these Serbs.
Q: And the 760 strike sorties, are they day 50 or are they 51?
Major General Wald: Day 50. We're in 51 today. Oh, the 760 is day 51 tomorrow.
Q: The total was about 900 for day 51.
Major General Wald: Right.
Q: Versus 660 from yesterday when you briefed.
Major General Wald: Well, yesterday was 660 counting strike aircraft, then there was some support in that, so it was probably around 800 or so.
Q: Then the 800 to 900 increase...
Major General Wald: Right.
[Photo available at http://www.defenselink.mil/photo/#Operation +Allied + Force] [Photo- Belgrade Federal Ministry Internal Affairs, Serbia-Pre Strike]
Some imagery. This was from this weekend in Belgrade. This is MUP, Ministry of Internal Affairs that was struck. This is a pre-strike photo actually. You can see some damage here, but these two parts of the structure are still standing, were being used by the MUP.
[Photo-Belgrade Federal Ministry Internal Affairs, Serbia- Post Strike]
This is a post-strike. You can see, this is from the back end of it now where they were struck over here, so we'll continue to hit military headquarters in Belgrade and around the FRY as well as Kosovo.
Q: The most recent hit on that was last night?
Major General Wald: The most recent hit on that particular building was Saturday.
[Photo- Cacak Ordnance Repair Facility, Serbia- Post Strike]
This is the Cacak ordnance repair facility, and it's a large facility. As you can see, most of the capacity to actually repair equipment -- those large buildings have been taken down, its sustainability and some of the larger manufacturing areas.
[Photo- Cacak Ordnance Repair Facility, Serbia- Post Strike]
Another picture of the same area blown up. This is the steam plant here. You can see here it's totally destroyed. There are several vehicles in this area that you can see on the imagery, and these vehicles were waiting for repair. They won't be repaired. So when you take the total number of vehicles the FRY has, there are several of them obviously in numbers, dozens and dozens that need repair. They won't be repaired because of this building and this type of facility being taken out. That's part of the overall schematic here. There are some long-term effects that Milosevic is going to have to deal with, and there are some near-term. From a near- term standpoint, they aren't going to have these to replace forces that are destroyed in the field.
[Photo- Nis Army Garrison Northwest , Serbia- Post Strike]
The Nis army garrison, northwest in Serbia itself. You can see here the major buildings for that army garrison. This is the 3rd Army, some of their facilities. So if in fact some of the troops are rotating, which maybe they are, when they go back, they won't have a place to sleep and live.
[Photo- Pristina Army Garrison, Serbia-Post Strike]
The Pristina army garrison. You can see this is a large area here. There's 33 different DMPIs on this one target, so that has 33 different places you have to destroy, and I'd just point out a few of those. This is mostly destroyed in this area here for their army barracks at Pristina.
[Photo- Kragujevac Army Headquarters & Garrison, Serbia- Post Strike]
This is the Kragujevac army headquarters in Serbia itself. You can see another one of their headquarters buildings here. Both of these buildings have been pretty much destroyed. There's probably a little bit left; you could probably use a room or two, but not many of those.
[Cuprija Highway Bridge over Morava River-Serbia- Post Strike]
A highway bridge. Once again, the C2, sustainability, lines of communication, POL, you name it. This is the bridge I showed you yesterday where it was hit twice. You can see this span here is dropped, and then this one over here is dropped down a little bit. You could probably walk across it, but that's about it. You couldn't take any vehicles across it.
[Photo- Nis Petroleum Production and Storage, Serbia- Post Strike]
Nis petroleum production. Once again, his ability to sustain the force in the field and his military capability. You can see that several of these areas have been destroyed and burned. Some of the actual warehousing itself is also.
[Photo- Novi Sad radio Relay & TV- FM Broadcast Station, Serbia- Post Strike]
Novi Sad radio relay. This is a large TV- FM broadcast for his propaganda machine. You can see the building here has not totally been destroyed, but there was an antenna on top here that's laying down. So the ability to broadcast from there is probably cut out.
Q: When was that done? Last night?
Major General Wald: No, that was a couple of days ago.
[Photo- Obrva Communications Facility, Serbia- Post Strike]
Another communications facility in the field. Not a lot left to see here. There were a couple of buildings in this and an antenna, and this is kind of a wired antenna, actually enclosed there by a fence. Then there were a couple of facilities. You can see this one's enclosed here. They're fully destroyed. So he's having to use work-arounds to communicate with the field.
[Photo- Ivanjica C3 Bunker, Serbia- Post Strike]
C3 bunker. This is one of the bunkers that we were asked about earlier and whether we penetrated the bunker. You can see here that this whole part of this bunker here has been collapsed, and that's with 2-000 pound bombs.
The imagery is all within the last couple of days. The oldest one is about three days old, four days old.
We'll go through some ammunition. We showed some sustainment problems with the imagery. This is the Cacak ordnance repair facility. F-16 about three days ago. This was a major part of the facility itself for the ordnance repair. That was one of several bombs that hit that building that particular day.
Lines of communication. I showed you one bridge earlier. Continue to take down his bridges both for coming and going.
Vladicin Han highway bridge on the Morava River. F-16 again with a 2,000- pound LGB. You can see it moves just a little bit, but fortunately the bombs hit. There's actually two aircraft. There's one just to the north of there, too. It takes out both of those spans.
Command and control. This is a MUP intelligence and training facility in central Serbia. An F-117. You can see many of their buildings are pretty characteristic of how they build them. The E-shaped buildings. You've seen many of those before.
So his overall military infrastructure as well as fielded forces continue to be destroyed really deliberately and systematically, and he's really taking a beating.
Kruserac radio relay bunker in eastern Serbia two days ago. F-15E with an LGB. Some of the targets are harder to find than others.
You can see a little bit of an antenna over here. That was actually the support building next to it that was hit.
Command bunker in central Serbia with an F-117 with an LGB two days ago. A little easier target to find. You see it's bunkered up. A bird flew by. Lucky enough for him it missed him.
This one actually penetrates the bunker, and it doesn't look like much of an explosion, but it penetrated pretty deep, and it did explode, you can tell, but you don't see a lot of it, because it was internally contained by the bunker itself.
Q: Bunker buster?
Major General Wald: No, that was a 2-000 pounder.
We continue to take down his air defenses. This is a AAA site by an F-16CG, anti-aircraft site. LGB. You can see the site under the cursor. This one is bunkered up a little bit, but it gets a good-sized explosion and that's destroyed.
We continue to go after his forces on the ground. When they have the gumption to move around, we go after them, or if they're in fielded areas or under trees. This is a troop assembly, F-16. This is a forward air controller, and you'll see up in this area up here they'll go after a troop area with some CBU-87.
Military vehicle, in the Kosovo engagement area a couple of days ago. Even when they're in a bunker like this -- they revetted this area with dirt. When we find them, we'll take them out. This one has a fairly good-sized explosion, and the vehicle is destroyed. You can see the dark on this one happens to be the hot part.
Military vehicle in the Kosovo area a few days ago. F-16 with an LGB. Actually, I believe this is a FAC aircraft here, I take that back. Forward air controller with an LGB from another aircraft.
Military vehicles, again, in Kosovo two days ago with CBU-87 cluster bombs. You see the areas that would be best used for those type of weapons would be in the clear. When we find them, that's what will happen to them.
First Army barracks. This was in Belgrade two days ago. People were wondering whether we were still attacking Belgrade. Yes. There's an attack north of that from another aircraft; you can see the smoke from that.
Q: That's on the outskirts of Belgrade, right?
Major General Wald: It's part of the city. I don't know how far out it is. It's considered Belgrade. I don't think it's right downtown, if that's the question.
Armored vehicles in a field with an F-16 with cluster bombs again.
Q: Is that IR?
Major General Wald: This is infrared, obviously, from the LANTIRN pod, and it will hit right in this area here.
So for those that think the Serb forces in the field in Kosovo aren't taking a beating, they're either watching the wrong film or reading the wrong thing.
This was a Spanish F-18 against a fielded force in the tree line. They're trying to hide in the trees. In Kosovo itself. When we have indications there are troops in there, we'll go ahead and attack them.
I believe that's all the film today. I'll take any questions.
Q: Sir, there's a certain sort of ghost-town like quality to these videos and the pictures you show us. We never see any people. Maybe that's the nature of an air war. Or are you sparing us photos that actually show soldiers or concentrations of troops?
Major General Wald: No, we haven't spared anything. I think from the distance away, not necessarily altitude, there are probably many times you won't see that. But you have to assume there are people in many of those areas. Obviously a troop concentration in the trees, if they're in there, it's hard to see them from that distance. But you have to assume there are people in most of those areas of some sort, in the fielded forces particularly. I don't think they'd normally leave a tank out for any reason without something around it. An aircraft on a taxiway normally doesn't have a person in it. Let's say they're sitting there. But you have to make the assumption his forces are being attritted too, but you can't tell from this distance, and we're not counting, obviously.
Q: To follow up on that, in the Gulf War, however, I recall those videos and there were plenty of videos where you saw trucks moving, tanks, and that sort of thing. You did in fact see forces being attacked as opposed to buildings and the like.
Major General Wald: Right.
Q: So are there videos like that that we haven't seen?
Major General Wald: Of moving vehicles?
Major General Wald: They don't move a lot. I guess that's maybe a tribute to the fact that...
Q:...convoys, for example. There have been attacks on convoys. We haven't really seen any video...
Major General Wald: We don't see a lot of convoys any more. We don't see a lot of movement any more. He can't move around very much, because when he does, we'll attack him. So what he's doing a lot of is sitting in tree lines hiding, and when they move around, they move around very carefully.
This is not the Gulf War where the desert was open and we had large forces moving against large forces. He's hunkered down out there. He knows he's in trouble and they're hiding. So when he moves around, we'll find him. When he does, we'll destroy him.
Q: General, give us a little better idea of the B-52s. We haven't seen any footage from that. But they do Mk-82s on fielded forces? Give me a little better...
Major General Wald: Last night they had some B-52 sorties, and they hit fielded forces. They hit some along the Albanian border, and they hit some in other areas in Kosovo. And the problem with the B-52 is it doesn't have a -- it's not a problem, but it doesn't have a camera watching the bombs as they drop. So you'll have to either be on the ground, or we can show you the imagery afterwards, but it isn't taken during the time of the attack.
Q: These sorties, these B-52 sorties. Are you going back to the same area along those borders? These revetted...
Major General Wald: We're not going to talk about where they're going to go, when, or anything else.
Major General Wald: You can just assume that any target out there is vulnerable to pretty much any type of aircraft.
Q: General, you said when you mentioned the latest destruction of aircraft -- there were five today -- that at this rate at some point he wasn't going to have any more airplanes. Can you just give us some idea of how many combat aircraft Yugoslavia has, and how many have, in round numbers, been destroyed at this point?
Major General Wald: I think they had 14 MiG-29s, and I think they had something like 70-something MiG-21s, and they had probably more than that of Galebs. I'm not sure of the number. He probably had a few hundred. But I think he's already had probably nearly 100 destroyed. Then his military capability to maintain his aircraft is obviously destroyed. He can't sustain, repair his aircraft. So he probably has a lot of aircraft that are sitting there no-flyable. And there are other aircraft that we haven't counted, because they've been under bunkers or in tunnels. So the number is very difficult.
But over time as this goes on, the number eventually will end up being zero that are flyable, if that's what he wants.
Q: Do you think there are any MiG-29s left at this point?
Major General Wald: I think there are probably three or so left. What condition they're in, I don't know. They may not be flyable because he's probably used some of the parts for them. He could fly one, I don't know.
Q: Do you know how many MiG-21s?
Major General Wald: How many MiG-21s that he has left?
Major General Wald: I don't know the exact number. We've destroyed dozens of them.
Q: Do you know how many dozen, or...
Major General Wald: I think a couple of dozen, something like that.
Q: Yesterday, you were asked how many tanks were destroyed, and you said dozens. But you often say dozens. But can you be more specific on that?
Major General Wald: Somewhere between three and four dozen, I guess. Maybe four dozen, something like that. I'm not sure of the exact number. It really doesn't matter, because he's not doing much with them right now. We'll just continue to beat away at him.
Q: General, the air defenses primarily over Kosovo but Serbia as well, have they been diminished to the point now where they're no longer a major threat? Can you curtail or cut back on your ECM activity and your F-16CJs and use them for other things?
Major General Wald: If I were the commander, I wouldn't cut back on them. Part of the reason is he has a lot of it destroyed, but he hasn't been able to use a lot of it like he wants. He's very reluctant to turn on some of his radars, because he knows that we'll find them and destroy him.
So by virtue of him not turning them on, it's almost as good as destroying it, not quite. He's husbanding some of his SAMs. He's firing a lot of his SAMs ballistically, which I don't think in the United States we've ever fired a ballistic SAM. It's just something you don't do. It's almost a waste of a weapon. In the hope that he will get lucky with one of these air bursts, using it almost like AAA.
First of all, he knows that when he turns these on, we'll find them. Number two is, we have the jamming when he does turn them on. And three, some of the areas that he had more highly defended than others have some of the systems destroyed. So we don't have full air dominance by any means, but we're getting air superiority when we need it in certain areas.
Q: You mentioned, the question about ground troops and cluster bombs, you're not counting, implying you're not really counting how many troops may be killed in these attacks.
Can you give us a little bit about thinking how it's difficult to count? Do you have any rough order of magnitude estimates as to how many of the 43,000 Serb troops have been destroyed?
Major General Wald: I really have no idea. I think the way to look at it is his troops -- the advantage they had was, they had tanks. They had SAM, AAA-type weapons, they had things that maybe his adversary out there didn't have. And as his sustainability and his support and his equipment and all those things become unusable to him, he becomes just like the UCK -- a ground force with a rifle.
So over time he's going to have to decide, does he want to go ahead and fight like that? Are his people going to still be sustained with food? Are they going to be given a break, so they can rest? I mean, the people that Mr. Bacon talked about on TV obviously don't look like they've been in the field for six weeks under fire. So I'm sure the people that are out in the field under fire out there probably get a little bit haggard. They're probably a little frustrated that they can't move around and destroy anything besides innocent civilians. So the number of people out there really is not a big matter to us. It's his military capability. And as we destroy that military capability, his fielded forces are going to become neutralized.
Q: Doesn't capability imply killing some of the hardened soldiers who are perpetrating the atrocities?
Major General Wald: As the time comes, that will happen one way or the other, I'm sure.
Q:...one night of sorties, like yesterday, for example, where you said there were 660 combat sorties. About how many planes either return to base with bombs not dropped because they're unable to locate Yugoslav troops, or have to go to some secondary target because they're unable to locate Yugoslav troops or tanks or some direct military target?
Major General Wald: I think what you really need to look at is how the operation is being planned and executed right now. I explained this yesterday, but when an aircraft goes either on a fixed target, and that's his primary target, the number of times they drop is very high. I don't know what the percentage is, but it's high 90s, I'm sure. Not that many return with their bombs.
When they go against a fielded force or a ground force, forces-on-the-ground type target, and they work with a forward air controller, they will go out and work with that forward air controller until they find a target, and if they don't find one that's adequate or a proper target, then they will go drop on what would be considered almost a back-up target, but it really isn't. It's their primary target that if they don't find fielded forces. So they're always dropping on something.
Now if there's weather because of a sortie where you have to have one of these varying important targets, and there's weather, they will bring the bomb back to that probably. That's just fine, because we can use it later. It's not something we have to go out and drop some place, because we can't land with it. We can land with our weapons. So that's a very, I think, economical way to use the weapons.
Q: That's what I'm trying to understand, if you can quantify how often you get in one of those two situations -- either you have to go to a secondary target or you have to go back to...
Major General Wald: During DELIBERATE FORCE I think I flew seven or eight combat sorties in 21 days, and I never came back with a bomb on it. So it depends. I think rarely are we landing with -- not rarely, but very seldom do we land with bombs. We either drop it on a target of opportunity from a FAC standpoint, or one of the fixed targets, or one of the back-ups. Or if the weather is very poor, we could bring it back in that case, and that happens periodically. Not as much now. We had it happen early on because of weather, but...
Q: But if you took those two categories, you don't know a figure?
Major General Wald: I would say maybe five percent. I'm guessing, but I wouldn't say it's much more than five or ten percent at the most.
Q: Of the 22 fielded forces targets you showed us today, could you break that out a little? What kind of munitions were dropped...
Major General Wald: There are 22 on these pre-planned target-type forces, and then there were another 33 on targets that we found out there. Those included, I think nearly a dozen or so vehicles; there were a couple of tanks; there was an SA-6 TEL; there was a command bunker, some mortars and some artillery, that type of thing. Of course, on fielded forces itself, we don't -- if there is an area of troop concentration, we don't even count that as a target per se. I mean that's something else we've attacked, but we're not counting that type of onesies-twosies targets.
Q: How many folks are we going to have assigned to -- how many U.S. servicemembers are going to be in Hungary and Turkey? And second, yesterday Secretary Cohen mentioned a rotation for air crews. Is that in the planning now?
Major General Wald: On the last part, we've rotated some crews already. There have been bomber crews that have rotated in and out. We've had some air crews that have rotated from some of the bases in not a big way, just here and there. We've had some air crews that have currency in a certain type of aircraft that are located in the States that have come over to help augment some of the flying. So there's a little bit of a rotation. But generally, most of the people have been staying for now. They could have units that have similar-type capability; some of their pilots actually move in and fly the aircraft that are in place, which would be a lot more efficient than actually moving the aircraft there with all the lift.
Once again, back in DELIBERATE FORCE when I was there, we had pilots from the New Mexico Guard come to Aviano; they were checked out in the same airplane that we were flying; they came over; we gave them a couple of rides in the local area, and they started flying combat with us. So it's a lot more efficient than moving the whole aircraft out.
On the first part with the number of troops in Turkey and Hungary, I'm not sure what it is yet, but a squadron of fighters usually is about 200-some folks with it. That's 18 aircraft; usually there's a couple of hundred folks. So...
Q: But they don't have to do any kind of force protection in those places...
Major General Wald: They'll do force protection as required. Some areas would require more than others. Obviously, if we have aircraft that are going to Budapest, Hungary, the force protection there isn't quite as much as it would be at Tirane, Albania. So they will always have some people to protect the airplanes, but it isn't as high a number as it would be in, say, a bare base some place.
Q: General, some Apache support units were moved near the border with Kosovo for a live-fire exercise. Can you talk a little bit about the significance of that? Can that be read as a signal that the Apaches are ready to go fairly soon?
Major General Wald: The Apaches are ready to go right now, and when the time's ready and General Clark gets the proper approvals, they'll go ahead and -- when he asks for it -- they'll employ. So it's just like General Shelton said yesterday. They're ready; they've been ready for a couple of days.
Q: Understanding that you don't have any hard numbers on Serb casualties, can you just say whether you'd estimate these casualties in the dozens, the hundreds, the thousands? Do you have any sort of way to characterize what you think is happening?
Major General Wald: Why don't you estimate it, and I'll tell you if I think you're close. I really don't know. I'd say probably hundreds.
Q: In the hundreds?
Major General Wald: I'd guess. But once again, it's hard to tell.
Q: General, when you showed us the video of that thing you called a bird going by, are we sure that's not some secret unmanned vehicle that you're...
Major General Wald: I don't think so, and if it was, I wouldn't have clearance for it, so...
Q: General, have flight operations begun out of Turkey and Hungary?
Major General Wald: They're flying out of Turkey in NORTHERN WATCH, as you know. They're flying tankers out of Hungary now. But the other aircraft that will be flying out of Turkey and Hungary, the fighters, have not started flying from there yet.
Q: Do you have any estimate of how long it will be before they...
Major General Wald: I think it will be within -- once again, we start saying if it's ten days, then at ten days everybody will say why didn't they? But I think it's within a couple of weeks or so.
Q: Will, any of the NORTHERN WATCH planes be used, or will you move in separately?
Major General Wald: No, they'll continue to fly NORTHERN WATCH.
Q: General, it appears that you've stopped shooting CALCMs and all but stopped shooting TLAMs. Is that a function of the dwindling supply, or is it the nature of the targets? Why aren't those weapons being used?
Major General Wald: It's a combination of -- probably the biggest reason is because when we first started out, as you remember, and you go down a campaign. From an air campaign standpoint, you want to get to the point where you can fly manned aircraft with a reasonable chance of survival. Early on in the campaign, many of these weapons were used against high value targets that were highly defended. As his IADS has been decreased in its capability and our ability to have more local air superiority has occurred, there isn't as much need to use those types of weapons, and we'll save them for the time we need them.
Q: General, the B-52 footprints are vastly smaller than the ones in Vietnam. A thousand, feet I seem to remember, was the figure given yesterday for a couple of the airfield (inaudible)? Can you tell us how you're achieving that?
Major General Wald: Well, they achieve it by improved avionics capability, improved weapons delivery system, as well as global positioning satellite navigation, as well as even when GPS isn't on or working, an internal navigation system that's very, very good.
I think we talk a lot about GPS and the accuracy it gives us, but up until a few years ago, we didn't have GPS on the aircraft and we still, because of our internal, inertial navigation systems that have been improved significantly, were able to get very, very accurate bombs. We used LGBs without GPS for years, and they were very accurate. Then additionally on the B-52, they have some other nav-type equipment that can help them become very accurate. So the delivery systems are outstanding.
Q: General, have the B-2s been used since the Chinese Embassy raid? Or has the better weather alleviated the need for the satellite....
Major General Wald: I think it's a combination of both. They just haven't had to use it as much lately. It will still be used.
Q: They have not been used since then?
Major General Wald: I don't believe I've seen it. I haven't checked on the schedule whether it has or not, Charlie. They're still ready to go. They still will be used. There isn't any reason not to. But I haven't seen any attacks lately on them.
Q: General, you said a few minutes ago that the Apaches are ready to go right now. They've been ready for a couple of days.
Major General Wald: Uh huh.
Q: Is that just your sort of off-hand assessment, or has the commander of the task force declared them ready to go a couple of days ago?
Major General Wald: The commander has declared them -- they are ready to go when the time's right, and when General Clark wants to use them and sees the need for it at the right time against the right target, the right circumstances.
Just like going back to CALCMs or other weapons -- at the right time, the commander uses the right weapon against the right target.
I think there's a mad rush to finish this thing. One of the things we aren't going to do is put people at unnecessary risk. So when the time's right, they'll be used and you'll be probably the second to know, because the first to know will be Milosevic.
Q: General Hendrix had said -- I guess he said on Nightline some point last week, that he was under instructions to inform General Clark and others when he thought, General Hendrix thought, that the task force was ready to go. Are you saying that Hendrix has now given that word officially?
Major General Wald: I understand, and General Shelton briefed it yesterday, they're ready to go. When the Chairman tells me they're ready to go, I believe him.
Q: Sir, Secretary Cohen yesterday, or was it the day before on the Hill, said that there was more training required for the...
Major General Wald: They'll continue to train. They're not going to announce that they're ready to go and sit down. It's just like anybody else; they're going to continue to stay operationally ready and train up. So they'll continue; they'll be training, and when the time's ready for them to employ, they'll employ. And when they're not employing, they will train and continue to stay at peak readiness.
Q: General Wald, have you determined, has there been an initial assessment as to what caused the two Apache crashes?
Major General Wald: As a matter of fact, Secretary Cohen mentioned that yesterday. One was a mechanical problem. The other one was a pilot problem. I think they reported it on TV last night, as a matter of fact.
Q: The mechanical problem would be the tail rotor?
Major General Wald: I think it was a flight control system of some sort. But once again, I'm not ready with the details other than it was a mechanical problem. I believe it was a flight control problem.
Q: General, (inaudible) is criticizing NATO continuing to use cluster bombs. What do cluster bombs give a commander that no other weapon makes available? What's the military utility, the special need for these weapons?
Major General Wald: For fielded forces it's very good, or for armor, or for things that we know they're in a spot that could be camouflaged by trees, let's say. It's a very good weapon. As you can see from some of the weapons I showed you dropped here, you can't see through those trees necessarily with a laser, let's say. So in the case where there's a tank in a tree, or troops, or vehicles, we know they're there from other sources, it's a very good way to destroy those type of targets.
Now these cluster bombs, you mentioned, I think, earlier to Mr. Bacon, that there are some duds in there. Very few. But when they are, it's like any other unexploded ordnance. This is not a mine. There's no proximity on it where if you walk by or make the ground rumble or anything like that it's going to go off. So they're just like any other unexploded ordnance any place in the world. But they are not a mine. They have no timers on them whatsoever or anything like that. I think it's just like a 500-pound bomb, except there are several of them in a cluster. That's the way I'd characterize it.
Q:...complaints is that the individual bomblets are, as they put it, "small, attractive, bright colored packages" that children find intriguing, and they pick them up and the thing goes off. Is there any reason to change that?
Major General Wald: I hope that doesn't happen, but I would certainly say that the sooner we have the Serb/MUP forces leave Kosovo, and we can have the Kosovar Albanians get back to a normal life, there are probably going to be a lot more children survive because of that than they would picking up some small object accidentally out in the trees.
Q: Can I follow up on the use of (inaudible). Do lawyers from the Joint Staff and at the CAOC review the target folders ahead of time for law of war considerations...
Major General Wald: Most certainly.
Major General Wald: Most certainly. I've spent a lot of time with lawyers in the past on this. When I was a planner at the CAOC, we had a lawyer at the CAOC in 1994. In the Gulf War they had lawyers. Every target-type set is reviewed for legal approval. So it's part of the process. And I'm pretty proud of our government, the fact that we do spend a lot of time checking the legality of all types of things we do, versus what Milosevic does. Once again, he is way outside anything legal.
Q: Have lawyers vetoed use of these -- these military lawyers -- have they vetoed occasionally the use of CBU-87s?
Major General Wald: Never. It's not illegal. It's totally within the law of armed conflict, and it's legal in the international community to use that weapon.
Q: Have sensor-fuzed weapons been used yet?
Major General Wald: No, they have not.
Q: Are there any political or tactical obstacles to using MLRS independent of the Apaches?
Major General Wald: Not that I know of, no.
Q:...map through May, June, July. You are ready to fight through July if the weather were very good, or...
Major General Wald: We're ready to fight until we're told not to fight. So NATO -- I think the good news story -- there's lots of them. I've had some -- I get these calls -- they won't let me take them -- from the public. They call in because they see this, and they say, "why is the press so negative about what we're doing?" It's ironic to me. I said "they're not. They're trying to report" the good news about America is we have people that report the story correctly. And quite frankly, I think they do a great job. On the other hand, not to have people call in and say "I'm worried that we're losing" or something", I'm worried that the weapons aren't working," and that's so contrary, it's unbelievable. America's doing the right thing, NATO's doing the right thing here. I think the American public knows that, and they want this to succeed.
So if it's July of '99, July of 2000, we'll do it until it succeeds.
Major General Wald: Conflict.
Q: Sir, you told us about a level of sorties that was substantially increased in the last day or so. Is that a function of the weather? Is Day 50 some sort of milestone that we planned a dramatic increase in the level?
Major General Wald: No, it isn't; 50 had nothing to do with it. I didn't even know it was 50 until somebody mentioned it. But it has to do both with the weather -- it has to do with the fact that we don't have to fly a certain type of sortie as much, maybe as much CAP. We can transfer some of those aircraft that flew combat air patrol to dropping bombs. It has to do with the fact that we're concentrating on the forces in the field. Some of the intermediate objectives have kind of partially been met. We've taken out a lot of his LOCs, so we don't have to concentrate quite as much on that any more. So we can transfer the effort over. And just like the campaign, this is a campaign that has a plan to it, and it's going right down the road as General Clark has planned it.
Q: Is it a function too that you've got more tankers on station that constantly refuel...
Major General Wald: When that happens it will only increase more.
Press: Thank you.