THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
April 4, 1999
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Further to my report to the Congress of March 25 and April 3, 1999, under section 8115 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1999 (Public Law 105-262), this report is to inform you of my decision to deploy additional U.S. forces to Albania in support of ongoing NATO air operations to reduce the capacity of the Serbian military and security forces to conduct offensive operations.
In particular, rotary wing, artillery, and tactical missile systems will be deployed to establish a deep strike task force in Albania to enhance NATO's ability to conduct effective air operations in Kosovo as part of the current NATO mission. In regard to the elements of section 8115(a)(1)-(8), I am providing the following to supplement information provided on these elements in my reports of March 25 and April 3, 1999.
1 & 2. National Security Interests. I hereby certify that the deployment of additional forces to Albania as described above is necessary in the national security interests of the United States. This deployment will provide additional specialized forces to reduce the capacity of the Serbian military and security forces to continue repression and ethnic cleansing and to deter the threat to regional peace and security.
3. Numbers. I anticipate that a substantial deep strike task force, comprised of rotary wing, artillery, and tactical missile systems, together with supporting and security elements, will be deployed to Albania for these purposes. There is not at this time a definitive number of U.S. military personnel who will be deployed as part of this task force, but I anticipate that, at a minimum, approximately 2,000 will be required. I will ensure that the Congress is informed in a timely manner about the deployment described in this report when the information is available.
4. Mission/Objectives. The overall objective of our efforts with our allies in the region has been detailed in my previous reports of March 25 and April 3, 1999. The specific military mission of the strike task force deployed to Albania will be to support ongoing NATO air operations to reduce the capacity of the Serbian military and security forces to conduct offensive operations. The ground force component is for the support and security of the deep strike elements. The mission does not include any planned deployment of ground troops into the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
5. Schedule. Although it is not possible at this time to determine how long NATO operations will need to continue, we are determined to sustain this effort along with our allies as long as necessary to meet our objectives.
6. Exit Strategy. The duration of the requirement for this strike task force deployment to Albania will depend on the course of events, and in particular, on Belgrade's reaction to NATO operations.
7. Costs. The costs of the deployment covered by this notice, like the costs of the U.S. contribution to NATO air operations, will be paid initially from FY99 Defense Operations and Maintenance appropriations. An estimate of likely costs for these deployments is being prepared, and I will ensure that it is provided to the Congress as soon as it is available.
8. Effect on Morale, Retention and Readiness. In addition to the specific points I made on these matters in my reports of March 25 and April 3, I would only underscore and express my deep gratitude for the great pride, courage, professionalism, and enthusiasm of the men and women of our Armed Forces who are carrying out this critical mission.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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