Also participating in this briefing are Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson, J-2 and Major General Chuck Wald, vice J-5.
Mr. Bacon: Good morning. Welcome to the briefing.
Normally at this time the briefing comes from NATO, but NATO is coming to Washington for the Summit, so Jamie Shea asked if we could fill this gap with a 9:00 a.m. briefing, and we're doing that.
We're going to do the briefing in two parts. First, Rear Admiral Tom Wilson, who is the Director of Intelligence on the Joint Staff, will give you the latest in a series of updates on where things stand. Then Major General Chuck Wald and I will follow after that.
Rear Admiral Wilson has to leave by 9:30, so he'll give his briefing, take your questions and leave. Then General Wald and I will take over.
Let me just give you an update first on yesterday's operations to set the stage for what Admiral Wilson is going to say. Despite bad weather, the allied forces flew 324 sorties. Over half of those were strike sorties yesterday. That brings the total number of sorties to 9,300 since Operation ALLIED FORCE began, and of those, 2,750 were strike sorties.
You've all seen pictures of the strike against one of President Milosevic's residences yesterday. It's also a command and control facility. It includes security and military bunkers as well, and it is indicative of the increasing allied pressure as part of this campaign and particularly pressure on the very center of the central nervous system of the regime, the command and control system that controls the military and security forces.
Q: Ken, just a quick question if I may. Belgrade has charged that NATO and the United States are now trying to kill President Milosevic. Is that true? Are you trying to do that? And doesn't that violate the U.S. ban against attacking foreign leaders and their families?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, we're not targeting President Milosevic or the Serb people. We are targeting the military and the military infrastructure that supports the instruments of oppression in Kosovo. We've been very clear about that from the beginning. There's been no change of our policy, but we are going against the very nervous system that's used to control the military and security forces.
Q: But if you destroy his home, how can you deny that you're trying to kill him or his family?
Mr. Bacon: As I said, this is a command and control system. It includes bunkers. Much of the military and security forces are run out of a variety of residences, office buildings, and other facilities throughout the country, particularly in the Belgrade area. They're all interconnected. They're interconnected with the political party as well.
We have always said from the beginning that the price is going to be high in terms of degradation and damage to the military and security structure, and this is one example of that.
I think I'll turn it over now to Admiral Wilson who has...
Q: How would you know his family wasn't...
Mr. Bacon: Charlie, we're going to turn this over to Admiral Wilson who has limited time, and we'll have plenty of time to take these questions afterwards.
Rear Admiral Wilson: Good morning, again.
I haven't been up here for awhile, so I'm probably kind of rusty, but I'll try to go through some of these target sets and let you know where we currently stand.
We've talked a lot about the integrated air defense system, the IADS. I don't think up until now I've shown a chart such as this for the IADS, but I wanted to make a few points about it.
You can see on the top there that we believe through the combination of attacks, destruction, and suppression that we have created a situation where we have air superiority over whatever part of the country we need to be operating in to conduct our strike operations.
We are also adding to the total, so to speak, in terms of the actual destruction of his air defense system. You always are asking about numbers and percentages. In this particular case, numbers and percentages are not the relevant factor. The relevant factor is can you create the condition that allows successful strike operations. We are doing that.
It's been a month now, and we continue to attack the kind of targets that we need to attack without suffering losses that would be of concern.
Now as we suppress and attack, we take the opportunity where we have it to also destroy. You can see in this chain of command chart right here shown in red the kind of facilities that we have not only suppressed, but have damaged or destroyed in the process of this campaign against the integrated air defense system.
They include, for example 16 early warning radars, a relatively small percentage of the total number of radars that the Serb air defense system has in its physical inventory, but we may be able to get on any given day or night an important radar node and attack it and destroy it because of the way it's being used and where it is being used in support of their air defense operations against our strikes.
So in addition to jamming the early warning radars, we believe that 16 have been severely damaged or destroyed and are no longer available for use.
We will continue this campaign of suppression, but also where we can to attack things like early warning radars that support their air defense systems.
Here you can see some percentages assigned to the SA-3 and the SA-6 force. We think we've physically destroyed key nodes of about 30 percent of his SA-3 batteries -- the key node is normally the radar, the radar which is used to potentially guide, acquire the aircraft and guide the missile to a successful engagement -- and 10 to 15 percent of the more mobile SA-6 force, which is a tactical surface-to-air missile, but serves a relatively strategic use in Yugoslavia and in Serbia.
Now the impact of the destruction of these is further leveraged by the significant damage which has been done to the surface-to-air missile support facilities, a number of which are shown on the map there. SAM support facilities are also shown with little missiles. Several of those have been struck and restruck and damaged to the point where we think the ability to repair and sustain the missile force for the long term is seriously degraded or severely degraded.
We also continue to attack key facilities, key aim points at the airfields. It may be the primary airfields from which he operates his fighter aircraft, or it may be dispersal airfields from which he operates fighter or attack aircraft on a given day. By further damaging and degrading and destroying facilities at these airfields -- fuel supplies, fueling points, maintenance hangars, hardened aircraft shelters and things like that -- we can deny the Serbs the ability to conduct successful operations with their declining inventory of fighter aircraft.
You can see that up here. We have not destroyed any MiGs recently, since I think the last time that General Wald briefed. Neither have we seen very much flight activity by MiGs. We've destroyed more than half of the MiG-29s and several MiG-21s as well. So the first line fighter aircraft inventory as well as some of the older fighters have been seriously damaged.
We've destroyed more than 35 other aircraft, and the most important ones in this regard are the ground attack aircraft which he uses to conduct operations against fixed targets or even fielded forces on the ground. So by destroying these aircraft, many of which were done at Podgorica, at Nis and other fields, we have reduced by probably around 50 percent his airborne ability to conduct ground attack operations, and we think that that along with the MiGs is a significant reduction of his air capability.
So we haven't been through this chart, and I just wanted to kind of review the nature of these types of attacks and once again emphasize that the physical damage essentially augments or are targets of opportunity that help make our suppression operations even more effective.
Next chart, please.
This is the command and control, national command authority chart. Clearly, it's important for any country to be able to get command information out to their forces and to have a decision-making process which is effective and efficient. We think we have both degraded the effectiveness and the efficiency of this overall command and control network, the national command authority, and in doing so have sent strong messages to certain elements, in fact all echelons of command that we will attack where and when we can to disrupt or degrade their ability to command these forces. So this is a very broad target set that ranges from functional headquarters to the technical or physical ability to move information to the field.
So for example, the Belgrade socialist party -- that was the building that was destroyed the other night -- not only was the party's propaganda organ, the building and the area where some of this information flows from the party, but also where they broadcast information on the television is from that particular source.
You know earlier about the Ministry of Interior, the MUP facilities in downtown Belgrade, that were destroyed. Then you can see here key army level and corps level in the military command and control installations and headquarters which have been destroyed. The First Army, the Special Unit Corps, an airborne unit in Nis; Third Army headquarters, which is controlling operations in Kosovo; and, of course, the air defense headquarters and command posts have been attacked as well.
In addition to these, a key part of running the apparatus are their intelligence facilities and their communications facilities. We continue to attack those with fair, I think a good degree of effectiveness. We haven't destroyed all of them. They still have intelligence capability, clearly. They still have communications capability. But it is not as effective or as efficient as it once was, and we have reason to believe, based on multiple sources of information, that commanders and national command authority are having difficulty in rapidly and effectively commanding and controlling their forces.
So 27 communications facilities include broadcast facilities, radio relay facilities, telephone switching facilities, all of which are important to the long term sustainability of this system -- they're important to the redundancy of it -- and it is increasingly getting to where in various areas of the country we believe they are impaired and down to a smaller number of strands by which they can effectively command and control.
The radio and relay facilities which have been destroyed, by the way, in many cases are dual use. They include microwaves which communicate military command and control information; civilian microwaves which the military uses both as backup and sometimes primary to their communications; and on the same towers often radio and television relays where the stuff that may have been broadcast from the socialist party headquarters is relayed to various parts of the country, which we know now that some parts of the country don't have reliable television service, for example up in Novi Sad is one area in particular.
Next slide, please.
Q: You seem to be suggesting three or four targets there that haven't been hit yet. Is that...
Rear Admiral Wilson: I won't comment on future targets. In fact I'm just not going to talk about targets, whether they're targets or not targets. They are a part of the chain of command diagram.
And I also would emphasize that in some of the headquarters we've destroyed, they have alternate facilities; they have command posts and bunkers that are more difficult to attack, but we continue to examine and work on those kind of targets as well.
This slide here, the Third Army, I put up here for a reason. It hasn't changed much in terms of the amount of red from what you saw maybe ten days or two weeks ago when I was last up here to brief. But we continue to pound away and work on forces in the field and the garrison locations in Kosovo as well as some of the supply networks that continue to feed them with POL, ammunition, and things like that.
There is increasing evidence both among forces in Kosovo and among the Serbian army in general, that this campaign is having an impact on their morale. They're concerned because of the inability of the air defense system to successfully engage NATO aircraft and prevent strikes. They're concerned about the destruction of the infrastructure that supports forces both in garrison and when they're in the field. All armies need a reliable supply and logistics network. And they're concerned about the desertion rates, which are on the climb, and concerned about, I think, the response to orders for additional mobilization or callup of reserves which appears to be declining in terms of percentage response.
So this campaign down in the south and around Kosovo continues, I believe, to damage the capability of the military to conduct these operations and the will of the military to conduct these operations, although they are still responding to political guidance, and they are still conducting their operations. It's a matter of degradation, which has been our goal all along.
So we continue to work on the garrisons, to destroy the infrastructure and continue to attack the forces in the field where they're located, and are having increased success in actually engaging in engagement areas or in staging areas, tanks, APCs, and things like that. But, I believe, equally important is the engagement of ammunition and fuel and the lines of communications.
Let me change to that.
This chart really discusses infrastructure and the infrastructure of the country. Certainly, it's important to sustainment of the military.
The degree of damage to the infrastructure and particularly on oil storage and refinement capability, the production of ammunition, the storage of ammunition, and even now some of the industrial targets is having a negative impact on not only the sustainment of the force, but also, I believe, the morale of the force and the morale of the people as this infrastructure is increasingly damaged and destroyed.
We talked before that 100 percent of the national refinery capability was not operating. Not only is it not operating, now we believe that 100 percent is not even operational because of continued strikes at Pancevo and Novi Sad. They may be out of commission for more or less periods of time, and there are more things we can do in those areas, but a near term restoration of refining capability is not on the horizon.
We believe that when you combine military reserve and industrial fuel storage capacity, about 25 percent of that has been damaged or destroyed in the country, which complicates their ability to A, store fuel, and also to move the fuel. I've said this before -- I'd like to reemphasize -- damaging the storage capacity is important, but when we do that we also attack in those installations the places where they transfer fuel -- pumps and risers and things of that nature.
We continue to work on the lines of communication, and it's having an impact down in the south. The last time we talked I believe three of the four main lines of communication into Kosovo had been interdicted to some degree or another. I would now say all four of the main lines into Kosovo have been interdicted, and more seriously than they were before. Probably close to 50 percent of the through-put capacity into Kosovo has now been denied to the Serbs, and we continue to work on bridges which, frankly, are difficult targets.
We also believe that up north the damage to the lines of communications as well as the psychological impact of seeing them destroyed is affecting not only the attitude of mobilization but even the movement and the ability to move reserves and reserve forces around the country.
I've already talked before -- we are having, now have degraded the aircraft repair [capability] very, very severely. That really has been true since early in this overall bombing operation, and increasing damage to ammunition production is being, I think, seen in evidence we have of Yugoslavia reaching out to a number of sources to try to acquire more and different kinds of ammunition to be able to not only sustain their ability to fight, but also perhaps improve their ability to fight, and they're not having any success in that regard.
Next slide, please.
Just a couple of photographs to show today. This is the Urosevic army garrison. We've probably shown you a picture of Urosevic before. It's down in Kosovo. It's a main garrison that supports a mechanized infantry division that operates, has operated in southern Kosovo, has conducted operations against the Kosovar Albanians and in fact could be deployed in defensive positions. This garrison now in terms of all of its support capacity is virtually destroyed.
So if you can draw a picture of a force which has been in the field for six weeks, seven weeks, eight weeks conducting operations, low on fuel, low on ammunition, low on food, and when they do get to go back or can go back, they go back to this kind of a job that has to be done to sustain even their daily life. It's a very significant impact on morale as well as their sustainment capability.
Krusevac tractor plant in Serbia was a new target. You can see here assembly and engineering buildings which were involved in manufacturing support or parts for tanks and APCs as well as for civilian vehicles, and we had moderate to severe physical damage to these facilities with functional damage assessments being made at this time.
In Kragujevac. This is a -- manufacturer's small arms, machine guns, and motor vehicles, and this was a B-1 strike. You can see the impact craters over here as well as damage done over here in the ammunition part of the facility.
Q: Do you know when that picture was taken, Admiral?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I don't have the date with me.
Q: Do you know the date of the strike?
Rear Admiral Wilson: It's been struck on several different dates.
Finally, I'd like to just turn to a new chart which has been produced to try to -- once again I always like to end with the damage the other guy's doing, because it really is one of the central stories here and the reason that we're doing our operations at all.
This shows the number of villages and small towns in Kosovo that have been destroyed by Serbian police and military forces, and it tries to show as best we can get through all of our sources of information the percentage of destruction in these villages. So some of them may be 20 or 25 buildings and 80 percent of them destroyed; some of them may be 200 or 300. So I don't have the raw numbers of buildings destroyed, but you can see that -- in particular where you see all the squares and the pentagons -- I'm not sure if there's any significance to that, of the pentagons -- that it's -- in particular down here in the southwest half of the country or of the province where a good portion of the destruction exceeds 50 percent of the village which is destroyed, and where the pentagon occurs, over 75 percent destruction or destroyed.
So this is a wanton and indiscriminate destruction of this country's cities and villages.
Q: Putting both of those together, can we have a generic number of how many have been destroyed or damaged?
Rear Admiral Wilson: How many buildings?
Q: You said at the outset villages and small towns.
Rear Admiral Wilson: I think there's a couple of hundred on there. I haven't counted them.
Q: Admiral, a quick question on this chart. Pristina, I can barely see it from back here, but [it] doesn't look like you guys have too much damage there. Everything we saw on television, it's completely burned and looks very bad. What's the situation in Pristina?
Rear Admiral Wilson: Well, you know better than I that you can get one TV angle that looks like a lot of destruction when it may be four or five buildings. There were small portions of, I think, Pristina that were destroyed, but it's the largest town in Kosovo, so on a percentage basis, it's relatively small.
Q: Since one thing you can't bomb is political will, isn't there a good chance that without some kind of dramatic development, that a month from now, two months from now, we could be in this room getting the same kind of briefing with claims of NATO successes without any sign that the Serbs are willing to do anything except endure the attacks?
Rear Admiral Wilson: It's possible, I suppose. It's very hard to gauge the level of pain that somebody is willing to endure, and I don't know what President Milosevic's level of pain is, but other parts of the society have a level of pain which may differ. It's getting higher all the time, that's all I can say.
Q: Admiral, could you tell us, did intelligence in fact show that Milosevic's home was in fact some type of command center? And did intelligence indicate to you whether or not he or his family were there when the raid was conducted?
Rear Admiral Wilson: Our assessment of the facility is that it was a, it has a command and control capability as do many, many leadership locations and alternate leadership locations. I would not discuss our ability to track individuals as a matter of...
Q: Admiral, some barometers would be helpful to us. From that podium when the airstrikes were first begun about a month ago, it was announced that there were some 400 Serbian tanks in and around Kosovo. We've been getting from NATO and from here reports of "several" tanks, "a few" tanks taken out.
Can you tell us roughly how many of those 400 have been taken out and are no longer operational?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I think the number was probably less; I guess about 400 when you combine tanks and APCs in Kosovo and on the outskirts would be about right.
It's a very hard number to come up with, and let me tell you why. Number one, they weren't all deployed, number one. Some were in garrison. Some have been destroyed inside of buildings and inside of storage sheds, and those numbers, frankly, we don't have.
It was probably a third of the tanks and APCs or 25 percent were not deployed and were in these garrisons. The number that we destroyed, we really don't know as they were in covered storage probably. A few out and about.
Trying to track the number which have been destroyed in the field is very difficult. We take pilot reports. We take reports from sources on the ground in Kosovo, which may be UCK and others. We do have some imagery. And we want to make sure that we don't double count or under count.
So I would say -- I don't have a good reliable number, but it's probably between 10 and 20 percent in that arena, for the field.
Q: Thank you.
Q: You mentioned the difficulty of gauging the impact of a bombing on the population, on the will. The history of air power from World War II, Vietnam, etc., indicates that the population gets stronger in their support of their regime as the bombings continue.
Based on your all-source analysis of intelligence, is this trend continuing in Serbia? Is the population hardening in its resolve to support Milosevic?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I haven't seen an indication. It was, I think, very hard to begin with. In the initial stages the resolve hardened. I haven't seen any indication that it is getting stronger, and in fact some indication among the populace that it's getting weaker. For example, I saw some reports this morning of people, some people being happy that Milosevic's home was bombed. I'm not saying many, I'm not saying all, but some.
I think I would have more indications among the military of increasing concern and morale problems about what this campaign is doing and can do in the future and will do in the future to the institution of the military as well as the country.
Q: Admiral, to what degree would you say that all this damage and destruction that you've told us about today, that NATO strikes have incurred in Yugoslavia, to what degree do you think it has limited the Yugoslav army to resist a ground attack should NATO undertake that?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I would think it's -- I haven't done any quantitative analysis. My best hunch is that it would have been significant.
I haven't mentioned this, but I should mention it, that the Serbs themselves in Kosovo are under increasing pressure from a resurgent UCK or KLA. They are back in there with more numbers than they had before. They've successfully recruited from refugee camps in Albania; and the army, which we had indications thought would have their mission finished in a relatively short period of time, is increasingly tied up with more counterinsurgency operations, not at the pace they were back in the middle of March, but higher than they were a week or two ago. There's more concern about supply lines getting into Kosovo from northern Albania for the UCK. There's more UCK fighters -- maybe not as well trained, but their numbers are increasing; their resolve is increasing.
So that fact combined with the destruction of the infrastructure, the reduction of the force structure, would make it more difficult in my view for a defense of the country.
Q: How much more? Can you give us some kind of characterization at all?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I don't have a...
Q: Admiral, you've referred to the destruction in Kosovo and to the military, but we still see reports that the Yugoslav military is still able to operate. There's been shelling in Albania.
To what extent are they still a functioning military unit within Kosovo?
Rear Admiral Wilson: Well, they never have fought very much; they've mostly just killed.
Q: But their operations continue.
Rear Admiral Wilson: They continue to conduct counterinsurgency operations at a reduced scale from a month ago, maybe more than a week ago. But they're not conducting high tempo, high impact combat operations.
Q: At the Yugo factory there are tens of thousands of Yugoslav workers that can't work. I take it the tractor factory will put thousands out of work. Is that an intended strike against the economy of Milosevic?
Rear Admiral Wilson: The intent of the strike was to destroy their ability to sustain and repair military vehicles. It's an unfortunate consequence of the leadership's decision to pursue their policies that's impacting the Yugoslav people.
Q: Admiral, the desertion rate is going up. Is it in any special area or is it across the board?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I think it's across the board. Our reports are a little bit scattered and anecdotal. Highest in the south and in Kosovo probably. I've seen reports, for example, that on one day last week where several hundred -- there were several hundred desertions from within the Pristina corps alone.
So I don't get a daily report. Probably Milosevic doesn't either. But we think that they're increasing.
Q: Admiral, can you just give us your best view on the mass graves?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I think that there's a lot of areas of Kosovo that we need to examine when there is an end to this operation, and when the Kosovar Albanians can get back in their country. Most of the things I've seen thus far would not necessarily fall in the category of mass graves, in other words, big holes in the ground where a lot of bodies were just dumped in graves. I've seen evidence of individual graves freshly dug which probably means they were buried by their own ethnic group. But I think -- we just don't know right now. There's a lot of evidence of mass killing.
Mr. Bacon: Thank you, Admiral.
While General Wald is setting up the charts there, let me just say that NATO will begin its briefings again at 9:00 tomorrow our time. I understand that Secretary General Solana may have a briefing this afternoon over at the International Trade Commission where the NATO operation is being headquartered. We will have a briefing here tomorrow at 2:00 o'clock, and one of the things we'll discuss is, in response to your quest, is JSTARS. We'll have a team here to talk about the JSTARS operation as part of Operation ALLIED FORCE.
Q: Ken, you've said repeatedly that you're trying not to kill civilians. I take it you're denying that you're trying to kill President Milosevic. How can you deny it when you're hitting his home?
Mr. Bacon: Charlie, I answered that question earlier and I'll give you exactly the same answer. We are targeting the head of this military regime on the one hand; we're trying to cut that off and break the central nervous system, the central command and control system of the regime, and we're also attacking the feet of the regime on the ground in Kosovo, the feet that are being used to stamp out or attempt to stamp out the Kosovar Albanians. This is an attack against both ends.
We made it very clear from the beginning that the attack is going to get stronger and stronger, and that's what's happening. It's a systematic increase in the attack, and we will see it ratchet up further and further as it goes along. This is an air campaign that has solid support among the allies, and it's going to get nothing but stronger.
Q: Did you know whether he was there?
Q: Ken, Milosevic and a cell phone essentially constitute command and control. Was this command and control facility in that location any more extensive than that?
Mr. Bacon: I think Admiral Wilson pointed out that all of these leadership facilities have command and control elements to them; they also have security and military bunkers attached to them. They're also tied into the propaganda system, and they're tied into the overall nervous system of the regime, and they are fair targets in a campaign that's designed to clamp down on the ability to control the military and the security forces and to degrade and reduce the ability of those forces to operate. These attacks will continue.
Q: Was there a bunker in this facility?
Mr. Bacon: We believe there were bunkers in this facility and in many other facilities.
Major General Wald: Good afternoon.
The weather's been bad over the last 24 hours. It was particularly bad last night. It's been the worst weather that's been seen in years in the region. In spite of that, we've continued to fly, and the prediction now is for the weather to start clearing up over the next couple of days, we hope.
In spite of the weather, another four major targets last night, 11 here, 15 different targets. Once again, Admiral Wilson did a good job of explaining what those targets are, plus we hit some fielded forces in the Kosovo engagement zone as well last night.
Quickly, into the humanitarian. Just a small number of refugees moving out of Kosovo now. They've closed most of the border area. There are predictions once again by the international agencies that 150,000 to 200,000 still could be moved out in the next couple of weeks. The international community now is preparing for that possible event by stocking food and other material they would need for that event, if it were to occur.
Fifty-four nations still are contributing. Eleven of those have taken in refugees.
Moved in some HDRs last night, humanitarian daily rations, and 336 tents. There will be 2,000 tents moved in for the camp that will be built.
Of the tents that are there now, the majority of those will be used for existing refugee camps, and then this 1,062 tents that are in Ancona are there as soon as the decision of where the camp in Albania will be placed. Those tents will be moved forward. There's another 1,000 tents in California being shipped as we speak.
You saw that half the HAWK deployment closed yesterday; the rest will close tomorrow. These are some of the numbers that will be there. About 3,052 on this group so far will end state tomorrow, we hope. Half the attack helicopters as well as some of the artillery and headquarters element, some of the support force, aviation support, and some of the heavy and light force protection are in place. Force protection should be just under 1,000 at the end state. Then as was stated earlier, they should start working up. And then at the CINC's decision they'll start employing, and they'll be integrated into the air campaign as a synergistic part of the air campaign. So this is additive to the air campaign.
We've talked about targets a lot and the amount of sorties that have been flown. Mr. Bacon mentioned some sorties earlier today. I think it's probably a good thing to kind of look over what's happened over the years and what a sortie today is in comparison to maybe what a sortie was years ago.
But in World War II -- and I'll show you some pictures of some oil refineries and some other areas today that will point this out more vividly -- in world War II for one target it took 1,500 B-17 sorties and 9,000 bombs to destroy one target as we call it today.
In Vietnam that was down to about 30 sorties, F-4 sorties. It usually took about 176 500-pound bombs -- those are the equivalent of a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb -- to destroy one target.
In the Gulf War, nine years ago, we became very enamored with the fact that a laser-guided bomb could fly down a vent of a building possibly, and we had only nine percent of the bombs dropped in the Gulf War [that] were precision, but over 85 percent of the sorties, the strategic targets, were hit by the F-117 in the Gulf War. They can destroy two targets.
Today with the B-2, one sortie, 16 different targets, all weather.
So as you go through this and you start adding up sorties and numbers -- numbers are different than what they used to be, and certainly with 2,000 strike sorties today -- albeit all of those weren't B-2 sorties -- those sorties are a lot different than they were even nine years ago, and the ability to hit targets is significantly increased.
I'll show you some imagery now.
This is a bridge, Rakovina bridge just north of Kosovo. You can see the before picture and then the after. This bridge has not been destroyed. This would be a target that would be revisited. We've talked about going back and hitting targets again. At times we have to do that. This would be one that could potentially, but right now it's still closed. But it may potentially be revisited in the future, possibly.
Q: General, just quickly, Admiral Wilson said a minute ago that bridges are difficult to take out. Why?
Major General Wald: Some of the bridges are larger. The construction is very solid. You have to hit it at the right spot. Also we're very, very conservative in our estimate of whether that bridge is going to be used again in the future. So for one thing, we want to make sure when the picture looks like it's really destroyed, it is, and number two is, some of them are constructed in a more robust manner, if you would.
This is an airfield, Podgorica. We've shown quite a bit of this earlier. We had some of the strikes from the ROOSEVELT shown here a few nights ago. This was before, pre-strike. You can see the infrastructure to sustain that runway and airfield here. Some aircraft on the airfield. It's in pretty good shape.
Post-strike. Once again, it's very difficult for you to see, but these hangars and support buildings, all of these have been destroyed at this airfield. Interestingly enough, you don't see many aircraft here anymore. It probably isn't being used. And these aircraft in the infield are assessed to be unusable.
Q: Can you say when that was struck, General?
Major General Wald: That's been struck several times over the last week.
This is the Krivovo support base in Serbia, but this is a munitions storage area that Admiral Wilson talked about, ammunition, the sustainability. Once again, four different areas here. Each one of those has a building, so that would be 16 impact points. So on that particular target there would be 16 places to strike. You can't see it from where you're sitting, but if you look closely, there are eight different holes on eight different buildings. That was one B-2 aircraft that did that. And by the way, the buildings next to them, although they don't look destroyed, have been assessed to be damaged. There's probably nothing left there.
Pristina airfield, another one in Kosovo itself. Interestingly enough, the runway is a fairly large distance away from the actual support area, [as] you can see here. This is a large underground bunker area in Pristina, so many of the aircraft and other materiel are kept underground.
This is a blowup of that. It's been struck. There's two ends of these tunnels. That's been closed. We're not sure what's left inside, but whatever is in there is probably not coming out, and probably a lot of it's destroyed.
You can see the mouth of the tunnel before and afterwards. You can see it's closed up with the dirt here, so they're probably not going to get a lot of use of what's in there anymore.
Same airfield, pre-strike. You can see some of the buildings here. Pristina airfield. They're in pretty good shape. Post-strike, quite a bit of damage, obviously. They're probably not going to get a lot of use out of that field for the fielded forces.
This is another target, as I mentioned earlier. Some targets -- in World War II this target would have been probably one of those 1,500 sorties, 9,000 bomb targets over several months. Some of the targets in World War II were never destroyed, as you remember.
This is a pre-strike of Novi Sad petroleum refinery, one of the two production refineries they had operable. This is post-strike. They've taken out the steam plant that's for production and some of the other major pumping areas, and it's now non-usable. Remember in World War II that would have taken months and probably never gone down. Here, based on the type of targeting we're using and the ability to strike those nodes, it's been rendered nonfunctional.
Q: Did you say that one B-2 today with the smart bombs can do the damage of 1,500 B-17s in World War II? Is that what you were saying?
Major General Wald: I would say they could probably do more than the damage of 1,500 because of the precision and the ability to target the right thing.
Q: Did the B-2 hit the Novi Sad refinery?
Major General Wald: I won't talk about what aircraft hit that refinery right now. I will just say that more than one aircraft hit that refinery.
This is a Kursumilja Third Army command center in Serbia. This is the fielded forces, the Third Army, the army that's in Kosovo. This is a war command center and support area. I'll show you some video of this in just a moment, but the pre-strike imagery is here next. That's it. I'll show you that particular site here in just a moment and what happened to it the last day or two.
Q: Where is that place?
Major General Wald: It's in Kursumilja. It's just north of the Kosovo border. It's the Third Army support facility. That's the fielded force in Kosovo.
This is what I was just talking about here. I'll have three of these. Remember the image I just showed you. F-16s out of Aviano with laser-guided bombs. This is the center building. You'll see that all three of these buildings are destroyed by the end of this attack -- this is -- as you see a lot of debris coming out. You'll see some of the beams on the next picture; you'll see the same building, same strike, different aircraft, same area.
See the first building that was hit on the top. Pretty much destroyed. We'd call that light damage, probably. There's the same on one of the other buildings there. I'm being a little facetious on light, but we're very conservative on the estimates until we're sure of what happened.
Then the third building in that string I just showed you. You can see the other two are -- once again, as pilots we'd call that severely damaged. As some of the photo interpreters might say, that's light to moderate. That bothers us at times, but we'd rather be conservative than wrong. I would say those buildings probably aren't very usable after this.
Once again, in discussing the ability to degrade or disrupt or destroy the Third Army or the FRY, Serb army capability to perform what they're doing, I'd say that's pretty vivid evidence that they're probably having a pretty tough time of it.
F-16 again on another one of their support buildings.
Novi Sad refinery, which I showed you earlier. And to answer your question, Tony, I guess this kind of tells you one of the kinds of aircraft that may have attacked it. (Laughter) This is that steam plant I showed earlier. This is the major facility for that petroleum production facility to even operate at all. Direct hit. Lots of collateral. That's been rendered unusable.
Q: What kind of aircraft was that, sir?
Major General Wald: F-117.
Pancevo refinery. That's the other refinery they have there. Once again, this has been struck earlier. We wanted to make sure the whole building is unusable because it's a major node of that refinery. You'll see the top of the roof start coming off here. That's been rendered unusable. So both of their production facilities are destroyed.
Pristina in Kosovo, SA-6 training facility. Once again, degrading in all ways -- whether they can train, whether they can resupply, whether they can sustain, whether they can track. F-16. And there are several hits on this, several aircraft in that strike. It's rendered destroyed.
A fuel truck at Pristina. Once again, fuel, sustainment, ammo, coms, IADS. His army is losing its ability to live. Full of fuel. Makes it tough for him to move around. He's hunkered down.
Nis army barracks, vehicle storage building. Once again, Third Army support. F-16 with laser-guided bomb. You'll see the bomb coming in. That was several attacks from several aircraft at the same time.
Once again, Nis army barracks, LGBs from F-16s out of Aviano.
This is, as you can see, some of the destruction from the earlier. It shows you that the weather sometimes is a little bit tough. In the post-strike photo interpretation, those buildings were destroyed.
Pec army barracks, this is a MUP army barracks by a Canadian F-18. You can see the laser tracking the building. Very tough target to hit. Potential for collateral. Direct hit. You have to work hard to make sure you get the right target in those.
Kosmaca highway bridge. Once again there was a question earlier on bridges. F-15E with a laser-guided bomb. A direct hit. It didn't drop the span, but it's had significant damage.
Ivanjica radio relay site from an F-16 CG. This is command and control. It's all the way through. You'll see that there's a -- this is actually a chimney. This has been hit earlier. This is a chimney laying down. You'll see that this strike is in a bunker area and does significant damage to that bunker and puts the radio relay site down.
That should be the last film.
Do you have any questions?
Q: About oil. I take it we know that Serbia does not have oil refining capacity, so they can't take crude and turn it into fuel. Is there a concern that they're going to get fuel through other sources, foreign sources, coming in from sea, from the Adriatic? What's the status there? Are they going to get refined products?
Major General Wald: We're watching that close. I know the EU, I mentioned a few days ago, has put an embargo on oil into the FRY.
We know that the FRY is trying very, very hard to get refined fuel, and they're finding it very difficult. So we're watching that very closely. But they're having a very, very tough time of getting more fuel.
Q: General, when will you start flying the 20,000 refugees to this country? They said yesterday that the United States is going to...
Major General Wald: That's actually being worked by State Department and DOMS [Director of Military Support], I believe, and I'm not sure when they're going to start doing that, Charlie.
Q: General, the assessment that NATO is undertaking for ground troops. What level of detail is involved in such an assessment? How long will it take? Then how much more work and time might it take to actually come up with a specific plan that can be used in the field to deploy?
Major General Wald: I'm not sure about how long it will take. I'm not even sure what NATO is doing in that respect from the standpoint of the detail. But I will say there were plans, obviously, earlier during the Rambouillet discussion, and as was mentioned several times by Mr. Bacon, I believe plans that had been on the shelf earlier -- they're dusting them off and reassessing, so it may be a little less time than normal.
Mr. Bacon: There's been no decision to give up the air campaign. The air campaign is the attack now. The allies are united behind the air campaign. They think it's going well, and they think it's going to go better in the future.
What was done yesterday was a decision by the Secretary General, Javier Solana, to ask the military authorities to review the assessments that were done last fall from two perspectives. The first was [whether] the plans to send a peacekeeping force in [are] up to date enough given what's happened in Kosovo in the last couple of months. The three factors really are the buildup of the VJ and MUP forces since the end of last year. Two, the impact of the bombing. And three, the impact of the depopulation campaign that has taken place in Kosovo.
So one, look at the permissive entry, peacekeeping plans in light of those changes.
The second is to look at the other plans which involved the possibility of sending ground forces into a non-permissive environment in light of the same three factors that I just mentioned. It's Secretary General Solana's feeling that given the changes on the ground over the last couple of months, it's just prudent to relook at those plans and see where they stand, but there still is unified allied support behind the air campaign as it stands today and as we plan to expand it in the next weeks.
Q: Ken, can you give us the latest, please, on the callup of the Reserves, the National Guard? Where does that stand now?
Mr. Bacon: It stands under continuing review. I don't have anything for you on it now. When it's done and sent to the White House and signed off by the President, we'll have more to say about it.
Q: It's in this building now, being reviewed here?
Mr. Bacon: Yes.
Q: Ken, do you take any comfort from Mr. Milosevic's language with that Houston TV station in his interview when he said that the POWs would be treated in accord with the Geneva Convention, that they're being treated well, that the Red Cross is not permitted to see them every day, would be able to see them from time to time. Do you take any comfort in that? And also, are you aware of any diplomatic progress toward meeting those goals of having the Red Cross visit or having contact by the Swedish delegation?
Mr. Bacon: This is a perfect example where actions will speak more loudly than words. We're not aware that these POWs have been allowed to be visited by the ICRC yet. When they are, we'll take seriously those promises.
But I want to point out in contrast, the one Serb or VJ POW that has been turned over to the allies by the Albanian government has been visited by a doctor right away, has been visited by religious counselors, and has been visited by the ICRC, and he's been allowed to send a letter to his family. That's a distinct difference from the treatment or mistreatment that the American POWs have received at the hands of the Serbs. So we will watch to see what he does. We won't listen to his empty promises.
Q: Ken, you talk about the allied support for the campaign, but already the old burden-sharing question is being raised. It appears that we're carrying about 60-70 percent of the load for the air campaign. That will get worse when the Apaches go into action and even worse if General Clark gets his 300 additional aircraft that he's requested.
Why aren't the allies picking up more of the burden of this air campaign?
Mr. Bacon: The allies are picking up a huge burden. Look at Italy. Italy is making many of its airports on the eastern coast available to these operations at considerable cost to its commercial business and tourist industry. It's a major participant in terms of combat aircraft as well as humanitarian support. It's allowed its ports to be taken over for the humanitarian effort in Albania and Macedonia.
The French are major participants. The British are major participants. I think there's been very full allied participation in this campaign, and it's going to grow. The General Clark request for 300 American planes is only part of this request. He's also asking the Europeans to supply more planes. Every day we are seeing signs that the allies are in fact committing more. The British committed a carrier a week ago. The Canadians are committing six more F-18s, I believe. And we are seeing signs that the allies are putting more in.
This is a true allied effort. We have capabilities that the allies lack, particularly an all-weather capability. And to the extent the weather's been bad, the emphasis has been more on American systems than on foreign systems, or allied systems. But the allies have, I think, contributed to this in exactly the way we had hoped and expected, and that's in a robust way.
Q: How do you respond to reports that -- you say that all of the allies support the air campaign. How do you respond to reports, though, that the French and the British are already pressing the United States to open its mind more toward the possibility of using ground troops in a nonpermissive environment, and that in fact the White House is dragging its feet on the idea of opening its mind up.
Mr. Bacon: I respond by quoting back to you Prime Minister Blair and President Chirac, both of whom have said in the last day that they support the air campaign, that the air campaign is the way to go. They are fully behind that air campaign. If you go back and examine what they've said, I think you'll find that they do in fact give full support for it.
Q: Last Thursday at the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Shelton said that NATO's ground troop assessment was pretty thin as a military plan. To fatten up a thin military plan, what are some of the considerations that will have to take place per Secretary Solana's direction?
Mr. Bacon: Well, the first thing that would have to take place is a NATO consensus to do that. I'm not sure there has been a NATO consensus to do anything beyond take the assessment off the shelf and review it in light of the three circumstances I listed earlier. I'm not aware that there's a NATO consensus to move forward with a full, detailed military plan at this time.
Obviously, that could change in the future, but I don't think we're at that point now.
Q: Is that assessment simply an estimate of the number of troops that will be required, or are there more aspects to the assessment than just numbers of troops?
Mr. Bacon: It's mainly an estimate of troops that would be required to achieve certain goals.
Q: Not a...
Mr. Bacon: Not a firm plan as to what sort of divisions you'd send in, a sequencing of how they'd get there, what entry points they would use. Those actually were some of the points that General Shelton mentioned when he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Q: In that reassessment, though, given the circumstances over the past month, is NATO going to look at the possibility that the repatriation of these Kosovo refugees may take place in a less permissive environment? That it would be more hostile for these so-called peacekeepers who then may in fact become peace enforcers? Is that one of the aspects being looked at now?
Mr. Bacon: First of all, there's been no decision by NATO to do that. There have been some discussions by the leaders of England and France to look at that, but right now the concentration is on the continuing air campaign and its achieving its goal of dramatically reducing the ability of the Serb military and security forces to continue their operations in Kosovo.
Q: Also in regard to the POW. Has he been interrogated by U.S. and/or NATO military officials? And is he providing any kind of information as to the situation on the ground there regarding the Serb army in Kosovo?
Mr. Bacon: That's not a question I can answer.
Q: In the first week of DESERT STORM the Air Force and the air campaign eliminated water supply, electricity, telephone -- tremendous shock to the Iraqi government system. A month later we haven't delivered that kind of shock. So I address this to both of you -- general, from an Air Force point of view, and then a policy point of view.
We clearly are doing a graduated piecemeal sort of air campaign here. Quite different from what we did in DESERT STORM. Could you analyze that and comment on both of that?
Mr. Bacon: I think I'll let my wingman who flew over Iraq answer that question.
Major General Wald: I think they're different circumstances, first of all, and the objectives were different.
Once again, the objective here is to degrade his capability, also, a very big concern for the Serb population itself and collateral damage as we talked about before.
I think the fact of the matter is, after all that's been said and even after Admiral Wilson's briefing today, I think there's a misperception of the amount of damage that's been done to his army. I think if you start adding all that up and you look at Milosevic, he's probably got to start wondering.
On the other hand, we continue to have all of our runways, almost all of our aircraft except for one that went down for unknown reasons. We have all of our ammunition; we have all of our food. None of our equipment is being destroyed. If you look on the balance of this thing, he's got to start wondering what's going on. The fact of the matter is, as Mr. Bacon mentioned earlier, this air campaign's only going to increase in OPSTEMPO over the next weeks. So the fact that for a 100-day period in Iraq much of the infrastructure there was destroyed -- but much of the field force was destroyed because the fielded force was out in the open -- is a different situation entirely.
I think the difficulty here will be for Milosevic to start figuring out just how bad he has it. I would suspect after this briefing today he probably has a better estimate of where he stands than he did yesterday.
One of the things we don't want to do is make it easy on him. He's being hurt, bad.
Q: If you could go back on the issue of the assessment. Although you say there's no consensus as yet, is it in fact correct, point number one, that the United States does support updating the assessment? And given that, could you just review for us -- I know you've talked about it in the past -- what you think the real operational challenges are to putting ground troops in Kosovo? You've spoken about roads, infrastructure, ports, airfields, etc.
But first, is it correct that we do support updating the assessment?
Mr. Bacon: The United States does support updating the assessment.
Q: And could you review for us what the military operational challenges are to putting ground troops into Kosovo that you've spoken about in the past, as I say, such as 14 roads, lack of airfields...
Mr. Bacon: The first challenge, which we're meeting every day, is to intensify the damage created by the air campaign in order to further reduce his forces on the ground. Obviously it's easier -- as Admiral Wilson pointed out, and as General Wald has pointed out many times -- it's easier to strike facilities if we know where they are than it is to strike moving pieces of armor or military equipment. But we are beginning to do that, and we're beginning to do it more intensely than before.
The difficulty of putting in ground troops is one, territorial. This is difficult terrain. It's hilly. There are narrow valleys. It's very easy to -- unlike the desert, it's very easy to hide armor in the forests and the trees. It's very easy to move them around in a way that's difficult to detect.
Two, they, of course, own this terrain. They know it. They dominate it. They know where the high points are. They've already secured many of those. There are a limited number of roads going into Kosovo, 14 or so. They have mined many of the bridges on those roads. Of course, we've destroyed many of the bridges going in as well, but we've destroyed them coming in from Serbia into Kosovo. They have mined them coming from Albania and Macedonia into Kosovo.
They have dug defensive positions. They've put -- even starting well before the air campaigns -- they started stationing artillery and armor along the border with Kosovo and Albania. We know from the fact that they've been shelling into Albania recently that they have a fair amount of artillery along the border. And recently we have seen increasing signs that they're digging in defensively.
Now that is bad if you're going to attack their positions, because they have more secured, dug in defensive positions. It's good if you want to attack their forces from the air because they're less mobile and because they're dug in. So this is decidedly a mixed blessing for them. It makes our attack easier, and I think it will make it much more effective in the coming weeks.
Q: Given those difficulties you've just cited involved in putting a ground force in, what is it that's happened so far in the air campaign that feeds the confidence level that an air campaign could eventually be successful? What can you cite that would feed that confidence?
Mr. Bacon: Well, I think Admiral Wilson cited a number of things. I think General Wald has cited a number of things.
Major General Wald: I think what you're stating is you have a different objective than what's been stated before. The military objective is to degrade the Serb FRY military [capability] to perform repressive acts on the Albanians, period. That's the military objective. That's what we're doing. If you look at all these numbers I think anybody in this audience, anybody in Serbia, anybody in the world would have a tough time arguing with the fact that it's being degraded. The question is how long will the Serb forces in the field say; "I'm going to stay out here and continue to be attacked."
So from the standpoint of the objective, quantifiably, the objective is going along great.
Now the question is how long does Milosevic want to have this happen to him?
Q: General, I think what we're trying to get at here is a lot of people find it difficult -- I understand what the military goals are. But in Kuwait, for example, if Saddam Hussein wanted to pull out that was okay, great. But if he wasn't going to pull out, the allies were going to push him out. Here the decision is left entirely, the initiative is left entirely in the Yugoslav leadership. They're going to eventually decide whether to stick it out or not.
Major General Wald: Let me correct one thing. The initiative is not on their side. The decision is on his side. The initiative is clearly on the NATO side at this point. His military capability is systematically being destroyed either kinetically and hard kill of his sustainment, or over time his fielded forces. And when you think about it, this has been a month. Even the Gulf War took three months before we even started to think about anything else.
So I think what's happened here is because we have great precision, we have great weapon systems, we have the ability to hit more than one target with one aircraft, [and] the aircraft move fast, everybody thinks this is a lickety split, the mission's over type situation.
The interesting part about it is we have a lot less patience in this audience, as a matter of fact, than the military does for sure; and the fact of the matter is over time he will not have a military to fight with anymore with any great capability.
Q: But General, isn't the American support to take the assessment off the shelf, dust it off, isn't that an implicit admission that at some point you may have to concede that the air campaign will not be sufficient?
Major General Wald: First of all, from the way I see it, the American support is well behind the air campaign. I think the American people are appalled at what Milosevic has done. It may be your assessment they're not behind us, but from what I hear, and I get a lot of e-mails and a lot of letters, there's a lot of support for this approach. And I think the fact of the matter is we need to continue to focus on the fact that Milosevic has performed an atrocity that is in my estimation beyond belief.
We talk about people being killed in America tragically. He's doing that on an hourly basis.
So the fact of the matter is, there's 19 NATO nations that are well behind this. There's almost, I think, in recent history nothing like that. There's no doubt in anybody's mind what we're doing is the right thing. The campaign is the right thing. It will work. I think people have patience to see that happen, frankly.
Q: I think one of the big questions here is your campaign is more of a strategic bombing campaign, it appears, while Milosevic's, the troops are in a tactical situation, and sometimes those two don't meet. Are we really, have we switched over the air campaign to a more tactical air campaign against forces in the field that are out there? Or are we still back in the strategic campaign where maybe in the long run, six months to a year, yes, it's going to have a major impact on his military, but in the short term it may not?
Major General Wald: First of all, as you follow this through, there are steps to this campaign. There's going to be a combination of strategic, operational, and tactical targets continually hit over the next period of time, whatever that is.
As the weather gets better, and I think your alluding to tactical would be fielded forces, there will be much more of that happening. The Apaches coming in will add to that.
The fact of the matter is, it's a combination of -- and the strategic is not the old strategic you would think of during World War II. These are things that would help that army sustain over a period of time. That's being cut off. His ability to fight back is being destroyed.
As we heard earlier, the UCK, the KLA guerrilla army is fighting back. Most of the fighting that goes on right now are the Serbs defending themselves against the UCK. So the fact of the matter is, as things progress down the road, there will be more and more attacks on the fielded forces in Kosovo, but it is a combination of all different types of targets. The strategic part will take a little longer to take effect, as you know, but it's starting to take a big effect. So it's a combination of all those I would say.
Q: Can I go back to the F-117 downed, just for a minute? It's been three weeks now, and obviously the driver has been well debriefed. He probably would have known if he took a SAM up the tail pipe unless there was an internal explosion. JSTARS and AWACS and others would probably have known if he was attacked by an aircraft such as a MiG. Why is it taking so long for us to at least get a theory, a decent guess as to how it was downed or why, what the circumstances were?
Major General Wald: It isn't taking long at all. We're not going to tell you what happened. (Laughter)
Q: General, (inaudible) and the (inaudible)... How are the American (inaudible)?
Major General Wald: The aircrews are holding up great. As a matter of fact, I wish I was over there with them. But the OPSTEMPO hasn't been that bad. They're watching it. Ironically, just as in all past wars, you rarely hear any complaints about OPSTEMPO during a situation like this, particularly when people think they're really doing something that's right.
So in contrast to what maybe the Serb army is feeling at this time, I'd say the alliance has about as good a morale as you're ever going to see.
Q: There seems to be a breakdown in adjectives here. I heard General Shelton tell Congress that we're very close to moving into phase three, the final phase of this campaign, at which point we were going to decimate the military. You keep talking about degrading. Are we going to degrade them, or are we going to decimate them?
Major General Wald: Well, what degree of destroy would you like me to talk about?
Q: Well that's...
Mr. Bacon: I think technically decimate means reduce by a tenth, and we've done far more of that as was clear from the briefing today. (Laughter)
We'll take Jim and then...
Q:...the situation of the refugees trapped inside Kosovo in terms of what is their condition, do they have foodstuffs? Is that reaching a critical point? And specifically, what options are being considered now by the military to try to help relieve that situation?
Mr. Bacon: I think I can answer that. First of all, the figures still are in a wide range of probably 500,000 to 750,000 people we believe are still in Kosovo trying to get out, so-called internally displaced people, IDPs. They continue to be attacked by VJ and MUP forces. For instance on April 20th, a large group of IDPs enroute to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were surrounded and shelled by Serb forces in the Morava mountains near Urosevac. So we continue to get these disturbing reports of refugees being under attack.
We also are learning from the refugees coming out, and they come out episodically. Sometimes there will be a good day when thousands will come out; other days just a few hundred get out. We continue to hear from them that their condition is worse.
For a long while those getting out were fairly well fed, fairly well clothed, and in pretty good shape considering they'd been through a psychological, mental, and physical ordeal. They'd been on the road for awhile, sometimes walking. Now they appear to be in worse shape than they were before. Part of the reason is there's not much food in Kosovo. That leads to your second question.
NATO is looking at ways to get food to these internally displaced people, but unfortunately, there is no easy way to do that. We've been through some of the problems in the past, but if you look at the three main ways of doing it -- air drops, many disadvantages. General Shelton has talked about those on the Hill. The second is opening up some sort of humanitarian corridor, also very difficult right now particularly given the defensive positions that the VJ forces are taking. The third is trying to help nongovernment organizations get humanitarian relief supplies in either by adjusting our bombing runs or dealing with the Serbs to get permission from them to allow them in. Obviously, the Serbs are not interested in feeding the Kosovar Albanians right now. They're interested in exterminating them. So they have not been in a position to even discuss this issue of how to save their own people.
Q: Any more details of how the people that are still hiding in the mountains are faring? Are they going to be able to walk out if they get an opportunity to do it, or are they stuck?
Mr. Bacon: That's a tough issue. Almost all our information is anecdotal. Most of it comes from either reports from refugees who are making it out or reports from the KLA. Both these groups have reason to dramatize the problems that are being faced by the refugees in the hills. Having said that, there's every reason to believe that their situation is worsening.
Q: Ken, are you ruling out any targets...
Q:...weather conditions out there? You mentioned the weather obviously being a problem. You've got JDAM out there, JSOW, GPS-guided munitions from aircraft, that are really the only types of all-weather munitions aircraft launch that we have. We've got Tomahawk and CALCMs, but in terms of aircraft, I guess we're still turning back some missions. Would you like to see more different types of all-weather munitions out there than we currently have?
Major General Wald: From an aircrew perspective, I'd like more of all that all the time. But the fact of the matter is we never had any of this before. In the Gulf War we had, besides cruise missiles, zero all-weather weapons. So I think I'd put it into the category of it's a darn good thing we have some of it, and we're going to get more in the future, and in the future they'll all be all-weather. So from a pilot perspective, sure, I'd like to have more. But the real issue here is we can continue to hit these targets through all weather.
Q: Ken, other than innocent civilians, other than innocent civilians and collateral damage in Belgrade, are you now not ruling out any targets including the home of the defense minister, the home of the foreign minister? Any targets which may, as you say, have command and control?
Mr. Bacon: Charlie, I've made it a point not to discuss targets prospectively, and I'm going to stick with that point. I think that the trend of this air campaign is clear. We are going after a broader range of targets. We're going after targets that are closer to the heart of the regime. And we're going after targets that sustain the forces in the field. And we're going after the forces in the field. All three of those campaigns will continue. It's not either/or. It's all and more.
One more question.
Q: Can you explain what you were talking about, the update of the assessment for permissive entry and why you would have to look at the bomb damage and the reinforcement of the MUP and VJ for a permissive entry? Are you talking more about a semi-permissive entry or a practical permissive or something less than permission from Milosevic?
Mr. Bacon: There are two sets of plans. One for the KFOR, the Kosovar peacekeeping force, and the other for a nonpermissive entry. NATO made a choice back in the fall, and it decided to develop fully the permissive entry plan as it negotiated, because it saw the entry of the NATO peacekeeping force as crucial to supporting the diplomatic solution we hoped to meet. We developed that plan fully. In light of what's happened, it's prudent to reexamine it.
We did not develop fully...
Q: Can I just stop you right there? Sticking on the first one, why does the amount of, the number of MUP and Serb troops and the bomb damage and all that, how does that affect the first permissive entry? Because there would be no opposition.
Mr. Bacon: Certainly, refugee flows back in would have an impact on it. The types of facilities that are available would have an impact on it. And even though we assumed when we negotiated Rambouillet that permissive would mean Serb forces out by agreement -- the agreement called for a phased withdrawal of the Serb forces -- we were never going to send the DC police force into Kosovo. We were always going to send a heavily armed force into Kosovo just as we did into Bosnia, because we can't take chances in a situation like that. So we were going to send an armored force in from all the NATO countries. That would still be our goal if we went into a permissive environment. We would send in a combat ready force to send a clear message to any would-be adversary that they'd better watch out. That's what we did in Bosnia. It's worked. We would have done the same thing in Kosovo, and we will.
Q: You seem to be suggesting, as the British and the French perhaps have, that there may be some evolution in what a permissive environment is considered.
Mr. Bacon: The U.S. position is clear. We are prepared to send forces into a permissive environment. That hasn't changed at all.
Q: Ken, can I ask the General, I want to draw him out a little bit more on the difference between tactical and strategic bombing in this case. Admiral Wilson said earlier that the tempo of the FRY operations has decreased. It's winding down or has decreased. Ken said NATO's going to start attacking those forces more vigorously over the next week or two.
Is it a fact, though, that the ethnic cleansing and the repression of the ethnic Albanians is basically complete, irrespective of the air campaign. It's done, and now it's a punitive campaign that's being conducted against those ground forces.
Major General Wald: Punitive against ground forces? You're implying -- no. Let me answer your question on strategic, operational, and tactical.
Strategic would be in this case something that has a level of importance that it can control a broad range of things throughout the country, strategic command and control, for example.
There's also a little bit of a misunderstanding, I think, of what strategic, operational, and tactical means from the standpoint of actual targeting. I think, in this day and age, tactical might be aircraft flying in Kosovo. They find a target of opportunity, a tank that happens to be in the open -- they attack it. Some people would say that's tactical. That's a strategic target in the hole, as far as I'm concerned, when you put it all together. But really what most people think of strategic now is you have a target in FRY or someplace else that's static. It has some significance; you pre-plan that, and you go, and you take this target out that has more than just that individual significance about it. So the tactical part, as we said earlier, as we take out his capability to, his robust capability that he had in the FRY before or Serbia for sure, and his ground forces, and the weather gets better, and we want to do it, we're going to start taking out his force in the field, and that will be in a more real time basis. When he moves, we'll be there to take him out, so that's more of a tactical level type situation.
Q: The campaign thus far, though, has not stopped ethnic cleansing from your standpoint.
Major General Wald: Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped, and that's Milosevic's decision. But the decision early on when we made this the objective, was never implied to be stop the ethnic cleansing. Now certainly we want to. And over time what's happened is, just like all of us, we feel terrible about what's happened there. We want that to stop. That was not the original problem, and it wasn't the original objective. It's become part of it. If air power can stop that, all the better. But just remember the objective right now is to destroy, defeat, degrade his army and we're going to do that.
Mr. Bacon: I'm going to unilaterally end this briefing. I'd like to say that this is "Take Your Child to Work Day." I'd like to welcome all the children who came, and those who left. (Laughter) I'm sorry we subjected you to such a lengthy briefing. I suppose you could call it the parent of all briefings, but I admire your patience.
Press: Thank you.