THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Baumholder, Germany)
BACKGROUND BRIEFING BY SENIOR MILITARY PLANNERS IN GERMANY
Filing Center U.S. Army Base/Smith Barracks Baumholder, Germany
2:00 P.M. (L)
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I appreciate the opportunity to come talk to you today. First, I want to tell you that the plan has been ongoing for some time, like most of you know. And where we are in the plans process right now is NATO, the North Atlantic Council, approved an order to deploy soldiers at about 12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon. And as most of you know, U.S. forces are not part of NATO until the President, through the JCS, actually establishes an order to make us part. That hasn't happened yet, but we expect that to happen in the next 24-36 hours.
And as soon as that happens, what will go in is what we're calling enabling forces, which is about 700 U.S., maybe 2,500, 2,600 total from all the countries. Those are primarily logistics and communications folks that need to be in in order to control the deployment of the main force, which we expect to start flowing in the next couple weeks. So that should happen, oh, probably by tomorrow night or Monday morning at the latest.
Once we get the authority to put the main forces in, as you know our area is in the Tuzla, northern part of the Federation. And that's where you'll first see U.S. forces being inserted. And we're going to use light infantry initially because we can fly them in, and they'll basically secure the airfield there, and then we'll start flowing in our heavier forces.
Heavy forces have to be deployed primarily by rail. And as you know, the rail in Bosnia is not too hot right now. So they'll actually flow through Hungary, and then we'll road-march through Croatia. And if you've looked at the map, it's -- where we're going to go in southern Hungary is not very far from Bosnia. So we'll road march down through Croatia, come in from the north, and then go into our sector around Tuzla. That process, we think, will take around 60 days from the time we start it to get all of our forces in.
And by the time we get finished, we'll have just short of 20,000 U.S. forces that will be in the Bosnia-Herzegovina area. There will be another 5,000 that will be outside Croatia, Hungary, those kind of places, that will supporting primarily the 20,000 that are in the country.
Of course, our mission is to implement the peace treaty, the military aspects of it. One of our primary responsibilities, of course, is force protection of our own forces. And to that end, we are taking very heavy armament to protect our soldiers in the form of tanks and Bradleys and Howitzers. Don't plan on using them, but we'll certainly have them there if we need them.
One of the first things, of course, we'll do once we establish ourselves, is start the marking of the border process, which is one of our responsibilities. And that's going to be a challenge as the winter sets in. In some places in our area the snow is already six and eight feet deep. So we will have a challenge, but we'll get the border marked and then start assisting in the implementation of the peace treaty.
That's about all I was going to say, initially. If you have questions on the plan or how we're going to execute it, I'll be glad to answer them.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: A couple of issues for two minutes on force protection, and a couple of other things that have to precede movement into the area that we still need some authority to do: You've seen a lot of learned speculation about use of facilities and areas in Hungary. You've heard recently acknowledgement of the Hungarian government, that they've authorized use of facilities primarily in the vicinity of Kapsovar and Tzare. And in the period between the movement of the enabling force and the introduction of the major forces into Bosnia-Herzegovina we need to expand on those opportunities and establish what we call an intermediate staging base in Hungary. And that carries with it significant requirements in manpower and simple construction so that we have a base from which to move into Hungary.
A second piece of that is how soldiers are equipped to protect themselves in some rather vicious weather that my colleague alluded to when he mentioned six to eight feet of snow. And we have displayed for you on the stage examples of additional cold-weather gear that we've issued our soldiers, and you're free to examine it at your leisure.
With that, we're finished boring you and we'll try on your questions.
Q I've got a couple of questions. It's been written quite often in the States that this is described as the riskiest mission since the Persian Gulf War. Do you gentlemen agree with that characterization?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I don't happen to agree with that. My feeling is that you analyze a mission, which is what we did here, and then you look at what the potential hazards are to your soldiers and that's what you train to do.
One of the big hazards, of course, in the area we're going to is mines. They're are millions of mines in Bosnia. And so we have gone through extensive mine identification; have brought out folks that have worked with the UNPROFOR and have taught us techniques that they have learned to use in order to keep our soldiers safe. So it's a different mission for us, but it's certainly well within our capability, and I wouldn't say it's the riskiest.
Q The other question I had pertained to -- one of the things a lot of people in the States are worried about is that there will be another Beirut bombing type scenario. What are you doing to avoid having troops barracked all in one place or headquartered in one place that could become a target?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, as you know, our area is fairly large. It's probably -- the border that we'll be responsible for is in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 miles long. And with only 20,000 soldiers, although that sounds like a lot, they will be very spread out in battalion and company size locations in order to help monitor and control mark the border.
So we're not going to have any places where there are large concentrations, but on the other hand, we're also there with a very robust ROE that allows us to take precautions to keep folks from endangering our soldiers. I think you'll find that, one, we've learned a lot since Beirut, obviously; and two, that we -- it's a military mission and we just don't plan to let anybody do that to us.
Q To clarify what you said at the top of the briefing, when do you expect the President to approve the plan, the deployment plan, and when do you expect the first troops, part of this 2,600 enabling troops, to get to Bosnia?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The question is, when do we expect the President to approve the plan, and when do we expect troops to start moving on the enabling force. Our understanding is the President has approved the plan. The issue my colleague described for you was some additional actions that have to be taken by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the levels of command between them and us. We expect all that to occur in relatively short order, and we expect to have forces moving in 24 to 36 hours.
Q Did he approve it this morning --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: You'll have to ask him about that. We expect to have forces moving in 24 to 36 hours.
Q What is he now doing today with Clinton in terms of -- is he going to show him the detailed plans of what you intend to do, and then sign off on those, too, or what is going to happen --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I think that General Joulwan is explaining to him the specifics of the plan and answering questions he may have of how we plan to implement it. I think he has a pretty good understanding already; I think this is just the final confirmation with the on-the-ground commander of what we're actually going to do. And then we expect, upon conclusion of that, to get orders to move. And we'll start moving.
Q How concerned are you about the nonaligned fighters who are in this area who may be Muslim aligned, but are not Bosnia or Croatian or Serb? You're talking about a number of troops like that who are in these areas that really don't belong to anybody, kind of rogue units.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We're concerned about all armed individuals that are in our area that don't respond to organized leadership. We have a sizeable enough force, we have sufficient MPs who are inside of our area that we think in the very short order we can cause any thoughts that they may have of taking action to be not very profitable. We really don't see that as a major threat, but it's something that we've trained to deal with if we need to.
Q -- talk has been just as you said now about how robust the rules of engagement will help protect the troops and accomplish the mission. Have those rules actually been spelled out -- so far or does part of that await the formal signing in Paris?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The question dealt with have the rules of engagement actually been spelled out, and I assume you mean approved. The rules of engagement are part of the Paris -- the rules of engagement are associated with the Paris agreement. We have had what we thought would be the final-approved rules and we have been practicing and implementing them throughout our training. We expect some small variations that will be very easy for us to incorporate.
So we have been practicing for some time situations, creating situations for our soldiers to help them understand how to employ them. The key thing is, of course, is we don't want anybody hurt in order to figure out what our action should be. So it's -- we take an action to prevent folks from being hurt.
Q -- 700-man force, do they parachute in?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: No. They're all going to either go in by train, and we have about seven different trains that will go, because they're taking a lot of equipment. Some of them will fly in by military, fixed-wing aircraft. There isn't anybody jumping into this operation that I know of.
Q Do you have any idea of the eventual 20,000 U.S. troops, what proportion will be coming here from Baumholder?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, there's a whole brigade combat team coming here, so my guess is probably in then neighborhood of 2,200 or so -- and all live here.
Q And what portion of the troops here?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: It's about a little over a tenth. I mean, there's 20,000 going in; there's 2,200 coming from here.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: You should understand the composition of all of U.S. Army Europe. There's, as we speak, about 63,000 U.S. Army soldiers in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. About 20,000 of that number will go into Bosnia-Herzegovina. And additional several thousand will support the operation from what people have termed the "rim" of the operational area, primarily Hungary and Croatia.
So we'll have roughly two-thirds of our force stay right here in Germany, engaged in a wide variety of other missions in support of NATO and the European Command.
Q How do you respond to three different things that wives said while the President was speaking? One said -- this is somebody whose husband is going to work in mine clearance. "My husband spent three days in training. My husband's knowledge of the mines down there is a book with pictures in it." Does that seem right -- possible to you?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, I can tell you, I don't know how that could be true. Each one of these soldiers have been through weeks of training on the ground primarily in Hohenfels. They started in Grafenwohr. And there is actually what we call "lanes," or about 400 or 500 meters of ground, and they walk down there, identifying where the mines are, and then they're taught what to do with them once you're identifying them. when we took them to Hohenfels, we took them in a situation that paralleled what they're going to see in Bosnia that had mines, and they had to deal with the fact that they happened upon them in the context of their responsibilities.
So I'm sorry she feels that way, but I can guarantee you her husband has had more training than that in mines. Absolutely more, and it hasn't been just pictures.
Q And the other -- the President was describing the rules of engagement, one wife sitting just out behind said, the President told you "kill first." Is that a fair assessment?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: No, it's not. I mean, we're not -- we are soldiers who are trained to accomplish missions and defend and try to accomplish the goals of our country. Unfortunately, we do have to kill on occasion, but we're not in the killing business. What we do is respond to threats. And if necessary, we'll have to use lethal force, but that certainly isn't the way we like to handle threats.
Q And the last one was, a wife who was basically complaining about the President. "He doesn't have a military background. He shouldn't be here doing things like this." What would you tell a wife who said that?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: He's our Commander in Chief. Our country has spoken. He's in charge, and we do what he tells us to do.
Q You said that the first troops will be going in in 24 to 36 hours. Can you be more specific about precisely where those troops are coming from, how many will come from here, what they'll be doing?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The question is asking us to be precise on the several hundred that will go in in the next 24 to 36 hours, which is an expectation based on likelihoods involving other processes that have to take place.
Q -- NATO troops going to come from -- and then your troops are going to get on the bus -- I mean, the train at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, there's -- obviously with NATO everybody comes from where they live. And what's happening, we're all hopefully going to go to the same end point. So what you'll see is, you'll see trains primarily from Coleman Barracks. And the reason for that is because that's where the 5th Signal Command has a brigade. And most of the soldiers of the 700 are communication soldiers, that's where they live.
So they're going to get on -- what they're going to do is support AF South, which is Allied Forces South, which is Admiral Smith's headquarters. They're also going to support the ARRC, which is Lieutenant General Walker, British Lieutenant General's headquarters; and they will provide the communications for those headquarters so that they can control the main body when they move.
We also have some logistics forces, but they also will be related to those headquarters. So we're going to go where those headquarters need us to be, primarily Sarajevo.
Q When are you going to have the Hungarian staging area set up?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We would like, of course, to do that today. But we can't move forces into Hungary until our President authorizes that. So whenever he does we will start moving into Hungary and set up our logistics base there. The Hungarian government has already approved our entry as part of a NATO force. And it's just important that we get the proper authority. They will not move with initial enabling forces.
Q Let me get this straight. You've got about 20,000 people here at Smith Barracks --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: No, we have about probably 2,500 to 3,000 here at Smith Barracks.
Q So all of them are going? The whole 1st Armored Division?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Most of the people that live here will be going, but not all of them.
Q And that's the 1st Armored Division?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The 1st Armored Division -- most of the 1st Armored Division will go, which is spread out over eight or ten different areas, but not all of them.
Q How many is that from the 1st Armored altogether?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The 1st Armored Division probably has 14,000 or so in it, and my guess is that about 8,000 or 9,000 of those are going.
Q A lot of the soldiers expressed frustration with the fact that nobody just knew who was going. Is that why, because --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: No, the soldiers have known for some time who is going. I don't know why they're expressing -- even in the early days when we were trying to do the planning without allowing too much information to be let, you look at a guy and said, if you're in Grafenwohr training, that's a pretty good indication that you're going to go somewhere. And then later, which was months ago, we said not only is it a good indication, but you and your battalion are going to go.
So they have known for some time who is going. This is not a surprise. Everybody is going to have a Christmas; it may be early, but they'll have one. Nobody is going to wake up tomorrow and be told to go that didn't know they were going.
Q How many soldiers were out there today?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We put 4,000 people in the formation, invited several thousand more to come if they wanted and could get here, and then several thousand family members could be accommodated in the area. We didn't count the crowd. I don't think it would be wise to get into that with you.
Q Could you explain please what we've told the soldiers about the exit strategy that many in Congress are so concerned about?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Okay. As you know, we get orders to do things and we get orders that basically have attached to them when we're through, and we can judge that. We have been told that we'll be in for no more than one year, and that the intent is that we're hoping within six or seven months of our arrival that things will stabilize sufficiently that we'll actually be able to reduce the size of our force.
In other words, we're going in strong and then hopefully we'll be able to reduce. We don't know whether that's true or not. We just know that the assessment is that in about a year that country will be stable enough that they'll have enough of the police and civil authorities in charge that they won't need our help anymore.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I want to emphasize the point here that, to the credit of the chain of command over here, we have been very open with our soldiers at every juncture as this mission has come our way, to the point of providing them great detail as to where we are in the various processes and involvement in the mission analysis and ongoing review of how we were doing the training. So any -- we would invite you to talk to our soldiers about all of that, and we're confident that they'll tell you they're pretty well aware of everything that has occurred and is likely to happen.
Q We know what these men are going to do in terms of clearing mines, widening runways, that sort of thing in the beginning. But they're going to be living there for the best part of a year. Are they policemen? Are they peace enforcers?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We are there to implement the military provisions of the treaty. We will have the military police with us, but we are not policemen, we are soldiers. We have a series of things that we'll be responsible for.
The first one, of course, is to mark the border that's been agreed upon in the peace treaty, and we'll do that in our sector. The second is to assist all the parties in living up to or complying with the provisions of the treaty. So we think that's going to keep us pretty busy for most of the time.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, there's been some -- there is a provision that they talk about going into contonement areas or -- kind of like garrisons, like you're here now and we'll help them remember to do that. There's been some provisions about notification of movements. We'll establish some joint councils where our military leaders will be the leader of the council initially, and then we'll turn it over to civilians to assist in an orderly process of running the country, cause that to happen. So there are numerous things that we will do to help make this peace treaty work.
Q How involved will they be with the civilian population, with the process of government, with aiding refugees who might want to return home, that kind of thing?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The question is how we're going to relate to the civilian government and what the mechanics are; is that the question?
Q What about the refugees?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: These joint councils we have will have the elected leaders of the area on them, along with members of the U.N. helping community and some of the nongovernmental agencies. We are in the business if implementing the peace treaty. We're not there to distribute food and help refugees as a primary function. We certainly will help when needed, but that's not our primary function. What we hope we'll do is to create a secure environment that allows those agencies that are designed to do that to do their job.
Q Could you explain how the soldiers will carry out the arms control provisions of the treaty, how they will enforce them? I understand that they're supposed to -- the combatants are supposed to put their heavy weapons into containment areas, which didn't work under the U.N. command that's there now. What are you going to do differently, and what enforcement powers will you have?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: As you know, of course, we're a military force that has a rules of engagement that allow use the force appropriate to cause the outcome that needs to happen, as opposed to a UNPROFOR force that was really an observe and report force, trying to convince everybody that they ought to be peaceful.
So once the forces are told to put their weapons away, we'll talk to the leader and we'll tell them what the requirement is, and we'll agree that that's what he needs to do, and then we'll ensure that he complies. And we hope that's voluntary, but the answer is we'll ensure he complies. We will not allow them to come back and -- like we saw. I mean, once they're in, they're in. The difference is we don't have our hands tied as the U.N. force. I mean, those are good soldiers, they just had rules that were not very conducive to causing people to do things that they didn't necessarily want to do.
We're not in the business of bullying; we're just in the business of causing people to comply with the rules.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Let me break in here and -- there is apparently -- and we're certainly been dealing with it in my office in the last week as we anticipated the movement of the enabling force -- let's be crystal clear on what this enabling force is about. It is to establish the command and control and communications network to support a variety of headquarters that have been assigned responsibilities in this mission. They range from establishing a headquarters in Sarajevo for Admiral Smith, AF-SOUTH Forward; establish a headquarters in Sarajevo for the Allied Rapid Response Corps under Lieutenant General Walker; and establish the backbone of our own communication incidental to our piece of the implementation force.
There is no intent to put anybody in this enabling force that is a combat soldier. These are people skilled in the use and application of military communications systems and the sustainment of those systems, the logistics piece of that, and their own self-sustainment for however long they're about this business.
The numbers you have heard range from 2,600 for all of NATO down to 700 for the United States forces. All we're talking to you about today is that 700 piece, which we expect to be moving in somewhere between 24 and 36 hours, assuming that a couple of more orders processes take place within our chain of command.
Q -- infantry going to secure --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: When is the light infantry going in to secure Tuzla? Once the order is given for the main body forces, or the --
Q They'll be the first ones in?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The first thing we plan to do is put in a headquarters of Task Force Eagle, our first armor division, and then light infantry to provide the security.
Q Which ones?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Which ones? Third and 325 in Italy. It's the only airborne infantry we have. But they're not going to jump. They're going to fly.
Q Could you break down the number of tanks and howitzers and personnel carriers you're going to be taking from the First Armored?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I can give you approximate numbers. There will be somewhat over 120 tanks, personnel -- they're not really personnel carriers anymore, they will be Bradleys -- will be a little bit over 200. And Howitzers will be in the number of about 45 or 50 -- sufficient, we think, to react, but not -- it's not an offensive capability.
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: I'd like to expand on that just a little bit. It is important for all of you and for anybody that would contemplate taking this force on to understand its capabilities in reduced visibility and at night. The great value of many of the systems we're sending are their night capabilities. And we intend to take full advantage of those.
Q On the question of immigration and refugees, if there started to be sort of a massive movement one way or the other of people trying to go across an area, would you try to control it or stop it, or what is -- what do you think your guidelines will be in that regard?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Of course, we're there to enforce the treaty. There is a civilian government that's in force. And they would basically make decision on what they want to do as far as controlling refugees that are moving through their country. We would assist, as we could, but that's really their responsibility. We would not say it's our responsibility to make decisions on who can go where, unless they were trying to go to an area that was restricted or were protected for some reason.
So we would really look upon this joint commission and the civilian authorities to tell us what they would like to do with these refugees.
Q Even if it endangered the sort of peaceful operation?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, we're not going to let anybody do that -- to endanger the peaceful operation. But we're also going to make sure that the officials in charge are making decisions about their country and how they want their country to run, as opposed to the military commanders.
Q -- infantry, would that go in after the peace treaty?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Yes, the peace treaty needs to be signed before the -- what we have been told is the peace treaty will be signed before we're authorized to allow combat forces to go in. I keep hearing you report that that's going to happen on the 14th, so that's my best source of information. So we suspect that sometime after the 14th they would go in.
Q How many people do you think you'll get in, how quickly after that signing?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Well, we have a requirement to have a presence in Tuzla within 96 hours of being told to go in. If we're not told to go in as the signing occurs in whatever time it's -- waited, and we -- there's a big airfield in Tuzla, so it doesn't take very long to have a presence. So you'll see soldiers in there very quickly.
Q You mentioned that your forces are going to be spread somewhat thin across a rather large section --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: No, sir, just spread out.
Q All right. Then my question is, if some kind of an incursion across the zone of separation or other situation arises, what's your rapid reaction capability?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We have -- when we did our analysis, one of the key things we did is not to allow any of our forces to be isolated. So at every level, from company on up, there's a reaction force -- company level at the platoon; battalion level at the company; at the brigade level it's a battalion; and at task force level, it's a brigade.
So there will be the ability to react to military emergencies like an incursion with forces that are in place at the point of the incursion as opposed to having to bring them in in order to do something. So we feel that we have sufficient reserves at all levels to deal with any kind of emergency that might arise.
Q Does that include a helicopter force and what kind of numbers?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We have a force, a reaction force that has a number of Apache helicopters in them that have a very long-range ability to see things and also engage things as necessary. We also have the ability with our Blackhawk helicopters to transport infantry soldiers, and then, of course, we have the ground force which will be comprised of tanks and Bradleys.
Tanks can't move everywhere in Bosnia, obviously; neither can Bradleys. But when they do move, they move rather quickly. And we hope to have them spread appropriately so that they're already there.
One of the great advantages of the M-1 tank is ability to see at night through its thermal sights. Very precise weapons system. It's a big round, but it's very precise. And the fact that it's sitting there normally is a very big discouragement. It can take first-round hits from virtually any weapons system on the battlefield without hurting it. So just the fact that it's sitting there we're hoping will cause things not to happen.
Q Regarding the rules of engagement on having an eye, being able to see someone who is shooting at you before you shoot back, isn't this running into the same problems the U.N. troops had?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We are going to be able to respond to fire at the appropriate level. But it's not the same as until you identify exactly where it's coming from you can't shoot back. For instance, we are taking artillery radar with us that have the ability to track the rounds as they come in and tell where they come from, and we would expect to return artillery fire, measured artillery fire, at the location where it's coming from almost before the round hits the ground, because it's basically able to track it from where it starts -- certainly before the second or third round hits the ground. That is very different than the rules of engagement that have existed before.
Now, we're also not interested in collateral damage, but we're not interested in taking fire without returning it.
Q What about on the communications, media communications being available in Tuzla, what have you got planned?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Our understanding is that it's a real challenge. We're planning against your needs, but I've got to tell you, Pat, that you need to plan to bring it with you and point it south because it's going to be an adventure at the beginning. But we're committed to assist you in every way possible, at every level, down to the unit. We need to communicate with each other and we understand what you contribute to deterrents; we understand what you contribute to support. And we'll assist you in every way we can.
Q What about ATT phone lines? Are they coming in with communications?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: You'll have to talk to them about it. They're certainly aware of the need, as we understand it.
Q You're coordinating that?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: We are aware of the need, and we're getting after it real hard. But there's a lot of people in Tuzla that are communicating real effectively, and they're not getting any help from us at this point.
Q I have in mind what I want to say, but I don't exactly know how to phrase it, and I don't want to compromise security or anything, but what steps are being taken to prevent another disaster like the Beirut -- do you have to be very cautious about not being snuck up on and that kind of thing? Is every soldier in the theater going to be on special alert or can you just elaborate on --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Are you talking about deployed soldiers -- what provisions? Essentially we're a military force that has security all around, security all the time. We have weapons systems that weren't in Beirut that can see long distances day and night. Most of you have seen our night vision capability. It's very, very difficult to get close to a modern military force without them seeing it.
The key has been what do you about it. You see it, but what can you do about it? We have the ability now and our rules of engagement is to take actions that we deem as appropriate. I'm not saying that there isn't going to be a threat. There obviously is going to be a threat. But we really believe that the way that we operate as a military force and the fact that we are one and we have regular helmets on with green covers and we will actually be able to do the things that need to be done. And we don't think that that's going to be a problem.
Q Hostage taking was a problem with U.N. soldiers. Do you feel that the different rules of engagement --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: The difference in hostage-taking, I guess, the example would be if you were walking downtown and someone decided to make you a hostage versus if you were walking downtown with some policemen who had weapons because all of our soldiers will be armed all the time and they will be operating in units. So we don't see the same problem the U.N. had where they generally had themselves found in situations where in some cases, their weapons were taken away from them because they couldn't do anything different. We obviously have thought about and practiced and trained in what to do with a hostage, but we don't really see hostage-taking as one of our problems.
Q Could I ask you, is Mike or someone going to brief later about the President's meeting with General Joulwan? Should we expect --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Mike just went to the meeting with Joulwan he'll give you a readout when he comes back.
Q What about these enabling troops in Sarajevo? How will they be protected?
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: They also have weapons, and there are military police forces that are going with them. So there are security-type forces that will be going with the headquarters that these enabling forces are going to.
Q Is that in Sarajevo --
SENIOR MILITARY PLANNER: Oh, absolutely. I don't think there's any place in Bosnia that there isn't a threat. It's just a matter of how you deal with it, and we're going to make sure that we take the appropriate action.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you very much. On behalf of Mike McCurry, I'd like to thank you. We appreciate it.
I've got a couple of things for you that Mike left with me. Mike is over at the President's meeting with General Joulwan now. And so he can give you a readout when he gets back. On Chancellor Kohl, we can give you a preliminary readout. They had a good car ride here. They rode one-on-one, so Mike has not had a chance to debrief the President on what went on. However, as they got in the car, he heard Chancellor Kohl ask the President about his trip to Ireland. On the docket to be discussed were Bosnia, deployment issues, IFOR issues, NATO expansion, and the NATO ministerial next week. And we'll give you more details later.
In reference to execute orders from the President, the President first of all approved the U.S. component, the U.S. input into the NATO plan last week after having briefed by General Shali. Mike and I were not sure which day that was because Shali had more than one meeting.
Mike said that he expects that the President may give Secretary Perry the approval to issue an execute order as early as today. I don't have anything more on those subjects.
Q I don't understand that. The President approved this last week --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He approved the U.S. part, the U.S. input to the NATO plan.
Q Then today he's approving the --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Today he is reviewing with the commanders how they're going to execute that plan.
Q -- execution plan been approved today?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He doesn't have to prove anything; all he has to do is give the authority to execute the plan.
Q He would ask Perry to approve the order to -- what would he do? He would ask Perry to issue the order to put --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He'll tell Tony Lake to give Secretary Perry the authorization for the Pentagon through the Joint Chiefs of Staff to issue the execute order.
Thank you very much.
END 2:41 P.M. (L)