Kosovo: na Pentagonovoj konferenciji za stampu

Petar Maksimovic (petar@heplcdf1.harvard.edu)
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 21:33:29 -0600

K O S O V O mejling lista
Kosovo@yurope.com je privatan forum za razgovor u vezi sa udarom
NATO pakta na SRJ. Lista sluzi kao dopuna vestima, sa temama
vazanim za zivot i prezivljavanje civilnog stanovnistva SRJ.

Cao svima,

Za takticki orijentisane, prenosim ceo transkript Department of
Defense konferencije za stampu. Kao sto je i za ocekivati, ima
gomila NATO propagande, ali mislim da je zanimljivo zato sto negde
u drugoj polovini idu kroz primere toga sta trenutno NATO gadja na

Za one koje mrzi da citaju, pokusacu da sazmem, pa da odmah obrisete:
vreme je lose, i nije jasno koliko mogu da gadjaju tenkove, a i da je
dobro, izgleda da se plase SAM-7 (jel' to bese "osa"?...) koje
pesadija moze da sama da nosi i lansira, pa tenk-basteri nesto slabo
idu. Tako da sad mahom gadjaju logisticke centre za takve operacije
-- tj mesta gde tenkovi i transporteri sipaju benzin, ljudi uzimaju
hranu, i slicno.

Svakako se nadam da nasi prate Pentagonov web-sajt :)


= N E W S B R I E F I N G
= WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301

DoD News Briefing
Tuesday, March 30, 1999 - 5:20 p.m.
Vice Adm. Scott A. Fry, Joint Staff Director of Operations
Rear Adm. Thomas R. Wilson, Joint Staff Director of Intelligence
Mr. Bacon: We have Vice Admiral Scott Fry, who is the Director of
Operations on the Joint Staff, and Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson, who is
the Director of Intelligence on the Joint Staff. Each one has a brief
presentation which they'd like to make without questions, and then
they'll answer questions after the presentation is over.
We have some charts which we'll hand out later if you haven't
gotten them already. We'll have some time for questions after their
With that, Admiral Fry?
Vice Admiral Fry: The first chart that I wanted to talk to was
the mission to conduct air operations throughout Yugoslavia, to degrade
the capability of both the special police and the military to conduct
repressive actions against the Kosovar Albanians. That was the mission
that we started with. That's the military mission that continues today.
In execution of that mission, these are the target sets that we
have been attacking from day one. The air defense system, the
integrated air defense system in Serbia is very robust. We need to
grind away at this system to set the conditions for operations both in
progress and in the future. The command and control, to degrade the
ability of the leadership to control their forces. Conducting attacks
against the army and the special police to degrade their ability in the
field to conduct repressive actions. Then into some industry targets so
that he cannot repair or manufacture new weapons.
These targets we have been attacking, as I said, from night one
with an eye towards working against his ability to sustain the
Next slide.
General Shelton said from the start that the Serbs had two main
allies. One of them is the geography, and the other is the weather.
What we have here is a chart of the weather conditions in the region
since the commencement of operations.
We're using the red/yellow/green stoplight charts that the
military has such great affinity for. Green is 25,000 feet or with
better than five miles of visibility; yellow is over 10,000 feet better
than three miles of visibility; and red is less than 10,000.
As you can see on night one of the operation, we were able to
complete every mission without the impact of weather. But as the
operation has continued, the weather has gotten more difficult with each
succeeding night, and we have had instances where sorties were unable to
complete their missions in their target areas because they were
weathered out.
Next slide.
I wanted to put a chart up so that we could have a reference to
the level of effort that's involved here in the geography so that we
could understand that if the target area were in northwestern Georgia
the kind of distances these pilots are flying to complete these
missions, from the Dakotas, if you will, from Aviano on the border
between Missouri and Arkansas, etc. This complicates the problems.
There is a complex tanker regime involved to make sure these missions
are completed.
That's my last slide.
Rear Admiral Wilson: Good afternoon. It's good to see you
I'm here to talk about battle damage assessment and then any
questions you may have on the forces that we're attacking and the nature
of the threat that we're facing. This is a functional assessment now
after the period of the campaign which has been ongoing. I'll address
the same sets that Admiral Fry addressed. He talked about the
objectives, and I'll try to describe how we're doing.
With regard to air defense, the most important thing is to be
able to operate in the environment and conduct the attacks with a
minimized, as minimal risk as possible. Our assessment is that the
increasing physical damage that we're doing to the air defense systems
-- and by that I mean the early warning radars, the surface-to-air
missile radars, the fighter aircraft and things which threaten us -- are
increasingly complementing the very strong suppression of the air
defenses which is ongoing at the time of the strikes -- jamming,
electronic warfare, and other kinds of tactics and techniques that we
So this continuing degradation of his air defense physically,
along with the suppression, is allowing the conduct of these operations
in what is a very robust and redundant air defense environment, and one
that has been described by the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense as
a very dangerous and capable air defense system.
The strikes have severely damaged his surface-to-air missile
support facilities, the ones that give them the sustainability to
conduct air defense operations with their missile systems over a long
period of time. And over half of his advanced fighters -- by that I
mean the MiG-29s -- have been destroyed either in air-to-air combat by
the NATO force or on the ground. In addition to that, we've destroyed a
number of other aircraft on the ground that could be used for ground
attack operations, and there's other fighters as well, including
We're also working on the command and control systems. By that
we not only mean the national command and control, but the command and
control of the military, the police -- which we call the VJ and the MUP,
in case I drop into one of those acronyms -- and the integrated air
defense system or the IADS.
We are clearly degrading that, although it is still an effective
system that we have to deal with and continue to work on in support of
our operations.
We believe that attacks on certain kinds of facilities have
damaged his intelligence capability, which allows the Serbs to be able
to get more information about our operations and is of concern to us
that we continue to degrade his ability to conduct intelligence
collection and to conduct warning for his forces.
We are increasingly going after the army and the police, and
especially those which are in Kosovo and the Kosovo region. We started
by attacking garrisons and the support structure which support these
forces in the field or in their garrisons, and subsequently have gone
into attacks on deployed forces or forces in their staging areas or on
the staging areas themselves.
These are an ongoing set of targets that will be struck and
restruck until we believe that we are achieving the desired level of
degradation and degrading the support and the sustainability. In fact
we believe that the degradation already on sustainability, and
particularly on his ammo depos and ammo supplies, will reduce the
operational endurance of the military and the police forces which are
conducting operations. Also, the infrastructure which supports his air
activity has been damaged or degraded, as have the attack aircraft which
I mentioned earlier have been destroyed.
Finally, these industry targets, the capability to repair and
fix both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, have been significantly
degraded, as has the ability to produce ammunition as well as store
ammunition in the country.
Next chart.
One of the questions has been, what are we actually attacking in
the Kosovo region or in the region around Kosovo which are conducting
the operations against the Kosovar Albanians.
I just wanted to show you the array of targets which has been
struck. You can see the coding on here for the army bases, the police
bases. Often they are collocated with headquarters and support elements
at the same facilities. We've attacked both headquarters for the VJ
and the MUP as well as the individual and common sustainment mechanisms
which support them in the field.
So you can see that significant attacks have occurred around,
throughout Kosovo. And in particular I'd highlight the ammunition
depots in Kosovo and outside of Kosovo as well as the ammunition storage
and plant up here have all been successfully attacked.
You see on here that we are attacking deployed forces in staging
areas. This is a highly mobile force. They're operating for the most
part with armor and mech company-sized battle groups supported by
infantry and especially by police. So they're heavily dispersed, and we
continue to attack those forces or the sustainment mechanisms in the
field. They go from the garrison to the field where they have bivouacs
set up, ammunition and fuel. All of these are subject to attack to try
to degrade the capability and degrade the ability to sustain operations.
Next chart.
Now I'd like to go through some photographs with you to show you
some of the damage which has been achieved against certain target sets
in the couple of days or the last week, actually. We don't have much
imagery from the last couple of days because the very weather conditions
that Admiral Fry mentioned impeded operations also significantly impedes
our ability to conduct imagery of this type.
This is the Danilovgrad SA-6 SAM site. It's a facility where
they store SA-6 missiles. This was attacked by CALCMs delivered by
B-52s. You can see this storage and maintenance shed, and these storage
and maintenance buildings here have been damaged or destroyed. That's
an example from the air defense systems.
Next slide.
Here's an example from the national command and control. It's a
communications station in Kosovo itself which is fundamental to helping
command and control their forces. This was attacked also by CALCMs and
by NATO aircraft, and these were the target areas, the control buildings
and the key operations buildings right here. And they sustained
probably a functional kill.
Next slide.
Here's an example of an army garrison in Pristina. These are
barracks buildings here. This is the headquarters for the military
police or the MUP, the ones that are primarily responsible for a lot of
the killing in the cities which occurred last summer and is occurring
again, and this was destroyed by TLAM missiles, or heavily damaged by
TLAM missiles.
Next slide, please.
This is one of the sustainment targets that I was talking about,
the Leskovac army barracks and ammo depot just outside of Kosovo, up in
the area south of Nis. We went after this with NATO aircraft. They
have these bunkers which are ammunition storage. And when we attacked
these, they were successfully hit with large secondary explosions
indicating that large amounts of ammunition were destroyed as a part of
the strike.
This is a significant facility up in the Belgrade area. It is
the facility where they conduct repairs and maintenance of their fixed
wing and helicopter aircraft as well as support for manufacturing and
R&D, and you can see the damage here at this facility right here and
these buildings over here in the yellow box.
Before I finish my presentations about damage I'd like to show
you some examples of damage being done by Serbian forces in Kosovo.
This is in north central Kosovo where some of the more intensive
counterinsurgency operations occurred a week or so ago, and where we
have now the reports of significant numbers of the population being
moved out of their villages and out of their areas. This shows the
burning buildings and houses which have been set on fire by the Serb
police and soldiers, as well as apparently civilian vehicles leaving the
Finally, down in southwest Kosovo in the city of Dakovica. This
is a small town in the area which is primarily Kosovar Albanian. We saw
imagery that showed fires burning here. The next day we see all this
smoke, coupled with other kinds of reports that we're getting out of
this area. It leaves little doubt that the Serbian police and military
essentially destroyed this entire area here. This road you can see.
The houses without roofs that have been burned and destroyed, around
behind this mosque here they have burned and destroyed. And in imagery
just a day or so ago we noticed that this mosque here had also been
torched and was destroyed.
That's one of the things that is of great concern to us is
obviously the fact that the destruction is being done by these forces in
Kosovo. I wanted to point that out as well as the battle damage.
That concludes my briefing, we'll turn it over to your
Q Admiral, you mentioned the damage to the air defenses of
course that we've been working on since the beginning. Can you for the
first time give us a little more quantification of the degree to which
it's been degraded? Is it 50 percent effective? Is it 90 percent? Can
you give any other way of quantifying the damage?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I don't think I can quantify it as a
percentage destruction right now. It's a very large and robust target
What I would say is that we are increasingly taking out key
parts of the air defense system through physical damage. At the same
time, we have been operating in the system now for a week. We have
increased confidence of the ability that the physical damage combined
and leveraging with the suppression tactics and techniques we're using,
that we can operate and conduct attacks against our targets.
Q Any SAM missile batteries, for example?
Rear Admiral Wilson: Yes, we have.
Q Can you say how many roughly?
Rear Admiral Wilson: I'm not going to go into numbers.
Q Admiral Fry, can you tell us, we're a week into the
campaign now. Any plans to stand down or halt for a day or two? And
two, why aren't the A-10s being used in what they're designed for, to
take out tanks and armor? They're, we're told, flying CSAR. Why are
they doing that?
Vice Admiral Fry: Let me answer question one. There is, to my
knowledge at this point, no desire to pause or have a stand-down or wait
for awhile. This campaign is one of keeping the pressure on the target
sets that Admiral Wilson and I have talked to. We have flown strikes
for six nights, and we were going to going to continue that level of
effort in servicing all of those target sets.
With respect to the A-10s, you get back to the issue of the
robustness of his air defense systems. It isn't just the mobile SAMs
and the communication links between them and the radars, but there are
thousands of MANPADs, and once you get down below 15,000 feet with the
weather as bad as it's been, but even in good weather, worse in good
weather, you're going to place our pilots at a tremendous amount of
risk, and we've got to weigh that as we proceed with this campaign.
Q The surface-to-air missile, the shoulder-fired SA-7s,
are going to be there in profusion, so you're really never going to get
to the point, are you, where you've got the air defenses eroded to the
point where it's safe for them to go in?
Rear Admiral Wilson: It's not safe to go in there now. We're
going in a very heavy air defense system, and we are doing our best and
are very successfully degrading and suppressing it while we go in.
When you degrade the ability to cue tactical systems such as the
SA-7s, then you increase your ability to operate in different
environments and different altitudes. It's obviously of increased
danger when you're down lower, and we have to make the determination
that we can conduct the operations with the appropriate amount of risk
for the situation.
Q Admiral Fry, can you describe in precise terms, if you
would, the number of sorties, ground attack sorties on targets on the
ground that have had to be called off because of weather? Secondly, how
many perhaps were diverted to secondary targets?
Vice Admiral Fry: I'm afraid I can't get into that level of
detail right off the top of my head.
Q Can you talk in --
Vice Admiral Fry: I'd prefer not to even approximate it.
Q ...at all? A handful of flights, a significant number
of flights? There's only one full day where you've got all green, and
every other day there is largely yellow or red.
Vice Admiral Fry: Even on the worst days, we've been able to
use some precision weapons -- TLAMs, CALCMs. We have been able to get
strikes in on every day. But as far as characterizing the percentages
of days that we weren't able to do ground attack -- we were able to do
ground attack every day. So...
Q I'm talking about total number of actual missions,
Vice Admiral Fry: I don't have that information available.
Q Has any of the bombing to this moment affected
significantly, put a serious crimp in the ethnic cleansing? And will
any of the bombing in the near future interfere in ethnic cleansing, or
is that considered something that's already been done, so it's no longer
an objective?
Secondly, we hear various estimates of the number of refugees.
Everything from 500,000 to one million. Do you have an up-to-date
Vice Admiral Fry: First of all, with respect to stopping the
ethnic cleansing, we never supposed or reported that we had a silver
bullet that would bring that to a halt.
Q ...said that was one of our objectives.
Vice Admiral Fry: Our military objective has been the one that
I put up here which is, as I can state it again, to degrade his ability
to continue to conduct the repressive action. That is including his
sustainment, the headquarters and the forces on the ground as we can
attack them.
Q So your view is that it never was an objective to deter
ethnic cleansing? Is that your statement?
Vice Admiral Fry: Our efforts, as we can pursue this objective
-- if that stops the ethnic cleansing. But Slobodan Milosevic can stop
the ethnic cleansing tomorrow.
Q But I just want to make clear, that was not in your mind
ever a military objective?
Vice Admiral Fry: This is the military objective. From the
Q ...officials cited that as an objective.
Q On your mission here, I don't mean to be impertinent,
but it's an awfully convenient way of saying what your mission is. I
mean you guys have degraded their capability already. You can pull out
and declare success. Is there a way that you can characterize for us
how much you want to degrade, what you want the Serb portions to look
like when you're done?
Rear Admiral Wilson: The way I would answer that is there have
been repressive actions and killings going on in the Balkans for a long
time. It's going on right now, tragically. It may go on for a long
time in the future if somebody doesn't try to do something about it. We
may not have the silver bullet, as Admiral Fry says, that can stop it
tomorrow or the next day, but our goal is to degrade this military so it
is much more difficult or much less convenient for this regime to
continue this campaign in Kosovo or other parts of the Balkans.
Q You've talked mostly about hitting support units here.
Can you give us a sense, will it be days or a week before you start
actually hitting armor and units in the field?
Rear Admiral Wilson: We're already trying to hit armor and
troops in the field and we're hitting support mechanisms at bases as
well as field support mechanisms where these tanks and APCs come back to
refuel and reload after their patrols and after their egregious
operations in these cities. So we think those are good targets, and
those are the kind of targets that we can hit in the kind of conditions
that we have had.
We can't measure it right now, but it inevitably has an impact
on their sustainability.
Q We're hitting mostly supply units now, support units?
Is that right?
Rear Admiral Wilson: The field deployed units. There might be
tanks, APCs and supplies and ammos parked in these areas where we can
find them.
Q You say parked, but the ones actually taking part in the
Rear Admiral Wilson: The ones actually taking part in the
cleansing may be in cities, right in the villages that may not be able
to be engaged right at that very minute.
Q How long will it take before you're able to get at those
targets? Any sense?
Rear Admiral Wilson: We can get the targets when they are in
areas -- we locate them, if we can find them we can deal with the threat
and attack them with all of the considerations that are important,
including collateral damage.
Q Admiral, we've been told the Pentagon anticipated this
crackdown before the airstrikes, but did you anticipate the scale of the
atrocities that the Serbians are committing? And Admiral Fry, in view
of the wholesale slaughter and forced exodus, is there greater pressure
on the operation to move more quickly to phase three?
Rear Admiral Wilson: It's very difficult to anticipate intent.
We certainly believe that the force which he built up in Kosovo and
outside Kosovo in the weeks leading up to the Rambouillet talks and the
subsequent talks in Paris were a significant force that could conduct
actions ranging from targeting counterinsurgency and potentially the
ethnic cleansing. But we did not know what he may do, and what
contingency plans he had, although we were sure that he would conduct
some significant operation in Kosovo in some manner of time. It was
Q Has the scale of it now caused commanders to ask for ...
Vice Admiral Fry: It would be inappropriate for me to comment
on when we will or what phase we will go to next. This has been a
phased campaign. We have continued with a level of effort in all of the
targets, and we will continue that.
Q Admiral Fry, from what you've told me, most of the
attack missions have been above 15,000 feet, but you're sending over
five B-1s who are perhaps best operating low and fast. They can operate
above 15,000. Are you going to use them low and fast? And secondly, is
the B-1 being sent over because the Air Force is in short supply of
Vice Admiral Fry: The B-1 is being sent over because the
theater commander has asked for it. How we're going to employ the B-1
-- it would be inappropriate for me to discuss that right now.
Q Do you have any numbers for us on sorties flown to date
and cruise missiles?
Vice Admiral Fry: Over 1,700 sorties have been flow to date.
Cruise missiles, over 100.
Q Admiral Wilson, there have been various estimates of
exactly what the Serbs have in Kosovo at the moment in terms of number
of troops, armored vehicles, howitzers and so forth.
Can you give us your best estimate on how many combat troops
they have in there, how many tanks, how many howitzers, and any other
relevant statistics that you might have.
Rear Admiral Wilson: I would estimate that they have around
25,000 army troops in Kosovo, augmented by 12,000 to 14,000 of these
special military police. They are equipped with a significant number of
tanks, nearly 300 tanks, and APCs, armored personnel carriers, and
approaching 200 in terms of the number of artillery pieces which they
have in the area.
Q ...police have these.
Rear Admiral Wilson: Most of that is the military equipment
that belongs to the army and the police is largely a light infantry type
that travel in trucks and other kinds of vehicles. But they operate
jointly in battle groups.
Q We're now a week into the operation. A week ago would
you have thought that you would be in the position you are now in? Had
you thought you would have accomplished more? Had you thought that the
humanitarian crisis would not have been this severe? Is this worse than
you thought it was going to be a week ago?
Vice Admiral Fry: Let me answer a piece of that, and Tom can
make his part. We knew from the start this was going to be difficult.
We knew from the start that the Serbs had a terrific integrated air
defense system, as you've heard us say many, many times. There are
difficult targets. This is difficult terrain. It's mountainous; it's
tree-covered. This is not the desert. The weather has not been in our
favor, either. But even anticipating the worst of the weather, we knew
this was going to be hard. We never anticipated that we were going to
go in there in a couple of days, and this was all going to be over.
This is a campaign. If we have to grind it out, and we are grinding it
out with an effort, as I've said many times, into each of the target
sets every night, we're prepared to continue.
Rear Admiral Wilson: I said before it's hard to gauge intent or
will, but we knew it would be a difficult force to attrit fast because
of the numbers, the pure numbers, and the terrain which makes it
difficult to operate in and easy for these kinds of forces to hide and
maneuver in.
Q Is there any evidence of the use of human shields?
Mr. Bacon: We have time for one more question.
Q Admiral, you used the terms "damage", "degrade",
"severely damaged". Can you define for us what you mean by that in
percentage terms of their overall capability?
Vice Admiral Fry: It harks back to DESERT FOX when we talked
about individual targets. It was a very different operation where we
had a set number of more or less fixed facilities.
This is a very different kind of target set when you have a
deployed unit.
So when I talked about damage or degrade there, I made no
percentage assignments. These are functional assessments about a target
set. We're not at this point doing or providing aim point by aim point
physical destruction analysis because these aim points are on the move
all the time and they have to be engaged and re-engaged and re-struck.
I think that our crews are doing a superb job of carrying out this
Q ...assessment of what his actual capability was to begin
within, and you can give us some sense, if you call it damage, damage to
what? Overall, is it...
Vice Admiral Fry: I think we've done significant damage to, for
example, the ammunition depots and storage in Kosovo.
Q Can you give us some sense of what that means? 80
percent of the capability has been degraded, or...
Vice Admiral Fry: I'm not going to assign percentages to it.
But it will certainly restrain his sustainability here.
Q To what extent has weather blunted the U.S. and British
arsenal of precision, laser-guided bombs? I'm thinking on F-15Es and
Harriers and F-16CGs. Have they been largely away from the fight now
because of the weather, or have they been engaged to a point, and you
expect them to be used more?
Vice Admiral Fry: They haven't been away from the fight, but
the laser-guided weapons have been the ones that have been impacted by
the severe weather that we've had. But once again, we have managed to
get packages into the target area ever night. Now, are we going to use
more or less in the future? I don't want to characterize that, but
we're going to keep, as I've said, this same kind of level of effort as
we continue day by day by day to service the target sets.
Press: Thank you, gentlemen.
- END -

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