DoD News Briefing, Tuesday, May 18, 1999 - 2:10 p.m.
Also Participating: Major General Chuck Wald, J-5
Related briefing slides
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon.
Let me start and give you a few details about the release of the two EPWs, former EPWs -- enemy prisoners of war -- today at the border between Hungary and Yugoslavia.
There wasn't press coverage of this because, as some of you may know, Article 13 of the Geneva Convention says: "Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity." So there was no press coverage for the turnover.
Q: Where do we fall into that?
Mr. Bacon: Maybe in many of them. Simultaneously.
First of all, at 2:30 p.m. Central European Time, which is 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the two former prisoners were turned over to International Committee for the Red Cross officials from Belgrade. They were escorted by ICRC officials and U.S. officials to the border and then turned over to ICRC officials based in Belgrade. The transfer occurred at a town near Horgos which is right on the border.
Basically what happened was ICRC representatives came and met them at 8:00 a.m. local time to confirm that they -- sorry, I guess it's 9:30 a.m. Central European Time -- to confirm that they did not want to remain in the West, that they in fact did want to return home. They both expressed a strong desire to return home. Then they were escorted from Germany to Budapest by plane. From there they drove down to the border and were turned over. It all happened very quickly, without incident.
With that, I'll take your questions.
Q: Ken, NATO announced today that 72, I believe it's 72 F-15s and 16s were going to be deployed in Turkey. Are those part of the 176 planes announced earlier?
Mr. Bacon: Some of them. My understanding is that of that amount, of that number, 54 are U.S. planes that will be going to Turkey and those are F-15s and F-16s, and another 18 are Turkish planes that will join in the Operation ALLIED FORCE effort, so there will be a total of 72 from Turkey and from the U.S.
Q: Are they going to be at Incirlik?
Mr. Bacon: No, they're going to be elsewhere, and we'll announce the final bed-down location later on. They probably won't leave for another week or two.
Q: Do you know when Turkey is going to get involved in this operation with those planes as you mentioned?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know exactly. You should ask the Turkish government when they plan to get involved with new planes. But our planes won't be there until next month or so.
Q: The United States over the Aegean, did you have any discussion with the Greeks how they can coordinate the whole thing, this cooperation?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that that's been an issue.
Q:...of the A-10s are I believe going to Italy. Eighteen were announced, I believe. Where are they coming from, and what is the number of A-10s now, and will this now negate the need for the Apaches with more A-10s going into the mix?
Mr. Bacon: The 18 A-10s I announced yesterday, I believe, are now in Italy. They are coming from Reserve, Air National Guard units in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Idaho. Six each from units in those states. And they will certainly add to the firepower we're bringing against forces on the ground in Kosovo.
Q: Do you think they will negate the need for the Apaches?
Mr. Bacon: I don't know whether they'll negate the need. You'll notice, I'm sure, today that the President spoke about the good work that the A-10s are doing and said that as long as the weather remains as it is and our forces remain as effective as they've been that the A-10s may be able to do the work that the Apaches were sent there to do.
But the Apaches are there and if they need to be used, they will be used.
Q: Ken, you said all along that the Apaches will be used at the appropriate time.
Mr. Bacon: Right.
Q: If you have these additional fixed wing aircraft in the region and the weather remains good, is it possible that the Apaches won't be needed at all?
Mr. Bacon: I guess I can't speculate about that. We've always said that they would be used at the appropriate time against the appropriate targets.
Q: Wasn't the original reason they were dispatched was because of the difficulty in hitting targets in very poor weather conditions?
Mr. Bacon: They were dispatched at a time when we were being weathered out on a substantial number of sorties over Kosovo. Because of the bad weather, we got somewhat of a slow start in attacking forces in the field, on the ground in Kosovo. Since then two things have happened, since March 24th. The weather's improved, and as you see from General Wald's charts up here every day -- in fact that one right there -- it will get progressively better as we get into the summer. But also we have successfully suppressed or more successfully suppressed the Yugoslav air defense system, and therefore, we've been able to fly more places more often and hit more targets with less risk. Those two factors, suppression of the air defenses systematically and gradually over a long period of time and improving weather, have made it possible for us to attack much more effectively targets on the ground in Kosovo.
Q: The British and the French are pressing for the use of ground forces. The Germans and the Italians disagree, and they insist only limited air operations. Could you please clarify your position. General Clark is talking about peace operation plan consisting of 28,000 troops.
Mr. Bacon: Let me separate what you said into two categories. The first is the general question of ground troops, and the second is the so-called KFOR or Kosovo Peace Implementation Force.
In terms of ground forces, our position is very clear. We are not planning to use ground forces. We don't have an intention of deploying ground forces as part of an invasion force into Kosovo. We are intensifying, we -- NATO -- are intensifying the air campaign, and we are having increasingly good results.
Yesterday, we took out more than a dozen artillery pieces -- I think 18 -- three helicopters, made more progress against elements of the integrated air defense system, hit a MiG-29 and another MiG-21 on the ground. I think he's down now to two or three MiG-29s. And remember, we've been hitting these on the ground. They haven't been flying. They haven't engaged for weeks and weeks. So we are making significant progress against the forces on the ground.
The second part of your question deals with the peace implementation force. NATO is in the process of reviewing what that force should be. The initial plan was for a force of 28,000 people, and that would go in to enforce a peace -- not to invade, not to create a peace, but to enforce a peace. NATO is in the process of increasing the size of that force, because they've decided that given all the changes that have taken place in Kosovo it's likely we'll need a larger force. Those numbers aren't clear yet, but the numbers of 45,000 to 50,000 have been floated around, and I don't have any disagreement with those numbers. But NATO is still working on that number now.
Q: Ken, could you fill us in briefly on the Tantawi meeting. What was discussed with Tantawi and whether they came to any kind of agreements on anything. Did they just discuss the Middle East in general? Did they touch on the peace process?
Mr. Bacon: They certainly touched on the prospects, the enhanced process for progress, the Middle East peace process after the election results in Israel. They reviewed our defense cooperation. I don't think there were any new agreements beyond what we announced back in Cairo several months ago.
Q: Did the Yugoslav prisoners of war share any information with the U.S. that could be useful in a war crimes prosecution?
Mr. Bacon: As I said yesterday, these men were given a chance to talk to the ICTY and they chose not to. The Geneva Convention specifically bars coercion in cases like this, and we did not coerce them in any way. They were given the opportunity. They discussed it with the ICRC representatives. They decided that they did not want to meet with any representatives of the Tribunal, and therefore they did not.
Q: What's the status of the Stop Loss? Are any of the services going to invoke that?
Mr. Bacon: The Air Force probably will, and they're still working on the details. I don't think it will be done this week, but it could be. They're still sorting that out.
Q: Across the board or particular skills...
Mr. Bacon: I think I'll wait for them to finish their work on it. One of the reasons it's taking so long is that it's not easy. So they're in the process of sorting out the details.
Q: One clarification of the turnover. Did any of the U.S. representatives, military or otherwise, cross the border into Yugoslavia when the former POWs were turned over? Or was it all on the Hungarian side?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that any U.S. people crossed into Yugoslavia. Basically, we were escorting them down there. We provided transportation, air transportation to Budapest, and then there was a van provided. I think it was arranged by the Embassy, I'm not sure, by the U.S. Embassy, a van to transport them from the airport to this town of Horgos or near Horgos. And I think we watched as they were escorted across the border by the International Committee for the Red Cross representatives, and then picked up by other ICRC representatives who had come up from Belgrade.
Q: Have there been any recent shipments of oil into, by sea, into Yugoslavia? And what's the progress of setting up the "Search and Visit" regime?
Mr. Bacon: My recollection is the last shipment was May 3rd, and it was a relatively small shipment. I believe that "Visit and Search" could be through the North Atlantic Council this week. I think it's out of the Military Committee now, and it's been sent to the North Atlantic Council or the NAC for final approval. I would anticipate that it could be done by the end of this week.
Q: With the additional war planes you announced yesterday and today that will be going, are there any additional Reserve call-ups?
Mr. Bacon: Nothing major. We actually announced most of the Reserve call-ups several weeks ago. There could be more in the future, but right now there have just been minor dribs and drabs. I think we're up now to a little over 5,000 Reservists have been called up. A little less than 5,000. That's where we've been for awhile.
Q: Ken, there had been some discussions several weeks ago about Serb generals under house arrest, six to nine of them, and there have been periodic, other reports of dissension within the military ranks. Is there any confirmed reporting on any of this? Any additional cracks in the military leadership?
Mr. Bacon: There is additional reporting of more generals under house arrest. One of the things we're trying to sort out [is] whether this is a recycling of an earlier report through various channels or whether these are really new people. But there just recently have been reports of more generals being under house arrest for opposing various military plans or speaking out in various ways. We're trying to get more details on that, obviously.
Second, there do seem to be a number of other signs of difficulty. Some are not too surprising. One is, for instance, that many reservists, particularly in Montenegro, are refusing call-up. They have been leaving the country and going into Serbia, the Republic of Serbska. That's not surprising, because Montenegro is a relatively independent state, and so the Montenegrans probably have a lower commitment to this than the people in Serbia would.
Second, we continue to get reports, and these are sometimes hard to confirm, of rising desertion rates, and we're trying to get more details on that.
I'm sure you saw today news accounts of anti-war demonstrations in two Yugoslav cities. At one they were, they came to a ceremony to bid goodbye to reservists who had been called up, and there was a demonstration by about 1,000 people demanding that the mayor stop the reservists from leaving the town, and protesting the fact that the reservists had been called up and were leaving.
In another town people chanted: "We want sons, not coffins." So there does seem to be the beginning of public demonstrations in Yugoslavia against the war that's going on and the increasing price that the Serb military is paying under the bombing campaign.
Q: Ken, has the power grid, the civilian power grid, become a target of NATO? There was, I believe, three or four days ago some of the grid was taken out in Novi Sad.
Mr. Bacon: We have attacked the power grid from time to time. It is a target. And we'll continue to do that. Power remains out in parts of Yugoslavia. We have operated on the assumption that certain military systems can't operate effectively without power, certainly computers can't, some of the air traffic control and maybe some of the air defense system can't operate as well without power. So we will continue to attack the power system as appropriate.
Q: Thank you.
Mr. Bacon: You're welcome.
General Wald, this is an acclamation for you.
Q: We want Wald. We want Wald.
[Charts available at http://www.defenselink.mil/#slides]
Major General Wald: Thank you, Mr. Aldinger.
[Chart- Weather Conditions]
The weather as predicted this morning, we said yesterday, and then through the early part of today, has been not as good as we had hoped for, but it has improved, and it looks like it should start improving throughout the afternoon and tomorrow. But this yellow part here actually only shows scattered type clouds, so it's not necessarily bad all over to fly. So only a small portion of Belgrade, that northern area, and then some in the south has been affected. But over the next couple of days a little bit of clouds coming through. I'll show you some film of that in just a moment.
Q: Is that the Rockies or the Grand Tetons there, General?
Major General Wald: Those are getting to be more and more like smaller mountains as the summer comes up.
Q: (inaudible) The 10,000, 8,000 what...
Major General Wald: Let's go back. Ivan, I've got a special chart for you after this I'll show you.
What this shows is from zero to 100 percent of good flying, and this is actually 100. It should have the zero gone. But 100 percent of flying weather being good, and these numbers were additive here. There should be a decimal point in there, so it will be 100 percent, etc. We were hoping you wouldn't catch that.
Q: Could you take just one point and interpret?
Major General Wald: For example, right here 100 percent of the area probably is flyable for targeting. There are some scattered clouds possibly in some of those areas. Maybe a thunderstorm or something.
In this area here there would be portions of Yugoslavia and possibly Kosovo that would be non-usable. As we know during the weekend, we had some bad weather. So down here is probably around 25 percent of the area was usable for flying.
In these areas here, almost -- right here is 100 percent over the FRY in Kosovo will be good flying weather. Clear.
So you see this yellow and green is mostly good flying area. There are some scattered broken clouds in some of these areas, some thunderstorms. But right in here it would be overcast and you probably wouldn't have very good weather.
Q:...too technical. You have a percentage cutoff of scattered vice broken vice overcast?
Major General Wald: The way it normally works is if you have -- half the weather is cloudy, that's called broken. So it would be 50 percent. That's where you get into this 50 percent up here. So even in this red area it may only be 50 percent of the time it's bad.
[Chart- Level of Effort- Day 55]
Mr. Bacon alluded to this a little bit yesterday. In spite of the fact the weather wasn't as good as it's been, still 41 targets struck across the spectrum of command and control, sustainment, air defense, mobility. Forces on the ground were 19. But I might say that over here in artillery, one of those targets had 12 artillery pieces in it, so it only counted for one. Others had two or three. Several vehicles, APCs, a couple of tanks. Mr. Bacon mentioned a MiG-29, MiG-21, I'll show you those. And three we thought hit -- they're smaller than that -- helicopters were attacked. And a lot of the attacks were down in the southwest area of Kosovo where we've been concentrating. A few LOCs continue to be struck, and I'll show you some of those today.
[Chart- Refugees in Theater]
Not very much movement out of the FRY, or Kosovo I should say, for refugees. The FYROM still has some of their refugee population departing to overseas sites. Albania as well has just a little bit of a plus-up. Montenegro.
In Albania I understand there's about 300,000 of the refugees are in homes in Albania, which is about five percent of the Albanian population actually has taken in refugees. And some of the other places are doing the same.
[Chart- PROVIDE REFUGEE- Refugee Status]
Fort Dix continues to take in refugees. About 93 of them are moving out to private homes and areas today, and the ones coming into JFK continue to go direct to families. They're still looking at a maximum of about 4,200. They've opened up another area in Fort Dix called the Hamlet area. So they're handling the refugees in a good way there, and they should start moving out more and more into private homes and families over the next few weeks.
[Chart- Operation SUSTAIN HOPE- Last 24 Hours]
Camp Hope now has 1,148 folks in it. By the end of the month it will have about 2,500. Camp Eagle, the second one, has been identified. It's just south of the existing camp here. Then Camp Liberty, the third one, they're still siting the location for that. And I've mentioned the refugees leaving Fort Dix today.
[Photo- Batajnica Petroleum Prod Stor 1 Afld, Serbia- Pre Strike] [Photos avaiolable at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/#Operation+Allied+Force]
Here's some imagery. This is Batajnica petroleum production storage at an airfield in Serbia. You can see some pumping houses here. They're actually storage tanks under the ground here. I'll show you that on the next slide.
[Photo- Batajnica Petroleum Prod Stor 1 Afld, Serbia- Post Strike]
You can see it's been attacked. The buildings are all gone. You can see the actual outline of the tanks, which are hard to find, obviously, and we did, and actually hit those. Now they've been destroyed as well. So even the petroleum storage that is hidden underground or in other areas we're finding now, and it's really starting to take down his ability to refuel.
Major General Wald: Just underground.
Q: Does that mean you struck the tanks themselves, were penetrated through the earth?
Major General Wald: Yes. The actual tanks were under the dirt, and we knew where they hit it and those tanks have then been destroyed.
Q: Are those the tanks you see there or...
Major General Wald: These are actually outlines of where there used to be dirt, and you can see the dirt has collapsed into the tank itself, so it was covered under the ground. These pumping houses, of course, were gone. You can see several other strikes along there. Batajnica has been taking a severe beating.
Q: (inaudible), can you tell us?
Major General Wald: Those probably were just normal laser-guided bombs with a delayed fuse on them.
Q: How do you find the tanks underground?
Major General Wald: There's a lot of ways to find different things. I'm not going to talk about it.
Q:...ground-penetrating radar? (Laughter)
Major General Wald: I'm not going to talk about intel sources, but there are various ways to find that out.
[Photo- Prokuplje Ammunition Depot, Serbia- Post Strike]
Major General Wald: This was the Prokuplje ammunition depot. These are just some areas here -- the reason I show this is some of the smaller ammo sites in Kosovo itself, we're finding those. These would be for local supply of the VJ/MUP that are deployed into the field. As we get those, we're starting to take those out as well, which is really degrading his ability to resupply his ammunition.
[Photo- Leskovac Army Garrison and Ammo Depot SW, Serbia]
These I showed a few weeks ago, these buildings. They were ammunition storage in Leskovac army garrison and ammo depot in southwest Serbia. There was one building left, [and we]went back and took that out. Now that's destroyed. There was probably ammunition in that because the building's totally destroyed.
[Photo- Rudnik Milicija Station, Serbia- Post Strike]
The Rudnik Milicija station in Serbia. Once again, this was a MUP headquarters area. You can see there were other buildings there that had been struck earlier. Then there were several buildings here that have burned out. But there are other ones that are standing, so those were probably Serb buildings of some sort. They're in the middle of those. This headquarters here was struck and destroyed. Nothing left.
[Photo- Belgrade Army Garrison Avala Mt.. Serbia- Post Strike]
Belgrade army garrison, Avala Mountain. Once again, some of their barracks areas are taken out. These buildings have been destroyed. This one sustained some collateral. That's an army barracks that's being hit.
It all adds up where they either have no place to go back to, or they have no ammunition, or their fuel's being taken away.
On the film today, these are all mostly from yesterday. There's a couple earlier from the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. But we'll go through sustainment, fuel, their hardware, some bridges.
First, the weather from yesterday. This is the prediction up to today. You'll see where Kosovo is, and of course, you know what the legend is for the clouds. It was better early on; then as we predicted last night it started getting bad. It moves across, and it stayed pretty much as predicted, then started -- right at the end of this you can see it start clearing up in the Kosovo area. In fact, it was a little bit better than that, fortunately.
The cycle now will be mostly clear with some thunderstorms in the afternoon. This is the weather as of this morning with the satellite imagery. You can see there are some clouds in here, some embedded, but that, as we predicted, is starting to clear up a little bit better as we speak.
First, we'll talk about the LOCs, lines of communication. We continue to take down his bridges.
The Velika Plana highway bridge in central Serbia. This one, the bomb goes between two roads on this bridge and goes off underneath it. Probably does some damage underneath, but it wouldn't be considered destroyed.
There's another bridge at Popovac highway bridge in southwest Serbia, southeast Serbia, I should say. This one's been attacked several times before. You can see the craters, but it wasn't dropped. This will have four bombs go on it, and now it's been dropped.
So his ability to move back and forth is being hindered significantly.
Sustainment. Armored vehicles. This one was being refueled yesterday. The best he can do now is try to get out to his vehicles and try to refuel them. You can see to refuel it, (inaudible). There's a tank under here. That's been hit. The refueler for sure was destroyed. The tank probably sustained some damage.
Leskovac ammunition depot. This is a Spanish EF-18 dropping a 1,000-pound GBU-16 bomb. His ability to resupply for ammunition is being hurt in a big way. That obviously had some ammunition in it. It's burning.
His IADS, we continue to take those down more and more.
This is an SA-6 transport erector launcher, yesterday, with an F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. You can see where the transporter had moved, where the tracks are. It's a large explosion. You can see under here in -- just a moment -- you'll see the actual, one of the SAMs cooking off. There were several SAMs on that launcher that blew up with it. You can see it pinwheeling there. So it's doubtful that was a dummy.
Transporter erector launcher, another one. This is a little ways from that one, a few miles. Once again you can see the road, the tracks going up to it. You can see the actual missiles on the launcher. Another large explosion.
So his best SAMs, his SA-6s, are being destroyed. His SA-3s are way down. We continue to take those out.
This is a mobile anti-aircraft gun, probably 23-or 37-millimeter. Dug in just a little bit. F-16 with an LGB. More than likely destroyed.
Another AAA site, anti-aircraft sift in central Kosovo. Another F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. This one you can see the revetment a lot better.
This one lands about four feet, maybe three or four feet long. Probably destroys the gun. 2,000-pound bomb. Not much chance to survive from that.
Forces on the ground, continue to attack them. This is a VJ/MUP staging building in eastern Kosovo. This is an F-14 Tomcat off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. You can see the staging area in the tree line.
You can see the same bomb burning in the next photo -- another F-14, his wingman. Revetted position in eastern Kosovo. You can see the top bomb went off earlier, and then you'll see the revetted area down below that's attacked by this with a GBU-16 again, 1,000-pound bomb.
This is the Vokodzon border post. We continue to take their border posts out. These are areas they adjust artillery from or watch for UCK movement. They're systematically taking their border posts out as well.
MiG-21 on a road. This is not on the airfield; it's near Batajnica, but they've moved it out to a highway road. We were fortunate to find it. An F-15E with an AGM-130. You can see the outline gets very clear. It's covered with a tarp. Direct hit.
MiG-29 yesterday. Another one. They moved it out on the highway road next to the airfield. AGM-130 off an F-15E. You can see it under the cursor. A direct hit right on the cockpit area. A 2,000-pound bomb, so that's destroyed. And if they're decoys, they're spending a lot of time making decoys that look exactly like real airplanes.
This is three helicopters last night. They were attacked earlier by MK-82 500-pounders. This is an F-16 with an LGB. They're smaller helicopters. They're trying to do anything they can to resupply and work-around. They were found. This bomb lands right on the pad, and I'm sure if there were three helicopters there, there are not any more.
Any questions today?
Q: B-1s, B-2s, mix?
Major General Wald: I don't believe there were any B-2s last night. The B-1s and B-2s are continuing to fly when the time's right.
Major General Wald: Right. B-52s last night as well.
Q: General, the air campaign is (unintelligible)?
Major General Wald: No, I said full effort.
Q: Twenty-four hours?
Major General Wald: Of course.
Q: To what extent did the retargeting process that General Jumper walked us through Friday, to what extent did that contribute to your ability to destroy SA-6s on the run and those tanks that are buried underground and the AAA batteries?
Major General Wald: The way all the -- all of those for sure. But the fighters for sure -- they'll have aircraft on tankers actually driving around the Adriatic behind a tanker refueling to stay topped off, which gives them almost immediate access to the AOR if something is found. As you can imagine, instead of having to be on the ground on alert, go out to the aircraft, get in, start up, fly to the area and refuel, which takes some time, they're actually keeping aircraft on the tankers in the Adriatic, and then when they find a target in Kosovo or the FRY via various methods, means, they're able to real-time data-modem information to the cockpit of the F-15, including a photograph if it's available. The pilot will see that with the exact GPS coordinates; they will fly to the target, and then destroy it. So it's about as fast as you're going to get. That actually worked yesterday.
Major General Wald: The MiGs. Both the MiG-29 and 21.
Q: I think you told us, but including the loiter time, what's the average hourly length of a mission?
Major General Wald: They all vary. As a matter of fact some of the tanker sorties from Moron, Spain -- that's 1,800 miles away, so they're fairly long -- but some of the combat air patrol sorties are upwards of seven hours. Some of the forward air control sorties are around five hours. If you have a mission where you went out and hit a target almost immediately and then landed because you didn't have any bombs left, that would probably be about two hours long. But most of them are probably four or five. Off the carrier -- I talked to them -- their average sortie length is about four or five hours long.
Q: General, it's been a couple of weeks since you've been saying in these briefings that you've been focusing more attention on troops inside Kosovo, I guess what you would consider tactical or interdiction targets.
Now that it's been a little bit of time since what may have been the peak of the strategic bombing campaign, can you give some kind of assessment on what you feel the strategic bombing accomplished as far as military effectiveness, and also as far as achieving political goals here?
Major General Wald: Well, first of all, the strategic bombing is not over, as I showed you earlier. None of that is. So I would just say the increase in the OPSTEMPO -- we were able to now focus lot more on forces on the ground because of the fact that we've built a little better local air superiority in. But the strategic campaign is not over. We continue with that.
And from a political standpoint, I can't speak to what political success we've had. That would primarily be on Milosevic's side. But I can tell you from the standpoint of taking his military down, it's a significant hit on his military capability and continues to be. So at some point it's degrading his front-line fighters, for example, his MiG-29s. He had 14. There's probably two or three left at the most. And you go down the road on that, and that's the way a lot of his forces are starting to end up. So I really can't speak to the political side of it.
Are these the first MiGs you've found on a highway somewhere?
Major General Wald: No, that's happened a couple of times. I think this was the second or third time so far.
Q: Why do you speculate they're being moved out of there? The airfields are gone, or just trying to hide them from...
Major General Wald: I think they're hiding them, and maybe thinking they might have a chance to get off on a real long straight strip of road of some sort. But whether they get airborne or not, they're going to die if we find them.
Q: General, yesterday I asked you a series of questions about the common perceptions about the military campaign. I want to ask you another one today which is, if it turns out that because of the clearing weather and the suppressed air defenses the Apaches are not used because the commander decides they're not needed, some people are going to interpret that as a failure or interpret it as the Apaches were not used because they were, NATO was afraid to use them because of the fear of casualties.
Can you just address that perception that some people may have?
Major General Wald: I can tell you there's no fear on the Apache pilots' part whatsoever of flying. And just like we said before, any weapon we think we need to use against a certain type of target that we have, we'll use it at the appropriate time.
So I would say it's up to the commander in the field to make that determination when the time is right, and if we're fortunate enough that Milosevic says, "I quit now," and we don't have to use all the systems we have, all the better. But at the right time, the right weapon, the right environment, everything we have will be used in the proper time.
Q: General, (unintelligible) Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, Mr. Bacon, that the (unintelligible) to use Turkey's bases against Serbia. I'm wondering how you are going to (unintelligible) the strategic guns that exist over the Aegean Sea due to the Greek/Turkish (unintelligible). Do you have any concrete plan under consideration to overcome this problem during the attack in the process?
Major General Wald: As far as the Greek/Turkish...
Major General Wald: From what I understand, as these basing rights are approved and the countries approve those, these are all done in the NATO context, and from what I understand, there's no problem with any of the plans that have been drawn up to this point for using any of the bases.
I know Greece and Turkey as being a part of NATO are supporting this. We've had in the past, as you know, aircraft flying out of Greece at different places, and we have aircraft flying out of Turkey for NORTHERN WATCH. So from an alliance standpoint, from what I understand from a military planning standpoint now, there's no problem with any of the airspace we've asked for.
Q: So for any operation to this direction over the Aegean there is not any problem?
Major General Wald: I don't know of the exact route of flight they're going to take. So from what I understand right now, the planning is en-route and we haven't been told "no" by anybody to use anything. Whether it's Aegean airspace, I don't know that for a fact. So if they've said that, that's all the better. But I'm not sure of the route they take from Turkey anyway.
Q: General, some of the planes that carry guided bombs, when they run into weather and they can't get the lasers through the clouds, they're able to drop those bombs ballistically. Can you describe, first, the general difference in accuracy between a guided bomb and a ballistically dropped bomb? And second, what in general are the ROEs that enable something like that? What conditions have to be met in order to do that.
Major General Wald: First of all, we probably wouldn't drop a laser-guided bomb without the laser. We could. You can do it just like another ballistic bomb, but it's probably not worth it, unless there's a really important target out there. And generally speaking, that doesn't happen. I don't think I can remember a time when we dropped an LGB ballistically.
Q: There were pilots last week who dropped GBU-10s ballistically.
Major General Wald: It could happen. The way you'd do that -- the second part of your question was how do you do it with accuracy. With the F-16 in this case, which I'm more familiar with, there's a computer-controlled system in the aircraft that has GPS -- Global Positioning Satellite -- inputs as well as internal navigation system input that tells you when you're at the exact right place to drop the bomb. With that type of delivery, the bombs are very, very accurate. We're talking instead of several feet of accuracy, probably in the category of maybe 10 meters or 15 meters. So the accuracy is still very good.
Depending on the type of target you hit, if you need a weapon that would hit the target exactly right on it because of the type of target, that probably wouldn't be a good idea. If it were say a fuel tank of some sort that's a little bit bigger and probably 30 or 40 feet across, that might be a good idea to try to use that type of weapon. But they would, once again, match the weapon to the target, and whether they thought they would have success on that target with that weapon; and then still taking into consideration all the collateral damage issues that you would have to take into consideration, they would know this before they got airborne, whether or not they could go to a backup.
The one thing about lasers is the bombs on one aircraft can match to the bomb laser designator on another aircraft just by a small cockpit adjustment on your computer. So you can dial in exactly which bomb you want to be lased, whether it's yours or your wingman's, you know what that is. So there are work-arounds. That's why we do that with FACs and other things sometimes.
Q: General, what is responsible for the very low outflow of refugees at the present time? Is that the Serbs that are locking the gates, so to speak?
And secondly, have you noticed any place else where refugees are being used to shield a particular target that's...
Major General Wald: The departure of the refugees, speculating why is Milosevic or the VJ/MUP -- I'm not even sure he has total control over his folks in the field totally all the time or not, but why they're doing this, I don't know. But it has nothing to do with Albania or anybody else closing the borders to refugees. So it's a Milosevic problem.
As far as human shields or seeing any other ones, I haven't seen any other evidence other than what Mr. Bacon has already talked about.
Press: Thank you.