TEXT OF A LETTER FROM
THE PRESIDENT TO THE SPEAKER OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND
THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
June 5, 1999
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Since my previous reports to the Congress under section 8115 of the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1999 (Public Law 105-262), the
continuing humanitarian crisis created by Belgrade's repression of its
own citizens has resulted in thousands of additional refugees fleeing
into neighboring countries. The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are now 443,000 Kosovar refugees
in Albania, 246,000 in Macedonia, and another 68,000 in Montenegro. In
addition, there could be as many as 700,000 displaced persons still
remaining within Kosovo. In both Albania and Macedonia, the number of
refugees continues to over-tax the limited resources of the host
countries. Efforts by military personnel, in support of civilian
assistance efforts, have been critical to establishing refugee camps and
In light of the continuing crisis, I have directed that additional U.S.
forces be deployed to Albania to assist in refugee relief operations,
including to improve airfield ramp and off-load capabilities, upgrade
key roads and bridges to facilitate movement of refugees to safe areas
and transportation of relief supplies, and to assist in the provision of
additional shelter for refugees.
In parallel with the military support for refugee relief, we are
continuing to increase the pressure on Milosevic to accept NATO's
conditions, while simultaneously preparing for success. Belgrade's
recent acceptance of the document delivered by Finnish President
Ahtisaari and Russian Special Envoy Chernomyrdin is an encouraging
development, though we are taking a very cautious approach until the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's (FRY's) intentions are clear.
In line with this strategy, I have increased the number of U.S. military
personnel assigned to support Task Force HAWK, our deep strike task
force in Albania. I have authorized the deployment of a significant
contingent of military personnel to Kosovo as part of an international
security presence (KFOR), including some forces that may be
pre-positioned in Macedonia prior to entry into Kosovo, as well as the
deployment of other military personnel to the region, including
Macedonia, as a national support element for U.S. forces in KFOR.
However, forces will not enter Kosovo unless it is clear that Belgrade
has adopted NATO's conditions and is withdrawing its forces.
In regard to the elements of section 8115(a)(1)-(8), I am providing the
& 2. National Security Interests. I hereby certify that the
deployment of additional forces to Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo as
described above is necessary in the national security interests of the
United States. The deployments will provide additional relief for the
refugees and help to return them to their homes with security and
self-government. In doing so, the deployments serve our national
security interests by promoting peace and stability in this volatile
region, by strengthening NATO, and by demonstrating to other would-be
aggressors in and around Europe that the United States and the Alliance
will not stand by idly while they commit war crimes or seek to spread
Numbers. The number of U.S. personnel to be deployed cannot be
definitively provided at this time since planning for the deployments is
ongoing. For relief operations, it is anticipated that the number of
additional personnel should be approximately 4,000, bringing the total
number of U.S. personnel associated with relief operations in Albania to
approximately 5,000. This is in addition to the total of approximately
5,500 personnel that will be associated with the deep strike task force
now deployed to Albania. In addition, if it is clear that Belgrade has
adopted NATO's conditions and is withdrawing its forces, I anticipate
that approximately 7,000 personnel will be deployed as part of KFOR and
approximately 1,500 personnel will be deployed as part of the national
support element in the region, including Macedonia, to facilitate the
flow of support to KFOR.
I will ensure that the Congress is informed in a timely manner
concerning any significant changes to the deployments described in this
report when such information is available.
4. Mission/Objectives. Our overall objective is to return the refugees
to their homes with safety and security, to provide necessary refugee
relief in the interim, and to promote peace and stability in the region.
The specific missions of the forces involved are:
Joint Task Force SHINING HOPE: To facilitate military operations
by assisting the UNHCR in providing emergency relief to refugees
Task Force HAWK: To provide a deep strike force capability in
support of NATO air operations and to be ready for use against FRY
forces at a time and manner of our choosing.
Operation JOINT GUARDIAN (KFOR): To deploy a military presence in
a permissive environment to deter renewed hostilities, and, if
necessary, enforce a cease-fire and the demilitarization of Kosovo,
and to establish a secure environment for the stabilization of the
humanitarian situation and the establishment and operation of an
international provisional administration.
5. Schedule. At this point, it is not possible to determine how long
NATO operations in the region will need to continue, nor how long U.S.
forces will be needed to assist in refugee relief operations, and
therefore how long these deployments will need to be maintained.
6. Exit Strategy. The duration of the requirement for U.S. military
presence will depend on the course of events, and in particular, on
For Joint Task Force SHINING HOPE, military support to refugee
relief may need to continue for some time, even if a settlement
allows for refugees to begin to return. Ultimately,
responsibilities for refugee relief will be transferred to the
UNHCR, other humanitarian organizations, and host countries.
Some elements of Task Force HAWK may deploy as initial elements of
KFOR. In this case, the exit strategy for Task Force HAWK will
become the same as that for KFOR. The remaining elements will
continue deployment in support of NATO operations until no longer
For Operation JOINT GUARDIAN, after the withdrawal of all Serb
forces from Kosovo and an initial stabilization period, KFOR will
be progressively reduced as the security situation permits and
local police forces are established. At a time to be determined,
KFOR will transfer responsibilities to the international
provisional administration and local institutions and ultimately
transition to a different set of security arrangements.
7. Costs. The costs of operations in the Kosovo region will initially
be paid from the FY 99 Defense appropriations in the supplemental
appropriations bill recently enacted. As we further refine the detailed
plans for KFOR, and as attendant costs become better known, I will
consult with Congress as to how any additional costs should be covered.
8. Effect on Morale, Retention and Readiness. These deployments
affect morale, retention and readiness in a positive way because they
demonstrate U.S. commitment of necessary resources to maximize
operational effectiveness toward achievement of the important U.S.
objectives in Kosovo. Given the importance of these deployments, we
anticipate that U.S. forces would maintain the highest morale and
effectiveness while fulfilling the range of military objectives
encompassed by these deployments, including refugee relief operations
and the anticipated contribution to the international security force in
Kosovo. Indeed, it has been our experience that personnel serving in
these important and demanding positions experience higher retention
rates than in other, less challenging assignments. The Department of
Defense has underway extensive and effective programs to do what is
necessary to manage personnel and other resources so as to reduce
problems such as extended family separation and other burdens military
service. As with any operational deployment, the effects on readiness
are mixed. In this case, however, it is expected that many of the U.S.
forces will be conducting operations as they were trained to perform,
which will provide an unparalleled opportunity to apply their skills in
an active environment. The Administration is committed to ensuring that
America's armed forces maintain the high levels of readiness necessary
to safeguard America's national security.