KOSOVO: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S.
by the National Defense University
Institute for National Strategic Studies
Fort McNair, Washington, DC
was constrained in its decision-making by the fact that no one, especially the
United States came to the NAC with a comprehensive plan; NATO seized on an air
campaign (without back-up or contingency plans), with the hope that it would
cause Milosevic to capitulate. Thereafter,
NATO incrementally increased the pressure on Milosevic by more and more bombing
of both tactical and strategic targets.
NAC made two key decisions leading up to the air campaign.
The first was to authorize SACEUR to issue an activation order to put
forces in place to initiate an air campaign; the second was to delegate to the
Secretary General the authority to implement Phase I of the air campaign.
American eyes Kosovo was a vindication of the Alliance and the bond between the
U.S. and Europe. In Europe Kosovo
served as a wake-up call for Europeans to lessen their dependence upon the
Americans, and to develop their own defense institutions and capabilities.
is growing concern, on both sides of the Atlantic, that Europe will develop a
European Security and Defense Identity under the European Union which will be
separate from and competing with NATO,
like their wars big, brief, broad, and benign.
Big, with overwhelming force; brief, we try to do it quickly, and also
try not to think about the long-term follow-up missions; broad, we prefer
coalitions to unilateral actions; and benign, we want to minimize or eliminate
casualties, and are overly focused on force protection at the expense of the
mission. Our Allies tend to take a
need to respond quicker with appropriate forces to fast moving political and
humanitarian crises; and need to incorporate into our intervention planning and
preparation the long-term consequences of military intervention.
identified a greater need for precision-guided munitions, and more support vice
attack aircraft, particularly tankers, and other specialized support aircraft.
“selective engagement” policy is defensible, evolving, and is articulated in
its essentials in two Presidential Decision Directives, PDD-25 and PDD-56, and
in theater engagement plans.
need to develop effective offensive and defensive information warfare planning
and implementation at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
the peace is much more important than winning the war.
didn’t use decisive force early enough. Effects-based
targeting, or parallel warfare which exploits the different dimension of time,
space, and levels of war to outpace your adversary’s operational tempo, would
have been more effective.
intervention strategy is shortsighted. It
needs to be more comprehensive, and take into account its long-term effects.
Our engagement strategy tends to be more in the area of mitigating
conflict than either at the front-end in preventive diplomacy and preventive
engagement, or at the back-end in conflict resolution.
In Kosovo today we are still involved in mitigating conflict, and talking
prematurely about a post-conflict environment.
NATO and the UN need to focus more diplomatic and political resources on
conflict resolution. The U.S., its
allies, the UN, and the international community all need to devote more study
and resources to the whole issue of conflict management.
was agreement that the U.S. would engage in small-scale contingencies in the
future, and most likely in coalitions, necessitating improvements in
interoperability in weapons systems, command and control, targeting,
communications and information.
was agreement that the U.S. needs a greater preponderance of support aircraft
and advanced munitions, fast and shallow draft sealift, more versatile, rapidly
deployable, and mobile ground forces, and superior information operations.
Force projection will be more important, but also more difficult due to
anti-access measures employed by our adversaries in the future.
leaders will need better training earlier in their careers in joint task force,
joint and combined, inter-Agency and coalition operations.
panel members themselves were in that our current forces were equipped to do
peacekeeping and other small-scale contingency (SSC) operations, provided they
had some specialized training, this was a subject of some differences of opinion
with other panels’ presentations and with the audience.
There was agreement on the need to examine high-demand, low-density units
and capabilities and force mix for SSCs in the context of particular mission
management is not the same as risk avoidance.
Force protection is and will continue to be a major concern, particularly
in small-scale contingency operations, but should be managed appropriately in
the context of mission objectives.
will have to remain engaged in Kosovo and the Balkans for the foreseeable future
in order to minimize continuing conflict, and to assist the UN and the
international community in democratization, economic and institutional
are not ideal for conducting coercive diplomacy, but very good for building
consensus, and NATO proved itself adept at conducting an effective military
strategic planning at the highest political levels, politicization of the
planning process, and a mismatch of means and ends compromised NATO’s ability
to persevere in Kosovo, and nearly led to a humiliating defeat.
U.S. and others need to take responsibility for their own mistakes.
needs to back its rhetoric with concerted action in strengthening its defense
capabilities, and the U.S. needs to be pro-active in assisting Europe to do so.
Kosovo has resulted in increased tensions between American and European allies, and between the U.S./NATO and the Russians and Chinese. Our global strategy is and will continue to be a coalition strategy. It would behoove us, through continuing dialogue, policy statements, and our actions, to make more clear, both to our potential partners as well as our potential adversaries, the strategic intentions and limitations in our engagement strategy. Return