Also participating in this briefing is Maj. Gen. Charles F. Wald, vice director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Staff, (J-5).
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome to the briefing.
Just one announcement here, which is that Secretary Cohen will deliver tomorrow, in Maine, the keynote address at the christening of the Navy's newest guided missile destroyer which will become the USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL. That's 1:00 p.m. tomorrow at Bath Ironworks. His wife, Janet Langhart Cohen, as well as Lady Mary Soames, the daughter of the former British Prime Minister, are the co-sponsors of the ship. If you need more information, the Navy has more on the details of that.
I'll turn this over to General Wald in a minute.
They announced at NATO last night -- today they announced that it was a busy day last night. There were approximately 300 strikes, about 35 of them were -- there were 300 sorties, approximately 35 percent were strike sorties. So out of the total of 300 sorties, about 35 percent were strikes.
To date we've had about 8,000 sorties and a little over 20 percent have been strike sorties.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Good afternoon.
The weather again, as I mentioned yesterday, has been a little bit less than green. It's still yellow, but there were a lot of sorties, as Mr. Bacon just mentioned a minute ago. Today they're flying quite a few sorties as well, but the weather is starting to close in a little bit. But as I said in the past, you never know as this goes along whether there will be holes there, or not, and they'll employ all-weather weapons as necessary.
You've probably been wondering how many aircraft are involved, and have a lot of questions there. From the U.S. aircraft alone, there's over 227 fighters and bombers; 219 support; 17 reconnaissance -- which is 463 total.
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, led by Rear Admiral Winston Copeland, is in the Adriatic flying combat sorties, and doing a great job. He has cruisers and destroyers in that battle group. Then you can see [on this chart] the other U.S. naval contributions there.
Q: Does the aircraft include the 82 deployed last week or ordered deployed?
Maj. Gen. Wald: That does.
Allied forces are contributing 190 in total. The array of fighter support comes from those countries listed. Also there are two allied aircraft carriers in the Adriatic -- one from the UK and one from France. The other naval assets [are] as shown.
Over the last two days, over 57 different targets throughout the FRY and Kosovo and Montenegro [were struck]. I'll show some video on some airfields in Pristina. We hit the airfield in Podgorica last night with naval air, and did a great job. I'll have some video of that tomorrow.
[We hit] the same array of forces across the spectrum, with a lot of concentration in Kosovo. As I mentioned earlier, several tanks again today, and yesterday, and I'll go through a little bit of that in a minute.
Q: How many (inaudible)?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Yesterday I think there was a total of about four or five. Today I heard there's upwards to eight to ten so far.
In Kosovo itself yesterday, this type of aircraft flying ground attack missions against these type of assets. They destroyed over the last couple of days tanks, artillery pieces, MiG-21s at Pristina, and AAA pieces. This is the general area where they're hitting. Not exactly the same spots, but generally.
On one package, for example, yesterday there were over 100 aircraft involved, of which about 50 strikers and the other 50 were suppression of enemy air defense, combat air patrol, etc. So the packages are large that are going in.
Q: Do you have any numbers that go with those types of targets? How many tanks, how many artillery pieces?
Maj. Gen. Wald: No, I don't right now.
Q: In the one where over 100 were involved, is that a strategic target or is that ground forces, tanks...
Maj. Gen. Wald: These are throughout, in Kosovo itself, on different...
Q: The package you were talking about...
Maj. Gen. Wald: It's not all one package at one time, it's during a period of time, maybe an hour, where these aircraft would come and go. And normally the aircraft are operating in pairs too, so you can imagine the different types, and the amounts of targets they're trying to service. Every aircraft does not attack a target, but most of them do.
Just a rehash of where we are doing for the last 22-23 days. On integrated air defense, and kind of a reminder that's SAMs, airfields, army airfields, SAM storage and early warning sites throughout Kosovo, the FRY and Montenegro, you can see the array of where we're going against him, the integrated air defense. The integrated air defense, once again, is very comprehensive. It's not just their SAMs, but it's their command and control as well.
The VJ and MUP, army and police forces both, much of it in Kosovo obviously, but throughout the FRY, barracks, support and fielded forces.
Command and control, communications. Some of their strategic command and control nodes have been hit, both in the north and south, and these radio relay sites because of the terrain are very important to them because of the ability to bounce back and forth across the terrain, so we're taking those out as well.
Infrastructure and sustainment, as mentioned earlier. Both their main fuel production and petroleum production facilities are not operating at this time. And then their main fuel, some of their strategic storage and other production throughout the area, ammunition production, bridges as well. [We are] systematically taking down their ability to sustain and resupply.
Going to humanitarian next.
Q: On the VJ and MUP forces, do each of those symbols represent a given size unit?
Maj. Gen. Wald: No, they don't. They just represent a place where a military unit of some sort either had a barracks or were located.
Not a lot of change on the displaced personnel. At this time up to 1.5 million, and Turkey has taken in about 5,500 over the last 24 hours.
The contributions internationally is growing. Fifty-four different individual nations and entities now. Nearly 4,200 short tons of food, almost 2,000 tons of shelter, bedding, etc. So there's adequate -- there's not enough, obviously, to sustain, but at this time the refugees that are external to Kosovo are being cared for with food and shelter.
Tirane, at 366,000 HDRs; and Skopje, 354,000. Tirane was initially planned to have 500,000, Skopje 600,000. We discussed a day or two ago that there was a request for MREs. That's been turned off because the humanitarian daily rations factory has been reestablished. By the end of April they should have 200,000, and then they'll be in full production after that. So there should be plenty of humanitarian daily rations.
Q: Where is that, do you know?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I think it's in Natick (sic) [McAllen, Texas; Evansville, Indiana; Mullens, South Carolina].
U.S. contributions are still 112,000 out of the first group of HDRs that we were going to send into Albania, in Ancona, ready to ship. There were 60,000 shipped yesterday; and into Macedonia about 250,000. There were nearly 70,000 shipped there. So the flights continue into the refugee camps. Since it started there's been 37 helicopter flights from the INCHON into Kukes. There were two yesterday, but there are numerous other helicopter flights that go in from various places, from France, Austria, the UNHCR and the International Red Cross. So they continue to bring food into the refugee camps, as well as sustainment for shelter and bedding, etc.
Next we'll show some images of some BDA. First is a SAM support facility. This is in central Serbia. This facility was one of their sustainment facilities for repair and replacement. That's destroyed.
The Belgrade tank garrison for both maintenance and storage and the two main buildings for maintenance have been destroyed. That's shut down.
Pristina Radrel -- I showed a picture of this or imagery from gun-camera two days ago with an AGM-130, hitting this building. This is the imagery of the destruction of the building itself -- the main support building and the antenna's laying down. That's been put out of business.
I mentioned we're going after their airfields as well. Pristina airfield. This was before; then after we hit two of their large maintenance and support buildings. It looks like some of the aircraft here were probably damaged to the point where they can't fly.
Q: Are those the Super Galebs?
Maj. Gen. Wald: No, those are not the Super Galebs. Those look like straight winged, more of a civilian type aircraft.
Many of the bridges are going down. This was taken out by the Navy. It's a bridge over the Morava River. You can see the span here is dropped into the water, so it's unusable.
This is a village in Iglarevo. What I want to show here is that it's been pretty much burned out. You see some fires still going on, the smoke, but all the tops of the houses are gone, and as was described a couple of days ago, they're systematically burning the villages as they push the refugees out.
Another one missile yesterday near Racai, southwestern Kosovo. You can see there are several buildings still on fire. Some are burning in here. So the reports of them pushing the refugees down to the southwest out of Kosovo and then burning the villages is apparent via these images.
We have some gun-camera film now. I have 14 films I'll show today.
First is another early warning site in Pristina. This is a cluster bomb attack on an early warning site, F-15E. You'll see in the bottom, the bombs will start going off and they've shut down this earning warning site with this attack -- CBU-87.
Next is an explosive storage facility at Pristina. This was a Navy F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
This is the ammo storage. There will be several of these in a row in Pristina that were hit the day before yesterday. You can see the bomb in the circle coming in, and there were several large explosions in this area that were secondaries.
There were three long ammunitions buildings at Pristina that they were going after, and they destroyed all three.
I'll get to the next two in a minute.
Kosovska Mitrovica ammunition depot building. [Here is an] F-16 with a laser-guided bomb. This is in northern Kosovo. It's a night mission. And [there was] a fairly good secondary [explosion] showing there was some ammunition in that building.
Once again, another ammunition depot. Same area, different building. There are three bombs that go into this building at different times. This is the same shot, different angle. This was actually taken before the last one. You'll see that there are quite a few secondaries out of this -- a large explosion, so it was obviously full of ammunition.
Another ammunition building at the same area -- another F-16 CG, laser-guided bomb. They've got a lot of ammunition, but we're taking it down systematically.
SA-6 storage facility in central Serbia. F-16 with laser-guided bomb. I showed you a picture of one of the storage buildings destroyed earlier from an SA-6. This is a different one. There are secondaries that come out of this one as well.
This is a flat-face radar which is an early warning radar used for their integrated air defense for guiding their SAMs. It's in Serbia itself. An F-16 with laser-guided bombs, and destroys the flat-face.
This is the Pecs army barracks, and [we are] going for the south wing. This is in Kosovo itself. This is an F-16. You'll see the bombs impact, and there's a large secondary here so that was obviously a little bit of a secondary. The next one is actually a larger secondary, so there must have been ammunition in some of the support buildings there.
This is the same building at the other end, or same complex of buildings, the other end of it. Same type of aircraft, different aircraft. F-16 laser-guided bomb. There's a lot of secondaries out of this one. Once again, in Kosovo itself. There's significant secondaries on this one.
So we continue to take down their sustainment.
MiG-21 at Pristina airfield. This was last night. This is an F-16. [We] continue to take down all their aircraft as well as their integrated air defense, sustainment, airfields.
That's not a decoy, as you'll see in a moment. There was a lot of fuel in it, so that's destroyed.
[This is an] F-14 off the ROOSEVELT -- again the Pristina army airfield ammo storage. This is a series of the three I mentioned earlier where they'll hit three storage areas. There's a lot of secondaries in this particular run of film. You can see the secondaries going off. These three shots in a row -- here all the buildings have been destroyed and the ammunition obviously went with it.
Once again, a Tomcat off the TR. Another one of the storage buildings in a row at Pristina, doing great work. You see the bombs come in, and once again, good secondaries.
Once again, an F-14 off the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. I understand the THEODORE ROOSEVELT is doing well. All they want is more bombs. And again, an ammo storage area. Several bombs in that, several secondaries.
So you have to start getting the impression that we're probably doing a little bit of hurt on his sustainment.
The next film I want to show you is on a TPS-70 radar. That's an early warning radar. This is an F-15E with an optically guided bomb -- AGM-130. And what I want to show you here is as this bomb comes in, it's hard to see, but as the aircrew here, the front-seater, back-seater, are directing the bomb towards the target, you'll see at the last minute they are uncomfortable with the positive ID on the target, and he pulls it off and puts it into a dump area in the trees. In pilot debriefs, they weren't sure exactly of the target, and just put it into the forest.
Q: In the scene we saw just before they diverted the bomb, it appeared to be a house, a structure.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Right. That turned out to be the correct target. So some of these targets look exactly like a house or something else, but that did turn out, and they destroyed that target later.
Q: It was what kind of target?
Maj. Gen. Wald: It was a radio relay site. Actually, it was a radar site, a TPS-70.
Q: But that's what threw them off, it looked like it could possibly be a civilian structure so they diverted the bomb.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Right.
Q: What was the weapon?
Maj. Gen. Wald: AGM-130. That was a few days ago.
Q: Has that been restruck?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Yes. I understand it has been.
Q: General, regarding the targets and the results -- the President said yesterday in front of the Society of Newspaper Editors, that he planned to or had pressed the Pentagon to start giving out more details on the results of these strikes. I wonder if that had gotten to your pay grade yet, and number two, could you tell us how many tanks, for example, the MUP and the VJ have in Kosovo, and how many have been hit?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I can't tell you. I'll answer the last one first, on how many tanks for sure have been hit. I'd rather not do that. But I can tell you their tanks, APCs, and trucks are in the several hundreds each. And as I said today, Charlie...
Q: You mean their -- APCs and trucks.
Maj. Gen. Wald: The MUP and VJ.
Q: You can't give us any idea, any percentage, any number on how many...
Maj. Gen. Wald: I'm not going to get into numbers. I'll just tell you that right now today, we've hit about five or eight. Yesterday we hit a few. So we're taking them out over time, and we have the patience to continue to take it out.
Once again, it's not just taking out those vehicles individually, it's his sustainment, his ability to resupply those vehicles, his ammunition, his food for his fielded forces. So it all adds up. So an individual number like that probably really doesn't tell you a whole lot.
Q: It would tell us a lot. It would give us the percentage. I might ask why you can't tell us that. Certainly the MUP and the VJ know how many they've lost. Why can't you tell us?
Maj. Gen. Wald: We're not sure if they do or not, Charlie. But I'm just not going to get into those numbers right now. And the fact of the matter is, we're not after specific numbers. We're out to reduce him, and he'll know when he's at the point where it's not good for him.
Q: That gives us some fairly firm concrete measure of how successful you've been so far.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Right. But what happens is, and to tell you the truth I don't even know the numbers because I haven't added them up. I don't really care what they are. But I think SACEUR knows what they are and NATO knows what they are, and he's got his plan and his timeline and he'll stick to it.
Q: Are you worried that if you tell us the number that they'll resupply more tanks and APCs into the region?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I don't think I have to tell them a number if they want to do that. They'll do that on their own. But once again, we're taking out his lines of communication, etc., so I don't think anything I say is going to change his mind, or what he's doing.
Q: Jamie Rubin in the State Department today talked about some brand new, specific evidence of atrocities, more than a couple of dozen mass graves and related evidence. What can you add to that?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I've heard some evidence of that and seen some imagery, but I'd defer to the State Department to talk to the details on that.
Q: What kind of imagery?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Some overhead imagery.
Q: General, could we -- is it time to close the book on the accidental bombing from Wednesday? What details, if any, can you give us? Can you tell us what country's aircraft was involved? Were there two aircraft that saw the target the same way as you had told us a couple of days ago?
Maj. Gen. Wald: What I can tell you is what I heard from NATO today, and quite frankly, it's best for them to actually come out with the details on that. They have the operational tactical level information, and it's really up to them to come out with the story. I think they're doing the best they can with it.
But I would go back and say, as I've said before many times, that the mission out there that we're performing in Kosovo against those type of targets is different than a mission flying against an individual strategic target someplace. All the dynamics we've gone through before with the fact that you have to identify the target clearly, you have to see it, you're getting -- in the case, I understand most of the flights, if not all of them, are being shot at. We're getting indications today again, as a matter of fact the Navy sorties last night into Podgorica airfield, there were nearly a dozen SAMs fired at them, as well as AAA including MANPADS that many times you won't even see. So the mission is complicated. They're practiced at this. They try the best they can to perform and to minimize collateral damage, but people are human.
The targets that we're trying to hit and the collateral damage that we're trying to avoid -- that collateral damage is actually Milosevic's targets, so you can put that into perspective.
Q: Can I just follow up on this? One general question and then a specific one on this idea of minimizing collateral damage.
Generally speaking, has there been any review of tactics or procedures in order to further refine the ability to identify targets in light of these recent incidents in which there may have been some civilians killed?
And the specific question would be about that AGM-130 shot that we saw. I take it that was after the incident in which an AGM-130 hit a train on a bridge, and I'm just wondering whether the F-15 pilots using that weapon, have they been instructed to be any more cautious or aware? Is that just a natural outgrowth of that unfortunate incident before.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Let me answer the last one first. That photo that I showed you today -- the irony of that is I was going to show you that photo the day the train was hit, and I decided not to because it looked like a setup, frankly. That happened before, so that's not a new tactic.
Number two is, have they refined their -- from my experience, and I assume people are doing it much the same way we did, we review the tactics every day. Every time a pilot or aircrew comes back from a mission, they review their tape. That's one of the first things they do. They individually debrief themselves. They're very critical on each other. Then cumulatively, those tactics will be reviewed and there is a procedure called the SPINs, special instructions to aircrews. Every day that comes out. They will have instructions of any modification to the mission that day. I'm obviously not going to tell you what those are, but to answer your question, it's reviewed constantly to either get better or to develop new tactics because of the threat. You learn things on these types of missions that are beneficial, and of course we share that. We pass it around.
So yes, they review those constantly. Have they changed anything because of this? I don't know. I doubt if they've changed the existing procedures at all because they've been set in stone for many, many years. The ROE is good. By the way, the rules of engagement are set by ourselves, so no, I don't think they've changed anything specifically.
Q: General, can we go back a minute to the question on the VJ and MUP and any damage that you've done to them? Is there some other way that you could help answer the question about how the strikes may have affected them? For instance, can you talk about the number of convoys that you've tried to hit, rather than the buildings. I think we're all focused on the mobile forces, the mobile weapons, and if there's any way in a more general sense you can talk about that, number of convoys again.
Maj. Gen. Wald: First of all on that Dana, I can tell you that there are several convoys that appear every day, and the day that we were talking about earlier, there was more than one convoy attacked on that day. That's as far as I'll tell you there.
Q: So several convoys each day for the last several days, or just yesterday?
Maj. Gen. Wald: There have been several convoys over the last several days, from what I understand. I haven't heard of any today, but it varies, of course. But there are convoys there and there have been many times -- not many. There have been times where convoys have not been attacked because they've been identified as civilian convoys. So there are some of those happening. Obviously that's how the refugees leave Kosovo, so...
Q: The second part of the question would be, can you -- we've asked this every day, but can you give us any examples of how the attacks on MUP or VJ targets are having an effect? Any perceptible effect yet on those fielded forces?
Maj. Gen. Wald: As we've said before, I think, for more than a week, there are indications from various sources that it is starting to affect their ability certainly to move around. It's affecting how they move around, when they move around. They're having more difficulty with fuel and I can only speculate on their morale. Obviously they haven't stopped ethnic cleansing so it hasn't stopped them from attacking innocents, but I think it certainly makes it harder for them to attack them and ethnic cleanse as easily as they thought they would before.
I can just tell you right now, I think it's having an effect. If I were on the ground with them, I'd be a little concerned.
Q: General, Jamie Shay said today that the forces were taking serious losses on the ground in Kosovo. Can you give us any sense, your best estimate, I know it is an estimate, of Serb casualties over this campaign? Is the number past 1,000? Is it in the thousands?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I haven't heard what the casualties are, frankly. As a matter of fact I haven't seen any reports on that whatsoever on individual casualties. But I suspect they're taking casualties.
Q: What's the status of -- a lot of these targets you showed us appeared to be radar and communications. What's the status of the integrated air defense system? And secondly, is there any evidence that Yugoslav aircraft have been flying in the last few days?
Maj. Gen. Wald: The integrated air defense continues to be reduced. It's only speculation as to how far that has been reduced, but their capability as it was at the beginning is not as it was in the beginning. They have a lot of work-arounds and they're working hard at trying to do that. They've been a little more willing to use actually radar systems to track aircraft with, which means they don't have the opportunity to track from various other sources, so that may be an indicator. They seem to be shooting more SAMs, which I don't know, you can speculate why that is, whether it's because he's worried about losing them or whether they feel less capable, having a more comprehensive picture. I can only speculate there. So I don't know if that answers your question.
The aircraft themselves. Once again, I haven't heard any reports of us detecting aircraft flying, but we have heard refugee reports that they've flown some aircraft. There are other various sources that say they may have flown some helicopters, but we haven't really picked any up on radar, per se.
Q: Speaking of helicopters, have the Apaches started to arrive?
Maj. Gen. Wald: They're actually en-route down through Italy. They're stair-stepping through Italy. The field at Tirane took a heavy dose of rain a day or two ago and they're moving in aluminum matting today to prepare some landing zones for the helicopters.
The estimate right now is they should start arriving Sunday and Monday.
Q: What is the nature of the daylight attacks at this point? Are they sporadic, or are there daylight attacks consistently throughout the day to the extent that they affect the operations, just the threat of those attacks affects the operations of the Serb forces?
Maj. Gen. Wald: It's pretty steady, and of course somewhat dependent on weather, but it's pretty steady, and I won't give you exactly the -- it changes all the time, which is good.
Q: Is it comparable to what happens at night? Or is it still more heavily weighted towards...
Maj. Gen. Wald: It's pretty comparable. It's pretty routine around the clock, and the pressure's kept on them all the time now.
Q: Do you have any evidence now that you and the intelligence community have had an opportunity to look at the video of the mauled civilians on the road. Do you have any evidence that this is a setup?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Once again...
Q: Looking at the video, has the intelligence community said geez, some of these pictures don't add up to an air attack?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I haven't heard that from intelligence yet. I can make my own estimate. Of course I haven't seen a lot of that, and you being media can probably estimate it better than I could. But once again, you can only speculate.
If you take a look at Milosevic's track record and the VJ and MUP track record, they're attacking civilian targets. They're attacking the civilians in Kosovo. That's their objective which is, of course, contrary to anything we've ever done before. So you can speculate that it wouldn't surprise you, but I have no factual evidence to say that's happened.
Q: One of the great controversies of the Gulf War was that several hundred Iraqi tanks escaped -- Republican Guard tanks. At this point has NATO sufficiently destroyed enough lines of communication and bridges in Kosovo to prevent a similar escape of a large number of Serb tanks and armor?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I wouldn't say they have or not, but I would say that from looking at the target array that we're hitting their bridges and roads, so I think you'd have to ask Milosevic whether he thinks he can escape or not.
Q: Is the gun-camera footage of the attacks on the convoys, and have you seen it? And if not, do you know if NATO commanders have seen it?
Maj. Gen. Wald: The gun-camera film?
Q: The controversial attacks on the convoy, yes.
Maj. Gen. Wald: From what I understand, they have the tapes and they're reviewing them.
Q: But you have not seen them yet?
Maj. Gen. Wald: No, I haven't.
Q: In the NATO briefing this morning there was disclosure that there's been fire on American planes or allied planes from Yugoslav ships parked at the piers at Montenegro. Why have those ships not been attacked?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I think that was reported in the media, right? We have no evidence that they're firing on our aircraft.
Q: I think they said that at a NATO briefing that they were firing...
Maj. Gen. Wald: I didn't hear that, and I haven't heard evidence that they're firing on us.
Q: Related to that, can you tell us what threat, if any, there is from the few submarines that the Yugoslavs have?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I think any vessel or vehicle or aircraft that has a weapon on it poses a threat. The ROE -- I think the rules are clear for the NATO individuals what they should do in individual cases. I won't speculate on whether we're going to attack any targets in the future. But once again, I can tell you that I haven't heard that they've been firing on us.
Q: General Wald, can we go back to the TV video that we're seeing of the convoys? Even though you say you could speculate, based on your expertise as a pilot and what you know happens on the ground in a bombing attack, your personal opinion. Do you see anything on that video that causes you suspicion, that makes you think gee, that doesn't look right. Maybe this is a setup?
Maj. Gen. Wald: You're talking about the TV film?
Q: The pictures we've seen on television of the result of these convoys being attacked. Anything you see there that personally makes you think mmm, this doesn't look right.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Yeah, a lot of it. I look at the film and you can probably look at it the same way, but it looks to me like two different places. I look at one film and it's at one angle with the sun and there's one building there; I look at another one, there's another building. And it's different, there's different destruction in the buildings. There's a different shape to them. One has a fire burning by it, another one doesn't. It's a tragedy, no doubt about it, however it happened. But I think you have to question the voracity of whether that film tells the true story or not.
I think, first of all, NATO's already admitted attacking a column. How that happened and what happened, they have to finally come to a conclusion on. They're working that hard. But the one thing you'll be able to I guess trust, is that when we tell you what the answer is, it will be true. You can't trust Serbian TV.
Q: Do you see anything in the pictures of the bodies that doesn't look like it quite adds up to you?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Once again, I can't tell [you] other than my personal opinion. But it looks like -- I hate to even talk about it, but as you look at some of the bodies or the dolls, it looks fairly clean. I don't know. I'm not a munitions expert, so I can only tell you from whatever personal experience I have, and maybe it's just that I'm suspicious, but it looks a little bit suspicious to me.
Q: I wanted to follow up on this idea of video not always telling the whole story.
Almost all the cockpit videos you show us show direct hits with a few exceptions like today's AGM-130. Can you show us sometimes when -- does every smart munition hit its target? We know that probably is not the case. Can you give us any idea of what percentage of these precision weapons are hitting their targets? And perhaps occasionally show us times when they don't hit in order to give us a more complete picture?
Maj. Gen. Wald: Sure. I'll be glad to. I think we've already showed a couple of them where there's been some collateral damage. One in Pristina itself where a 500-pounder off an F-15E dropped about 150 meters short. There have been some other ones that have dropped short. That happens. I think it's somewhere in the 90 percent range, but it all depends. That's over a long period of time. They should average out to 80 to 90 percent hits. But that's not based on testing so much as based on, for example, the Gulf War and during Bosnia. But there are misses.
The good news is we haven't had a lot of collateral damage. But once again, and we talked about it earlier, we're going to have collateral damage. We've had it in the past, we'll have it in the future. There's a lot of risk out there to the pilots and aircrew, but there's risk on the ground, too. But once again, this is not an exercise, this is not a game, this is for real. So if we find some that are good, we'll try to bring you in a miss or two.
Q: Just to clarify, are you getting the 90 percent accuracy rate approximately is what you're experiencing in this air campaign?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I don't know if it is now. That's an estimate. I wouldn't be able to tell you that.
Q: General, as we go after their command and control and communications, military infrastructure and so forth, have we engaged in any sort of a cyber warfare against their computer networks? And if not, why not?
Maj. Gen. Wald: First of all, truthfully, I know nothing about it, and if I did, I wouldn't talk about it. (Laughter)
Q: We all were watching very closely the Air Force F-16 pilot's debrief displayed at NATO yesterday. What's your personal opinion of his account of what happened?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I thought it was unbelievably professional and from what I understand, what he said on that tape is accurate.
Q: Did somebody hang him out to dry or what? I mean everybody in the world was reporting yesterday that he was the guy responsible for the carnage of the convoy.
Maj. Gen. Wald: I don't think anybody's saying he was responsible for that, and I think his depiction of what happened is accurate. Now once again, if you get on the ground you never know exactly -- first of all from what we've seen in the film, from what I've heard from him, and from what I heard, what his story is it has accuracy to it, but there's a lot of complexity going on there, as you know. And we're not sure. Once again, Mr. Bacon alluded to it yesterday, that there are reports of the VJ and MUP actually attacking convoys. I'm not saying that was part of this scenario, but we're not sure how long after the attack that film was taken or if there was an attack in conjunction with it or what. But I happen to know that pilot personally, and I can attest to you that he has integrity, and what he said on that tape is what he in his mind believes, and I think he did a great job.
Q: Based on everything you've looked at about that particular case, do you think this was a legitimate military strike? And do you have any evidence that this military strike caused civilian casualties?
Maj. Gen. Wald: I think his strike was a legitimate military strike, and it could or could not be that there were civilian casualties as collateral damage. Once again, we never say that we can avoid it totally, but I don't have any evidence that it was or not.
Q: General, there was an account in the Washington Post saying that in fact that pilot may not have been involved or was not involved in the controversial attack at all. It was something entirely different. I'm confused whether the pilot you know and trust had anything to do with the incident that we're talking about.
Maj. Gen. Wald: Well I'd just answer it this way. I mentioned it earlier that NATO is in the middle of a review. The good news is, if there is any good news about collateral damage, is that it's past and there's time now to, in a deliberate fashion, put all the details together and make sure it's right because we care about the story being right. So all I can say is that NATO's in the process of a review and as soon as that's done, they'll report it.
The other point is they have the data. I don't have all of it back here, and I shouldn't have it all. So we'll let the experts in the field figure out what happened.
Q: Have you spoken to that pilot or do you expect to?
Maj. Gen. Wald: No, I won't.
Q: General, if I could, go to the humanitarian aspects for a moment. I'd ask you specifically, we understand there's large groups of refugees coming out the last 24 hours. Are the exits open? Are they able to come freely from the mountains and into the refugee camps?
And the second point -- those displaced people internally that were hunkered down in the mountains. I understand the Greeks were trying to make some kind of arrangement, or some Greek NGO is to get permission to go in and feed these people. How is that progressing, or can you tell me?
Maj. Gen. Wald: On the last one, I'll let Mr. Bacon or State Department talk to that. I'm not in the middle of those type of discussions. But on the first part, I understand they do open up some of the border at some times. They're letting some out. But I wouldn't depict it as letting them out. I think they're evicting them. And when they're coming out, they're not in very good shape, so -- Ken, do you want to talk about that?
Mr. Bacon: There are basically three plans under consideration by NATO today for dealing with the problem of the internally displaced people which you've seen on the slide here could range from 250,000 up to 700,000 within Kosovo. The three plans are airdrops, opening up some sort of a corridor into Kosovo or finding a way to help non-governmental organizations such as the Greek organization to get food into the people in Kosovo.
Each one of these options has real difficulties with it, which is one of the reasons why NATO hasn't been able to focus in and adopt any one of these plans. But there is a plan under consideration in Brussels that deals with trying to find a way to get NGOs in to help the people in Kosovo.
Now one of the problems is that to get NGOs in there you probably would have to open a corridor, so two of the plans might actually combine into one plan. But this is something that NATO is addressing with some urgency. The problem is it's a big problem and there's no easy solution.
Q: Are you talking about opening a corridor possibly with ground troops or air power, or is the supposition that you'd have to use ground troops to open a corridor?
Mr. Bacon: Obviously a corridor would require some sort of ground placement. But NATO has made no decision. There are options before it that it's looking at. There are a limited number of options that deal with this problem. As I've tried to stress, no option is particularly easy and inviting.
Q: You've been looking at these options for a week now. Is there any -- are you getting close to making a decision or narrowing the options?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, this is being done at NATO. Second, NATO is looking hard at it. Third, some difficult problems take time to resolve, and this is one of them.
Q: How far are they inside of Kosovo? How deep will the corridor have to go?
Mr. Bacon: I wouldn't urge you to proceberate about a corridor because I think that the corridor is unlikely to be the option they choose. So rather than talk about it, I think we'll let NATO examine it and come up with a decision, and once a decision is made then NATO can explain what the decision is.
Q: Can you spell that word for the benefit of... (Laughter)
Mr. Bacon: Proceberate? Proceberate means to sort of obsess about one thing. (Laughter)
Q: Let me go back to my original question to the General.
Ken, there are reports that a Greek NGO has been delivering as much as a ton of food and first aid supplies, medical supplies inside of Kosovo and apparently to do that they would have to have the permission of the Serbs. Has anybody got permission of the Serbs to go in and administer to those displaced people in the hills?
Mr. Bacon: As you can imagine, the Serbs aren't being too compliant about plans to help the Kosovar refugees they're trying to exterminate. This just is not something that has the Serbs' attention. That's one of the reasons why helping an NGO deliver food into Kosovo is going to be very difficult. It's one of the reasons that NATO hasn't been able to make a quick decision about which option to select.
Q: Can we talk about these convoys for a minute?
Q: Can we speak on the corridor? Has any informal heads-up of any kind gone to any U.S. unit in connection with plans to help the refugees?
Mr. Bacon: Well, in one respect yes, in that we are going to contribute troops to the allied operation in Albania as we already have in Macedonia. But beyond that, no. There are no NATO plans to open a corridor. It remains an option that's under consideration.
Q: Is it also under consideration that the KLA might be used to open a corridor with allied air support?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that that's under consideration. David?
Q: Never mind, I have a different question. (Laughter)
There were many statements from up there that the U.S. and NATO were not about to become the air force for the KLA. That was before the bombing started. Don't you think that has happened? Now we get all sorts of statements, particularly out of NATO, that the KLA is like a phoenix rising from the ashes, no doubt in large part thanks to the airstrikes.
Mr. Bacon: I think that NATO's goals are clear. I think that General Wald has explained them. NATO's methods are clear. They've been clear since March 24th. From the very beginning we said we would focus with greater intensity and power on targets in Kosovo, and we're doing just that, irrespective of any other activity on the ground.
Q: You won't admit that we've become the air force of the KLA?
Let me go back to the convoy.
Jamie Shay said this morning that they've owned up to the one mistaken attack north of Dakovica and the one under investigation now is that whole road between Dakovica and Prizren. He said this morning we have no indication that we hit any other military vehicles other than the one we owned up to north of Dakovica.
Are you willing -- we've now had several hours more of investigation, time to investigate. Are you willing to make the same statement?
Mr. Bacon: I'm willing to make the same statement the Secretary made and that General Wald made. General Clark is examining this. He has not completed his review. When he completes the review we'll report the results, and I think we ought to stop talking about it until the review is over.
Q: Ken, regarding what the press was told today, the newspaper editors today -- are you going to start releasing more? For instance, the number of tanks being hit in Kosovo? Do you plan to start releasing more details as a result of these...
Mr. Bacon: I think we are. I think you saw 14...
Q: I think we're getting generalities...
Mr. Bacon: ...images today.
Q:...percentages or figures or numbers of tanks hit...
Mr. Bacon: I don't think we're going to get into percentages. This is a NATO operation. I think that percentages create a false sense of precision. Our goals are clear, and we are achieving those goals. I think it's clear from the images you see here, I think it's clear from what you're hearing out of Yugoslavia that we are making an impact with these strikes. The strikes clearly are getting more intense. And they will continue to grow in intensity.
Q: How about numbers of tanks and APCs hit...
Mr. Bacon: We don't have those numbers right now. We don't have them. We know how many there were in there, but this is a complex process. It's not just a process of looking at pictures, it's a process of collating intelligence from a number of sources. And the number of tanks we hit isn't really relevant. What's relevant is that the forces are being steadily ground down and degraded, and that's what we're going to keep doing.
Q: But Ken, the President did say that he had asked the Secretary to conduct somewhat more of a detailed briefing, and that within the next few days we'd all be generally satisfied. It looks like we're not. What...
Mr. Bacon: I don't think the press will ever be "generally satisfied". You wouldn't be doing your job if you were "generally satisfied", and we would probably be doing too much if you were completely satisfied. (Laughter)
But I think there's no doubt that we have been producing more information. You've got more this week than you had last week. Every week or so we've been giving you a briefing with intelligence, etc. The Chairman and the Secretary were on the Hill yesterday. They spoke extensively about what we're doing, what our goals are, and how we're succeeding. The Chairman showed extensive charts. We will, at the appropriate time, have Admiral Wilson come back and be up here with General Wald and give you another briefing. But the picture doesn't change dramatically from day to day, it changes incrementally from week to week, and when we have appropriate information we'll give you the information.
Q:...the President said, not the week before, but yesterday he said there would be more information forthcoming. So the question is, are you going to try to comply with that and provide more information than you have in the past about some of these questions that we keep repeatedly asking you?
Mr. Bacon: I think we've been giving you more information. We will continue to give you information when appropriate, as will NATO.
Q: We know what the President said yesterday. Have you or anyone else in this building that you know of been given any direction to implement what he said?
Mr. Bacon: We all read what the President says, particularly when he speaks about the Pentagon. We're very aware of what the President said. The President also spoke about operational security, and I think the President is aware that the tone of the briefings here have to reflect various military realities, and we will continue to reflect those.
Q: Ken, I wanted to ask you about the security restrictions you've imposed on journalists, reporters overseas trying to cover American troops operating there. Have you prohibited using people's names and home towns? People on carriers, people at Aviano?
Major General Wald: I can just answer from personal experience. They don't want their names on TV.
And from the standpoint of some details I might add, too, we're mainly reporting from a U.S. perspective here. This is a NATO mission. I don't have fidelity on everything all the other countries do.
But getting back to your point specifically, I know generally, but getting back to your point on names, we're not going to release names.
Q: With all due respect, General, you can't speak for everybody on the flight line in Aviano.
Major General Wald: No, I can't, but...
Q: If we want to talk to someone who's from Long Island and identify them as such, as we've done through every military engagement I can remember, why are we arbitrarily saying you can't do that now?
Major General Wald: From what I understand in Aviano, since I was there and know those folks -- as a matter of fact the first couple of nights there were names of people on television. But I think the people, from what I understand, and this may be from a different perspective, but as I said when I was there, we did not want our names on TV at that particular time in the middle of an operation. So I don't think there's been any gag rule put on anybody.
Q: The question, is there imposed regulations that they can't be identified or their home town?
Mr. Bacon: Yes, there are. And that's been done by the SACEUR, General Clark. So the pilots who have been quoted have been quoted generally by their first name. And that's a decision that he's made for security reasons, and he'll maintain...
Q: What are the security reasons? That's what I'm anxious to know.
Mr. Bacon: Certainly we have pilots who are flying at risk every single night. And to the extent that those pilots run the risk of being shot down and might be shot down, as one was, I think the commander, I think the wing commander and I think the pilots would all prefer that they not have information out about their names and their hometowns and where their families might live.
This is a choice that has been made by the military commanders, and it's a choice that obviously could be open to question but so far is a choice that's prevailed for the life of this operation.
Q: Ken, would you take the question and possibly try to come up tomorrow with some kind of round figure total of tanks you believe you've destroyed in Kosovo since the bombing operation started? Don't be too specific, but give us some idea of how many, if you can.
Mr. Bacon: We will raise this with NATO.
Q: Shifting attention, if I could. We heard the Italian Defense Minister speak to the issue of ground forces maybe some way down the road if NATO consented. Could you address the difficulties in terms of time and the number of sealift and airlift that would be required to move the forces into the area, into the theater?
Mr. Bacon: That would be...
Q: If such a decision should be made somewhere down the road.
Mr. Bacon: Well, it would take a long time. There are a number of problems. One is that there aren't a lot of big ports in the area. Secondly, the port that we were going to use to bring the enabling force in is in Thessaloniki in Greece. There aren't big ports in Albania. There aren't very good roads from the ports such as Durres into the border area. There are only about 14 roads going into Kosovo. Those roads have been -- the bridges on the roads have been mined. The Serbs have set up artillery batteries around the roads and near the border because I think they expect a NATO invasion. They have lined up tanks. So they have built fairly heavy defensive positions along with mining bridges.
We have already stressed out the airports in the area, the major airports, and none of these is like Dulles to begin with. We have gotten the Tirane airport now going to 24 hours a day operation by bringing in lights and other equipment. The Skopje airport is operating 24 hours a day. So we're beginning to increase the through-put of air traffic. Obviously moving in combat divisions would stress these airports much further.
It would take a long while to assemble, if a decision were to be made as of a certain time, it would take, it would probably take weeks or months to get a full heavy armored combat force on the ground, ready to go into Kosovo. And of course we'd have to have a considerable logistics tail to sustain that force once we got the force there.
Obviously it's possible to fly in certain units, but the VJ, that is the Serb army has probably about 400 tanks, or they did before this operation began; 400 tanks, approximately 300 armored personnel carriers, and maybe 400 artillery pieces in or near Kosovo. And many of those have been moving over the last month or so down towards the borders in anticipation of a possible NATO invasion.
So this would be a challenge. It would be certainly a challenge we would win, but it would take time and it would take a fair amount of effort, and there would be casualties.
Q: What about coming in through Hungary?
Mr. Bacon: That would be a possibility, but then you'd have to go all the way through Serbia. Remember, our main goal is Kosovo at this stage. And to go in Hungary, you'd have to go down the entire length of the country to get to our main goal.
Q: Talk about the logistics of it. Would there be similar problems?
Mr. Bacon: The hills aren't quite as demanding between Hungary and Serbia as they are Hungary and Yugoslavia, as they are between Albanian and Kosovo on the one hand, and Macedonia and Kosovo on the other hand. It's somewhat flatter country. Not quite as challenging. But it's a larger distance away and we would have to fight our way all the way down through Yugoslavia.
If you look at the number of countries surrounding Yugoslavia, there's Bulgaria, there's Bosnia, there's Croatia, there's Albania, there's Macedonia -- the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But there are a limited number of ways to get in there.
Q: The President yesterday said that any use of weapons of mass destruction by the Serbs would bring an overwhelming response. What is the status of the Serbia weapons of mass destruction effort? Specifically, this nuclear material near Belgrade or any chemical weapons stockpiles?
Mr. Bacon: The Yugoslav military did have some chemical weapons capability. Some of it has been dismantled and some of it's been moved. We believe there is still a chemical weapons capability of unknown quantity in Yugoslavia today. They have used riot control agents against their own people. We suspect that they wouldn't hesitate to use them again. We don't have any evidence or suggestion that they are planning to use chemical weapons against foreign troops now, but it's unclear what they would do in the event of an invasion. That's clearly one thing we would have to be prepared to face.
Q: Ken, what about radiological weapons?
Mr. Bacon: I'm not aware that that's a major concern for us, but I think that what the President said yesterday stands for Yugoslavia just as it stands for Iraq or North Korea or any country that might try to use a weapon of mass destruction against us. Our response would be swift and severe.
Q: Can you talk about the new reports of atrocities? Is that something that pilots are observing too? They're obviously flying around up there...
Mr. Bacon: With all due respect, the pilots are worried about acquiring their targets and avoiding being shot down. Their primary goal is to do just those two things. We continue to hear reports of atrocities. These atrocities involve executions, they involve rapes, and they do involve mass grave sites of people who have been executed. A lot of this information is being passed on by the State Department to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague which is the appropriate place for it to be processed, because they are the people who will ultimately decide whether charges should be brought.
Q: Are you passing on any footage from, for instance the UAVs to the State Department that would support...
Mr. Bacon: I'm sure as appropriate we do, but I can't tell you for a fact that this has happened. The State Department clearly has access to much of the information we gather, and they're very much aware of what we're seeing. They sit on the committees that analyze this product and they know what is being seen by us and by other countries as well.
Q: The reserve callups -- the number of 30,000 has been talked about. Is that in the ballpark or is that low? What can you tell us?
Mr. Bacon: I don't think I'll say anything. The Secretary stayed away from a number earlier today, and said he hasn't gotten the request yet -- it's still being worked. It will be significant, as he said. And other than that, I wouldn't push you away from the numbers that have been printed.
Q: Do you think that will come over the weekend or next week?
Mr. Bacon: No, I think it will be next week.
Q: On the KLA. In testimony yesterday, the Secretary and General Shelton both repeatedly and explicitly linked the KLA and the UCK to the achievement of the goals of this operation. Why does it matter that we grind down his forces because then the balance of forces changes.
Do you recall any prior, prior to yesterday, when senior representatives of the U.S. government linked the achievement of U.S. and NATO aims in this operation, to the activities of the KLA?
Mr. Bacon: As I understood what the Chairman said, he talked in terms of logic and consequence, and he was asked specifically how will we know victory? How will we know we're winning? He said there are two ways we'll know. The first way we'll know is if Milosevic says I've had enough. You've ground me down too far. I'm not going to give up my entire military, my entire security structure, my entire country to protect Kosovo anymore and he agrees to the terms that NATO has laid out as necessary. That would be the first.
Failing that, if he does not agree to a diplomatic settlement, then his forces. He will see his forces in Kosovo and outside of Kosovo, further and further degraded. And as those forces are ground down and weakened and become less useful, then the KLA will become more prevalent throughout Kosovo and become more active and will become in itself more of a threat to the Serb forces. It was really a question of consequence as the Yugoslav army and security forces are ground down, then the KLA will come back. He said you will see that as one indication that they are losing ground at a faster and faster rate.
Q: Does that make us the practical equivalent of the KLA's air force?
Mr. Bacon: We live in a world of reality and one of the realities is that as the Serb forces become weaker the KLA forces become stronger, and we've seen evidence of that over the last two weeks.
Q: Is there any indication that U.S. strikes now are actually focusing on the ground forces of the Yugoslav army? Up to 70 or 80 percent...
Major General Wald: I didn't check the percentage, but it's a lot more than it was at the beginning, and you can tell that we're focusing -- the chart I showed you earlier with the targets -- a lot more in Kosovo. But we continue throughout the range of the FRY. But I'll get back with you on a number on that, but it looks about 50/50 or so.
Q: Can you quantify intensity here? You mentioned 24-hour operations at the beginning.
Major General Wald: Yeah.
Q: NATO's been saying that for the last two or three weeks. Are we at the stage now that it's actually happening with regularity?
Major General Wald: There's only 24 hours in a day, so it can only get so intense, but yes, it's been happening with regularity and that's why the additional aircraft were sent as you know, Tony. So they're stepping it up.
As I said before, it's around the clock. I won't tell you how routine or when. But it's continuous and he doesn't have any really relief right now from that type of airstrike.
Q: General, you said the Apaches would be on the ground Sunday and Monday. Is the protection force in place yet and are you still looking at approximately 2500 U.S. troops?
Major General Wald: We're going to stand still at 2,500. Most of the protection force will be there in conjunction with, there's some there already. The Bradley infantry fighting vehicles are there, and much of the security force will be there in place prior to that. So we're not going to put the force in there without force protection.
Q: Could you say whether any consideration has been given in light of the Chairman laying out what you call the realities of the issue (inaudible) as to Serb forces and the KLA, has any consideration been given to (inaudible)?
Mr. Bacon: No, I think both the Secretary and the Chairman addressed that yesterday. We are trying to end the fighting in Kosovo, not to fuel it. We don't want to supply more arms. We want both sides to disarm. That's the ultimately goal of our policy and that's what we're fighting to achieve.
Q: Can you talk about how often the shoulder-fired rockets, the man-pads are actually being used by Serb forces, and have they hit any allied airplanes?
Major General Wald: They have not hit any allied aircraft. We haven't taken any hits on any aircraft, and we're not sure of the F-117 yet. Other than that, there's been no damage whatsoever. I checked that today.
I would suspect from past experience they're probably firing dozens a night, depending on when the aircraft are there, and during the day as well.
Major General Wald: I heard reports yesterday. Plus you don't see all of them, obviously, but there were reports of upwards to a dozen yesterday, for example. That was a fairly heavy day. There were some today as I heard, too. A few MANPADS on the attacks at Podgorica and Pristina.
Q: These are Stinger equivalent?
Major General Wald: They have different types of MANPADS. They have the SA-7 and SA-16 and 18. So they're not really exactly a Stinger, but they're fairly capable.
Q: The bigger SAMs have been fired literally (inaudible)?
Major General Wald: Most were ballistic, but they have had over the last couple of nights a couple of guided, target tracking radar.
Q: From your experience of protection of the safe areas in Bosnia, were the tactics NATO employed there, is that the kind of thing that would be considerably useful in the assistance of NGOs trying to provide humanitarian help to the internally displaced refugees in Kosovo?
Major General Wald: Let me answer that two ways. This last question, and I didn't hear the first part. Can you repeat it?
Q: Drawing on your experience from the mission of NATO protecting safe areas in Bosnia, is that the kind of thing that would be useful in protecting NGOs getting aid to the internally displaced refugees inside Kosovo?
Major General Wald: I don't know what the plans for that are, but I would personally say that's not a great idea. It didn't work that great in Bosnia.
Thank you very much.
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