Air Component Command Briefing April 5, 2003
Air Component Command Briefing April 5, 2003
NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense
DoD News Briefing LtGen Michael Moseley, CFACC Saturday, April 5, 2003
(Pentagon - Saudi Arabia Two-Way Briefing)
Colonel Mitchell: Good morning. For those of you who don't know me I'm Colonel Alvina Mitchell and I'm the Chief of Media Relations for the Air Force.
I thought I'd go ahead and get started and give you some ground rules before we actually get General Moseley on the phone.
I want to thank you all for coming today. I know it's a Saturday and not all of you are working so I appreciate the fact that you've come in to do this.
This will be on the record. You are going to be talking to Lieutenant General Michael Moseley who is the Coalition Forces Air Component Commander or the CFACC.
We're going to handle this much like a Defense Writers Group. We're going to go around the room and everyone can ask a question and a follow-up, but I ask that you identify yourself because General Moseley is aware of some of you who are here today but he's not aware of everybody, so let's let him know who he's talking to.
I have to ask you that if you would, please turn off your pagers and cell phones.
You can identify General Moseley's location as his Headquarters in Saudi Arabia, but we would appreciate it if you not get any more specific than that.
Press: In other words we can't say Prince Sultan Air Base?
Colonel Mitchell: We would appreciate it if you'd say from his headquarters in Saudi Arabia.
All right. Stand by, and we should be up momentarily.
General Moseley: Hi guys, how are you all doing?
Press: General Moseley, Charlie Aldinger with Reuters.
I'd like to ask first, before we get around to the damage you've done, I wonder if you to put it mildly raised cane or raised questions and demanded a full-scale investigation to fix the fact that while your planes aren't being shot down by the Iraqis they're being shot down by the Americans. I'm wondering what's going on and the situation involving the Patriots there.
General Moseley: Well, that's a good question. I'm not sure that I will take it as lightly as you're implying. Certainly it is tragic to lose an airplane in any light, and it is particularly tragic when you have any kind of fratricide or blue on blue. But you have to remember this is a very complicated business we're in right now and there's lots of things going on out there.
These conditions that we're operating in, these airplanes and these Patriot battery commanders are operating in a world of ballistic missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface missiles being fired at them, still the very very real threat of chemical or biological weapons being employed while we're flying 2,000 sorties or so a day, while we're flying a thousand combat sorties a day, while we're pushing from the Gulf in Kuwait to the center of Baghdad in less than two weeks, while we have lots and varying types of people on the ground, while we're engaged in combat effectively and across the spectrum. So when things like this happen you do step back and begin to investigate the process, the procedures, the tactics and the techniques and you begin to look and see if we have hardware or people issues. That's where we're at right now.
You wouldn't expect me to give you an answer because we're in the middle of attempting to work through the notions of what happened. Those are tragic losses. They're even more tragic when they're blue on blue. But again, I would ask you to understand what's going on out there and what our people are facing and our threats that are real. This is not an exercise, nor is this a Red Flag or a joint exercise out at Fort Bliss. This is real with real bullets.
So we're working our way through that and we'll have an answer. I hope that answers your question.
Press: Just as a brief follow-up, I certainly didn't mean to make light of those deaths. Is there any indication, are you leaning towards the fact that the F-18 was apparently shot down by a Patriot? And does this look more like a software issue or a hardware issue?
General Moseley: Well, I don't know yet. That's why we're going through to find out now. But again, I would ask you to think about the conditions that we're operating in out there. I'm not willing to assess blame on a Patriot commander who is in the middle of a moving fight with missiles being fired, and missiles have been fired, with real chemical and biological threats. And that afternoon that we were dealing with those particular problems we were in the middle of a raging fight on the surface as well as strikes into Baghdad and multiple strikes, at least a thousand sortie strikes on the Republican Guard ahead of these Army units.
So again, I'll tell you these are tragic losses and it makes it even more so tragic when it's fratricide or blue on blue and that's what we're about now, to see what we can find out. Whether it's human or whether it's software or other machines. That's where we are right now.
Press: AP: General Moseley, this is Bob Burns from Associated Press.
Could you tell us what your airborne sensors are showing about where some of the Republican Guard units have gone since the American ground forces approached Baghdad? Are they mainly inside Baghdad?
And also can you tell us a bit about what your estimate is of the degree to which you've eliminated the Republican Guard? Thank you.
General Moseley: That's a good question. I'll tell you up front that our sensors show that the preponderance of the Republican Guard divisions that were outside of Baghdad are now dead.
We've laid on these people. I find it interesting when folks say we're softening them up. We're not softening them up, we're killing them.
There's a couple of great articles in the Washington Post this morning. One from a Marine officer and one from a captain in the 3rd ID that talks about between the air side of this, both Air Force, Navy, and Marine Air plus the Apaches plus some artillery and the ATACMS, their opposition out there has been limited. Now they're finding more as they get closer into town with a variety of different sets of opponents. But I would tell you that we have focused particularly on those Republican Guard elements and we've pretty much broken a lot of that stuff up.
Now there are still some out there and they are still able to provide resistance and we are still looking for them. Both the land component and I are looking for them and engaging them as we find them. So I'm not willing to tell you that we have killed them all, but we've crippled them a little bit and those that are still out there are walking with a bit of a limp.
But I would also tell you there's still a lot of fighting left and these guys, even though we've broken up their combat formations to a certain extent, there's still a lot of fighting out there and we've still got some brave young Americans up there inside Baghdad working this problem.
I'll tell you what we're seeing is we're seeing elements in much smaller combat formations that have been cut off from their central command and control. As far as large fighting formations, we haven't seen any of that lately because again, we've been attacking steady for about six or seven days now.
So those that are still out there I believe are going to cause us some problems and that's what the 3rd ID and the Marines are dealing with now.
I hope that answers your question.
Press: General Moseley, Barbara Starr from CNN.
Why is the air component finding it so difficult to permanently take down Iraqi TV and keep it off the air? Can you help describe to us what efforts you've made and why so far it's proving difficult to get them off the air once and for all?
General Moseley: That's a good question too. The sensitivity that the CINC and all of us have as component commanders is to absolutely totally minimize the collateral damage and absolutely totally minimize the effect on the civilian population so that as much of this infrastructure can be returned back to the Iraqi people after the liberation so that they can get themselves as fast as possible back to a functioning society. So a lot of these transmitting stations and a lot of these things we've chosen to attempt to work with as minimum damage as we possibly can.
You know better than I do about how TVs work and how TV stations work and the many options that we have, both kinetic and non-kinetic, but I'll tell you the trick for us has been to attempt to do this as good as we can while not destroying a lot of the infrastructure. So that's been the balance we've been trying to work.
Press: Can I just ask a follow-up though, so we understand. Is the military objective to take it off the air once and for all? Or just to take it off and let it come back up and go at it again? How should we assess it every time it comes up? Is that okay with you guys?
General Moseley: Let me answer it this way. My objective is to create as little collateral damage effect as I have to inside of Baghdad and that's the CINC, General Franks and I are absolutely totally on the same sheet of music here, that we can deal with some of this stuff coming back up but we are very very sensitive to not creating a mess inside the city.
So some of this is okay given the alternative of having to destroy a lot of the structures and that's what we're not going to do.
I don't know if that helps you.
Press: General, Eric Schmitt with the New York Times.
General Moseley: Hi, Eric. How are you?
Press: I'm fine, thanks.
As we look at the battle of Baghdad now, coming into the city itself perhaps, can you at least lay out the strategic or at least the logic behind the air campaign as it goes into the city? How will you seek to achieve your objectives with these kind of collateral damage issues as you go after urban targets in an urban environment?
General Moseley: Eric, this is a tough problem. Today we began to work a concept of operations for urban CAS that we developed in a pure joint setting. In fact the kid that put this together for us is a Marine major working here in the CAOC with us who is a graduate of the Navy Weapons School, who's wearing a US CENTAF patch on his flight suit, working for an Air Force CFACC and a Navy Deputy CFACC, and his team has put together a wonderful, effective plan to provide airborne forward air controllers over the city 24 hours a day, and multiple sets of fighters with multiple munitions options stacked up 24 hours a day to be able to respond to the land component requirements inside the city if we have to.
We know from some experience in this command anyway of the challenges in doing this as we worked problems in Kabul and Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif and places like that not long ago so we have some recent experience on doing this.
The trick is to use, if you have to do this, is to use the smallest munition possible to get the maximum effect so that you don't create those unnecessary loss of civilian life or property.
It's interesting in a situation like this that we are more concerned about the population up there and we're more concerned about the people and the property and the structures than the Iraqi military is.
So Eric, as this thing plays out, if we get into that kind of a scenario I think we're prepared for it and I think we've got the right people with the right mindset and the right discipline and the right set of precision applications so that we'll get through this and we'll be able to support the land component, we'll be able to work this problem better than anybody's ever been able to do it.
So I know you know how big of a challenge this is and you can imagine how much time we've spent on trying to work this problem, so --
Press: Did you say --
General Moseley: I hope that answers your question.
Press: Did you say you've just begun to work this issue for the urban CAS? Is this something you didn't expect to do or that you've had to change in some way from what the original goal was?
General Moseley: No, no. We just implemented the Concept of Ops this morning. We've been practicing with this and playing with this for a year, looking at this as an opportunity. As well as the Marines have been working an urban CAS challenge for years as have some elements of the Army. So no, we're not just coming to this new. Today's the day that we implemented the ConOps because now we have our land forces in the city.
Press: General, it's Thelma LeBrecht with Associated Press Broadcast.
I wanted to pick up really what Eric was asking about but just for the average person who might be thinking of U.S. forces now going into the city, part of the success I would think you might say on the ground for the U.S. ground troops has been the air attacks. As you say, killing the Republican Guard. But now if they go, going into the city now how can the Air Force help the forces on the ground? Are they going to be sitting ducks as they go into the city?
General Moseley: No, we don't intend -- General McKiernan, the land component commander and I don't intend for anybody to be a sitting duck. The CAS problem, close air support problem, is a challenge whether it's in the desert or whether it's in a city because you're dealing with delivering weapons in the close proximity of friendly troops. It makes it a little more of a challenge when it's in an urban setting because of the civilians that are there, the population that you're attempting to liberate, plus the property, and attempting to minimize the damage on the city itself. That's not something that we do -- We take this very serious and we don't do this lightly because the munitions that we use will be selected whether it's a Maverick or whether it's a GBU-12 500-pounder or whether it's perhaps even an inert 500-pounder with a GBU head on it so there's no explosive at all, or whether it's 20mm or 25 or 30mm with a gun or rockets. We will have all of those munitions options loaded in those aircraft that are stacked in case we have to do this so that we can truly select the right weapon for the right situation.
And only because we've trained to this and only because we've spent a lot of time worrying about this and rehearsing this and practicing this have we got to the point where today we could open that Concept of Ops up to support both the Marines in the MEF and the Army in the V Corps area with a wide variety of aircraft and munitions types, whether it's slung off of an aircraft carrier with the Navy, or from the Marine air wing or an Army helicopter or an Air Force aircraft or an Air Force bomber, that's kind of how we're approaching this problem.
It's not a given that we're going to have to do this. It may not come to this and we pray that it doesn't. But if it does, we'll be ready and we'll have the right set of munitions with the right command and control and the right connectivity to the land component.
Press: General Moseley, Rick Whittle with the Dallas Morning News.
General Moseley: Hey Rick, where's my paper?
Press: [Laughter] We'll get it to you.
General Moseley: I haven't seen one, buddy.
Press: It's good to talk to you.
I've got two questions for you. One, what happened to the Iraqi air force in this war? And secondly, how do you see this war ending? Is it going to devolve into some sort of guerrilla war? Is there going to be a signing ceremony at which some Iraqi leader surrenders? How's it all going to come to a conclusion?
General Moseley: Rick, it's good to talk to you. I'm looking forward to seeing you.
Let me try your second question first. I don't know. The Iraqi military, as an organized defense in large combat formations, doesn't really exist anymore. The formations, the equipment is there and some of the people are there, but as far as corps and division strength, being able to bring that combat power to bear against the coalition, it's not the same as it was two weeks ago. The Republican Guard and the regular army, while they are still out there, they are not able to bring themselves to bear in those large combat formations.
So how will that play on how this ends? The scenarios are varied, as you mentioned. I don't know that I can answer that question other than to tell you that with my fellow component commanders -- General McKiernan, the land component; and Admiral Keating, the Naval component; and General Herald, the Special Ops component; and General Halston, the Marine component. We've thought about this a lot with and for the CINC to be able to provide a continuing set of options for him depending on what presentation of forces comes our way.
I wish I could answer that a lot more clear for you, but I don't think we know. This warfighting business is an interactive business. Your opponent gets a vote. Every day we're taking more of his options away from him, but he still gets a vote. So I don't know that I can answer that one for you.
Let me take the first one. His air force in some aspects is still there. His airfields, for the most part, are not flyable. This morning we had only a handful of landing surfaces that could be used, and as we go through the day we will crater those again as we do every day to attempt to minimize any opportunity for him to fly.
He has not flown to date. Of course we've killed a lot of his airplanes on the ground. We've broke up a lot of his command and control. We've attacked his military airfields and his air sustainment pieces, maintenance hangars and fuel and munitions, command and control on the bases. That doesn't mean that he won't be able to get an airplane airborne somewhere, but he has not done that, and to be honest, as we look at how things are going today we really do have air supremacy over this country, and so if he does get something airborne it will not have a strategic dislocating impact on us.
I don't know why he's chosen not to. I suspect because we hit him pretty hard up front. We made a point up front that we can dominate the airspace, and we can control access to his airfields, and we can take his airfields down, and we can continue to keep the taxiways and runways cratered, and we can make it almost impossible for him to fly, and we have taken the command and control system that would provide him early warning in any kind of ground control intercept. We've pretty much attacked that steady from the beginning and negated that as an effective player.
So I believe that he has not flown because in their mind they've made a calculation that they will not survive.
Now time will tell. We'll have to find an air force senior officer that's still alive out there one of these days and ask him that question, but to date he's not flown and we've tried very hard to keep him from flying.
I hope that answers your question, Rick.
Press: General, this is Bill Gertz of the Washington Times. I'd like to ask you a question about efforts to kill tanks.
Do you have any gauge of how many tanks and armored vehicles have been killed by air power versus how many have been killed by ground forces? And would you also comment on the use of the Predator to kill tanks?
General Moseley: Mr. Gertz, that's a good question. Let me answer it this way.
As the air component commander I'm not sure I care how we kill the tank, I just want the tank to die so my Army captain doesn't have to face it. If I can bring withering fire to bear on these tanks and kill a large number of them to supplement or complement Apaches or artillery or other tank-to-tank fire then I'm satisfied with that.
As a guy that's got five joint assignments and commanding a joint operation, I'm not sure that it matters who kills the tank as long as we kill the tanks and the artillery, the armored vehicles and the supply trucks and the people with just withering, devastating fire so kids don't have to fight with that.
So I'll tell you, having been around awhile, there will be someone somewhere along the way that will want an accounting scheme of who killed what vehicle, but right now that's not important to us and it's not important to that lieutenant or that captain.
I'd just say we've just killed a hell of a lot of them and we're going to keep moving them until they quit moving them.
Press: And a follow up, during the first Gulf War there was talk of the big SCUD hunts and difficulties in finding mobile launchers. This time I know they've got a ground component to deal with that. But have you in fact killed some missile launchers and missile complexes from the air?
General Moseley: Well, let me answer that one and then I'll go to the Predator. In fact as the air component I'm the supported commander for that effort to look for those things. So we have a ground element that helps me do that, plus we've got several sets of aircraft and several different types of aircraft that are doing that.
That's an interesting challenge because when you put all that territory together it's about twice as big as the Nellis ranges out in Las Vegas which is a little over six million acres of space to go look for something as big as a truck.
Again, he has not shot one of those yet, and I believe he has not shot one because we've been out there. We've been out there on the ground, we've been out there in the air, we've been out there with sensors, we've been out there with special ops, with conventional forces, we've been out there with B-1s, we've been out there with B-52s, with F-16s, with A-10s, we've been out there with helicopters. We've worked this problem very hard. We rehearsed this three or four times out at Nellis. We rehearsed the command and control of this. We rehearsed all of the orchestration and lashup of supporting and complementing assets. We spent a lot of time worrying about this. And when we started this problem, working this for General Franks, my question to my folks was, what do we now know different than we knew in January 1991? That's the premise from which we started.
Which takes us to the Predator a little bit. Now we've got Global Hawk, we've got Predator, we've got various versions of the U-2, we have JSTARS, we've got a fine radar on the B-1, we've got fine systems with the LITENING pod on F-16s and A-10s, we've got an incredibly capable and lethal set of special operations forces with a variety of systems, all being brought to bear on this particular problem.
Again, he has not shot one. I'm not willing to conclude that he can't, but I'll tell you we're closing down on the opportunities for him to get one of those things out and shoot it without us finding it. That has been a priority of mine, that's been a priority of mine for the CINC, and we have worked that problem very hard with the systems that we've got.
The Predator is a good system. Having been the wing commander out at Nellis when that thing first was purchased by the Air Force, I go back a long way with the Predator capability and the squadrons that we've got. I'm a big fan of that.
Sometimes you guys write that fighter pilots don't like UAVs. I love UAVs! I like them for any number of reasons. I like them because of the persistence; I like them because you can stay over a target for hours. In fact yesterday and last night we had a Predator over downtown Baghdad for 12 straight hours.
From the very beginning we've had Predators up in the vicinity of Baghdad and from the beginning we've had Global Hawk over the top of Baghdad, and today we've got Global Hawk over the top of Baghdad in an orbit that runs as far north as Kirkuk and Urbil, and as far south as Baghdad. They're amazing systems and they provide a capability and a set of options for the air commander and for the CINC and the other component commanders that's just outstanding. We're at a threshold of something very very exciting and very very new with unmanned aerial vehicles, whether they are unmanned combatant aerial vehicles or whether they're reconnaissance. And you know we've mounted missiles on the Predator and we've been able to use the Predator very effectively with the Hellfire missile. We've tethered this capability, we're flying them from various places in the theater and controlling them from various places in the theater as well as various places in the CONUS.
So wonderful capability. One of these days when this is all over I wouldn't mind sitting down with you and going through the history of this whole thing relative to just the UAVs and what magnificent work these kids have been doing.
I hope that answers your question, Mr. Gertz.
Press: General, Tom Bowman with the Baltimore Sun.
We can do the history of the campaign now if you want. We're sitting here ready to --
General Moseley: Not quite! We're close, but not quite.
Press: I wanted to take you back to the first couple of nights of the war. We were told repeatedly before this started that we would see Shock and Awe and there would be several thousand targets struck. Then in the ensuing days we were told that anywhere from 100 to several hundred targets were not struck, particularly in Baghdad because of concerns for civilian deaths.
As a result of that you had some critics, retired officers and analysts, say that the initial attack should have been even more violent. You might have been able to end this thing fairly quickly.
Can you talk about the numbers that were not struck and your reaction to the critics?
General Moseley: Thank you for that question. I was hoping you guys would ask that. In fact I thought Rick Whittle would ask me that question.
From the beginning of this as we started, even during the time that we were at the peak of OEF we began to think through what might be possible if we were asked to conduct this campaign. General Franks from the very beginning has conducted this in the absolute finest traditions of jointness and coalition and combined operations, and each of us, the component commanders, have been involved from the very beginning on the development at the strategic and operational level. There's been nothing that we haven't asked for that we haven't got.
Now some people would say you should always ask for more, but that's not the way we've done business. We're in absolute harmony with each other on being able to complement and supplement each other's capabilities and in some cases limitations.
So from the very beginning of this we've had a set of options depending on how the strategic situation or the political situation or the diplomatic situation played out of how to initiate the event. I'll tell you, we've had several opportunities to discuss this along the way. The way this played out, the strategic imperative was to get onto the oilfields. And quite honestly, I agree with that. To be able to get the oilfields, the southern oilfields and secure those, to be able to turn those back to the Iraqi people to form the basis of their economic recovery is a powerful, powerful strategic imperative and a powerful message.
So to be able to get the ground forces on top of those oilfields up front was the right thing to do.
Now did we get 30 days of preparation like in the first desert war? No. But I don't think we needed 30 days of preparation.
I would also tell you if you go back to the end of the desert war we were looking, we've been involved in Operation Northern Watch for well over 4,000 days. We've been in Operation Southern Watch for well over 3,800 days. So we've done some preparation in that time relative to north of 36 and south of 33. And from June of last year up until the initiation of hostilities we increased our presence in the no-fly zones to enforce the Security Council resolutions, and by doing that he shot at us more and in doing that we were able to respond more on items that threatened us. The air defense system, etc.
So while we didn't have 30 days of preparation, we've certainly had more preparation pre-hostilities than perhaps some people realize.
Then your question about the pundits. I find that humorous that a lot of people, retired military people from various grades, from major to general officers seem to feel free to comment on a plan that they have never seen or been read in on or have any understanding of, and they seem free to critique an operation that they have absolutely no understanding of the imperatives that are going into the day-to-day decisions or the ability for the military side to support the diplomatic measures up front, or all of the challenges faced with this particular situation at this particular time in the region.
You know, I grew up in Texas and a lot of these guys, I'm amused by the way that they critique it, but at the end it's a whole lot like listening to a cow pee on a flat rock. It just doesn't matter. So I'll let it go at that.
When this is all over those people I hope will be as adamant and as aggressive coming on the air and talking to reporters like yourself about how wrong they were and about how some of them took service parochial views of this. It will be interesting to see how they decide whether they were right or wrong in their verbiage.
I hope that answered your question.
Press: Not really. The question was did you withhold fire in 100 to several hundred targets because of concerns for collateral damage in the first couple of nights?
General Moseley: Well we had a set of options that ranged, actually the first night that we struck the Iraqi military was a pretty significant strike.
The term Shock and Awe has never been a term that I've used. I'm not sure where that came from. I've just been a part of developing the plan for the CINC. When the CINC was given the execute order we had several options on the numbers of targets and the target locations based on the initiation of the hostilities. So by moving the ground forces first, which was the right decision, then you take a lot of the targets off the table that are in the southern part of Iraq because your ground forces are already there.
So if your question is did we withhold a large punch, we withheld some targets based on the initiation conditions and based on where the surface forces were. But that's the right thing to do anyway.
Press: General, this is Jim Manion from Agence France-Presse.
Your stealth bombing targets in Baghdad, strategic targets, I was wondering if you could give us a sense of what you're going after at this point, how that has changed, and what's left to bomb.
General Moseley: We're still addressing the leadership targets and we're still addressing what's left of the command and control. There's less of it, but some of the leadership, the higher echelons of the leadership certainly move from location to location so we continue to strike those.
I would tell you that the preponderance of the Baghdad strikes have begun to wane for all the right reasons. We have coalition ground forces in the city now, so we will come off of these, unless we get into that issue of urban CAS.
We're still striking leadership targets and command and control targets outside of Baghdad because we want to continue to keep the options of true command and control to a minimum. But I'll tell you, we've been very successful in breaking up the command and control backbone and we'll continue to strike that for as long as we have to to keep the forces isolated from the leadership in Baghdad.
Does that answer your question?
Press: Yes, thanks.
Press: Sir, this is Jim Garamone, I'm with American Forces Press Service.
We've been told that the special operations effort has been really huge in Operation Iraqi Freedom. What has this meant to the air campaign, and how have you worked together with your compadres in special ops?
And I wonder if you could touch on for a second the differences in the air campaign in the north, west and south. It really looks like those are three separate segments, or three separate ways of doing the air battle.
Press: That's a good question. I'll tell you the special ops component, I'm a big big fan of those guys. General Gary Harrel who is the CFSOC commander is a great American and those guys are doing some magnificent work out there.
The coalition piece with the other coalition members in the special ops world is equally a powerful message. Some incredibly brave people.
I would take you back to October and November of '01 when we really began to capitalize on a lot of training that we've done together when the lead-up to the fall of Mazar-e-Sharif there in early November of '01 and then the rapid collapse across Afghanistan which was a direct result of being able to tie incredibly precise applications of air power to incredibly brave people on the ground with the capabilities to bring JDAM and GBU weapons to bear on a very mobile and illusive opponent. So not only have we thought about this for a long time and not only have we trained together about this, but we have some recent data points out of the Afghanistan experience that we can bring to bear across the board with the special ops guys operating in Iraq right now.
So you are correct, that is a very very powerful tool for the CINC and a very very powerful and very accurate arrow in his quiver when you look across joint and combined operations.
The second part of your question. As the air component commander, I'm conducting operations kind of across a spectrum myself that includes strategic attack, counter air, interdiction, CAS, mobility, that's intra and inter-theater airlift. Reconnaissance under intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. All of that simultaneous.
In the south we've had such a rapid movement of the surface forces that we've progressed straight from some strategic attack targets and interdiction targets straight to close air support and now we're providing intra-theater airlift because we're operations off of a number of previously-owned Iraqi airfields, and we've got A-10s operating off of them, our combat rescue assets. We're moving C-130s and C-17s across those airfields now. So a lot of that is due to the partnership with special operations, but it's also due to an incredibly effective partnership with the surface forces. Both V Corps 3rd Infantry Division and on the Marine Expeditionary Force side with the 1st Marine Division. I'll tell you, the commander of the 1st Marine Division, General Maddis, was also the commander of TF-58 that went into southern Afghanistan, so we've got a lot of experience working together on these things.
I would also tell you that to make all of this happen the tankers have been the true backbone of providing this access to be able to get the fuel to the right asset at the right time. It wouldn't surprise you to know we've got the tankers now up into Iraq in orbits further north so we can get that fuel up there.
So the south fight has been one with support of the Marine Expeditionary Force in V Corps, which again went from strategic attack to interdiction to close air support now to resupply. The west fight has been orchestration with special ops and some conventional forces out there. And the north fight is an emerging fight the kind that covers the waterfront up there with the 173rd in place and with the special operations and that is all still interdiction, some strategic attack, and a lot of close air support.
So I would tell you, across mission areas we're conducting all of that in near-simultaneous fashion from the combined air operations center here as we push those 2,000 sorties a day. But each of the fights, you're correct, each of the fights has a certain flavor to it relative to the forces engaged.
I would also tell you the other part of that is we've got in excess of 50 satellites that we're working as part of my quiver in the air and space applications, that the satellites have been just unbelievably capable, not just the global positioning system, but all of the others in being able to support both conventional surface forces, the naval forces, special ops forces, and the air forces themselves.
I hope that answers that one. Does that meet your expectation?
Press: General Moseley, it's Jeanie Olm with MSNBC.
You mentioned the Predator flying over downtown Baghdad for 12 straight hours yesterday. Can you give us a sense, was that a big factor in why U.S. forces pushed ahead to explore the center of Baghdad?
General Moseley: It helps. No, the reason they were able to push ahead to the center of Baghdad is because the land component commander has been able to shape that along with interdiction and close air support, and with incredibly brave U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops, who have been able to capitalize on the effect that we've had on the Republican Guard and the fielded forces and have been able to exploit that success.
The Predator's been able to provide, as well as the Global Hawk, has been able to provide imagery to General McKiernan and to his forces that assist, but I would give the credit to them. I would say it's that is that lead first lieutenant in that lead track that's been able to make this happen. I've just been able to give him the data that makes him a little more comfortable.
Press: General, Michael Killian, Chicago Tribune.
General Moseley: Yes, sir.
Press: What percentage of the Republican Guard forces that were in the field outside of Baghdad are now in the city? And are they disbursed or do you see them concentrating in some sort of last redoubt?
General Moseley: Sir, that's a good question. I don't know that I can answer that.
As you would imagine, this has been one of the things we've been watching and worrying with.
I will tell you the forces in the classic Republican Guard formations that they had two weeks ago don't exist. That's part of the heroic effort by the V Corps and the Marine Expeditionary Force as well as a collection of brave coalition airmen -- Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force. So the strikes on those formations have been devastating and have been decisive on breaking them up.
But the genesis of your question is where did the rest of them go? We're still wrapping them up out there and still attacking them and still killing them. Have the remainder gone into the city or are they on the periphery of the city? I would suggest that they're probably both. I would suggest that they're probably attempting to get away from the withering fire from Apaches and from ATACMs and from A-10s and F-16s and F-15s and F-18s and Cobras, and I think they're trying to find a place that they can get away from this and attempt to reconstitute.
The fact that we've got the Marine Expeditionary Force and the 3rd ID moving onto the city it's beginning to take that sanctuary away from them also.
So I think my answer to you would be I'm not sure I know where they all are, but I do know with the best joint effort we've ever had we're pressing these guys very hard and taking away any sanctuary they may have. We will continue to prosecute on them until they give up. Until either we kill them or they give up. There's no way out for these guys.
So I apologize, I don't know that I can specifically answer your question other than to tell you what we're trying to do to mitigate that problem.
Press: General, it's Vernon Loeb from the Washington Post.
As the Iraqi forces disburse in Baghdad and hide their armor and their assets next to churches, excuse me mosques and schools and civilian areas, to what extent are they able to nullify your precision strike capability?
General Moseley: They will attempt to do that, but by doing that that also paints a picture of the nature of this regime. We've seen death squads, we've seen them use pregnant women, we've seen them use women and children as shields, we've seen these death squads fire on their own people, we've seen these collections of chemical warfare suits and chemical antidotes, we've seen masks, we've seen boots and gloves. And you know as well as we all know, we don't have any chemical weapons, so why do they have those things if they know there's no chance that we would use them?
So I think that what you're stating there is just a manifestation of the type of regime that we're dealing with.
So if they park these things next to structures like that, of course it will be a bit of an issue for us but we can work our way through that. We will be very very precise and we will be very very lethal. We have a combination of weapons loaded on airplanes, again to include inert 500-pounders with a GBU-12 seeker on it that we'll drop on these things which will not blow up because it's inert. We will continue to be as proportional as we have to be and we will continue to be as mindful of collateral damage and civilian loss. That's just the way we are. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. That's the way you would expect us to be. And yes, it will cause us some problem, but we will continue to work through this.
Press: One of the things the Army seemed to find in Anaconda was that the Apaches and the A-10s were a lot more effective in flying close air support than the bombers and the fast movers were on/in very complex terrain.
With helicopters still unable to fly over Baghdad I'm wondering whether the fighters and the bombers at considerable altitude are really going to be able to prosecute that CAS mission effectively.
General Moseley: Let me answer that. I don't know that I would agree with your premise that only helicopters and A-10s are good at CAS. I would offer the F-16, the F-15E, the Marine F-18, the Navy F-14. I would tell you that a trained pilot and crew in those airplanes with the same munitions are equally capable.
I would also tell you that we've had some great success and we still are having success dropping JDAMs off of B-1s and B-52s relative to special operations and conventional forces spotting targets and passing coordinate. So it's a wide array of capability to bring to bear on this problem.
It's a complicated problem, and it's even more complicated when you're trying to mitigate civilian loss and collateral damage, but we'll get through this. We will continue to apply decisive pressure, and we will continue to kill these guys until they give up.
Press: Sir, Martha Raddatz from ABC News.
Can we go back to the first night of bombing. I think we've been told there were approximately 42 cruise missiles fired on three different targets, but the bulk of them went into the residential compound where it was suspected that Saddam Hussein and perhaps some of his sons and other leadership figures were meeting. Also a couple of what's been described as bunker busters dropped.
Can you describe what type of damage that would inflict on a residential compound like that? And given that we've now seen what appears to be Saddam Hussein on TV, does it make you think he might not have been there?
General Moseley: Ma'am, I don't know whether he's alive or dead. What I do know is his ability to command and control his forces has been significantly reduced. I think we'll know sometime over the next few weeks or so whether he's alive or dead, but remember from our perspective it's not about him, it's about the regime. So we'll continue to go after the regime.
That first night the mix of weapons was led by two F-117s with the penetrating weapons and then followed up with the cruise missiles and the effect that you would have against a bunker are the same things that you've seen over time with a penetrating 2000-pounder that will penetrate the concrete and then detonate inside the structure, and then followed up by the cruise missiles which do a wonderful job also of breaking up the remaining structure.
So I believe I could tell you that the right mix of weapons were chosen with the right accuracies. And remember, everything that we've dropped or shot into Baghdad to date has been precision guided. Whether it's a JDAM or whether it's a GBU or whether it's a cruise missile. So that night was no different. We chose the right weapon to attack that structure and that bunker to mitigate the damage in the vicinity of that facility and to reduce the loss of civilian life.
I would tell you I don't know whether he's still alive, but I suspect his quality of life is not as good as it was two weeks ago, if he is alive, and I suspect we'll find out. But again, it's about the regime. It's not about that single guy.
Press: Okay, forget about the single guy then. How does someone get out alive from that kind of bombing campaign on a residential compound?
General Moseley: Ma'am, that would assume that the person was in there when you hit it. I guess I don't know how to answer that question.
If the person was in that particular structure when you hit it with those weapons, then he's not there anymore. So I guess the premise is if he was in there when we hit it, then he's probably not with us any more.
I don't know how to answer you other than to tell you I know what the destruction of the weapons do to a structure like that, and the structure was hit and the structure was collapsed with minimizing the collateral damage in the vicinity. I can't tell you whether he was in there or not. I wish I knew, quite honestly, but I don't.
Press: General, It's Mike Mount with CNN.
Going back to the Predator flight over Baghdad yesterday, did that aircraft follow the Saddam Hussein kind of traveling about with his, when you saw this video yesterday with him out on the streets. Did the Predator follow him in that crowd? And if he did --
General Moseley: Look, I wish we'd known he was going to be out there. I didn't get that memo that said he was going to be out there or we'd have been out there to welcome him.
What we've done over the past couple of weeks is we've been able to get the Predators up to provide surveillance of those key leadership areas that we've been looking for. In the case of support of the land component, in this case I'm looking at things that the land component wanted to get a good idea of what the conditions were before they began to step off into the city.
So the Predator yesterday has been looking at those areas that are useful for General McKiernan and the land component. But every day we've had Predators over the top of Baghdad looking for surface-to-air missile radars, looking for missile launchers that he's got up in the parks and some of the athletic areas, and also looking over some of the leadership targets that we struck to help us determine whether we have to restrike it or whether we can leave it alone.
So no, I didn't know that he was going to be up there. I wish they'd have told me. We'd have had the Predator up there to film, whether that was him or not, to film that event. Sorry I can't help you with that one.
Press: That's all right.
Have you used Predator at all to track any leadership?
General Moseley: We have. We have used Predator like we have in Afghanistan. When we get a tip from any number of sources we've used the Predator to go up and monitor and to confirm the intelligence that we've got or to support any of the components. Whether it's supporting Admiral Keating who is the naval component who has used some SEALS and some of his unconventional warfare guys in an outstanding manner, to use the Predator to support them or the land component or the special ops or even myself to use the Predator to support what we're doing. So we're about to wear it out.
We've used these things in such a wide variety of mission areas, both the armed ones and the unarmed ones, that we're getting very very good data on how to use UAVs from the experience in Afghanistan to now on what we can look at these things to do in the future. It's a wonderful opportunity.
Press: Good afternoon, General. This is Sergeant Rick Burnham from Air Force News.
General Moseley: Hi, how are you?
Press: Good, sir.
Our C-17s have a unique ability to get humanitarian aid into some remote areas. When the shooting stops can we expect to see some of those resources involved in the humanitarian aid process?
General Moseley: You mean to fly the humanitarian aid in? Is that your question?
Press: Yes, sir.
General Moseley: You bet. We have a ship tied up down at Um Qasr that's unloading humanitarian relief. We've brought in a lot of humanitarian relief with us. The land component is moving some of that with him as he goes so he can help take care of displaced persons and humanitarian relief challenges.
You bet we'll be flying that as soon as we can get the major airfields open next to the bigger cities.
The previous Iraqi airfields that we're operating off right now are in slightly more remote areas, but you can bet we'll start flying that in as fast as we can get it when the time is right. That's the right thing to do.
And remember, in the Afghanistan model on the first couple of nights we began to drop humanitarian relief packages from the C-17. In fact during that period of time we flew the largest humanitarian airdrops in the history of combat aviation with the C-17 and guys out of Ramstein. That's a great capability. You bet we'll employ that.
Press: Hi, General, this is Lisa Burgess with Stars and Stripes.
General Moseley: Yes, ma'am.
Press: Can you give me some sense of what percentage of the Iraqi air force aircraft have been destroyed? And another question, one of the gun camera videos that we saw yesterday sort of surprised me because the aircraft was sitting out in the open with just some earth revetments around it. It seems like that is incredibly exposed. Why would anybody park an aircraft in a place that would be so easy for people to target?
General Moseley: Ma'am, that's a good question. The problem with getting into an accounting numbers game is the number of things, whether they're SAM radars or whether they're MiG-21s or SU-17s, the numbers are normally inaccurate. The going-in position, the intel community will work with us on how many they could possibly have or how many they purchased or how many they had X number of weeks ago or months ago. What you don't know is how many are operable.
What we've seen a lot with the Iraqi air force is that they have many many many derelict platforms and they have those things parked out in those revetments. So the challenge is to find the ones that are real versus a derelict.
So we continue to strike those because we want to keep the Iraqi air force in a position of not being able to operate.
So if you were to ask me how many have we killed, we've killed a lot of them and we're killing a lot more of them every day.
If you want to know what the percentage of the operational Iraqi air force, that's going to be a harder question and we may have to wait until this is over and go out there and find an alive Iraqi air force officer and ask him.
Press: Is there any sense that they are hiding some of these aircraft in mountain bunkers or places that are fairly inaccessible?
General Moseley: That's a good question and the issue there would be, I think they are attempting to bunker them up to preclude using wide area munitions on them and force us to use a single weapon on a single airplane if we choose to strike them that way.
If they put them in mountain bunkers or if they put them in places away from the airfields, they have to get them from the airfield to that location and there's only a finite number of ways to do that. We've been watching that very close and we've been attempting to preclude movement of those assets from those airfields. That doesn't mean he doesn't have some hidden out there, it just means that we haven't seen them, and we've been working very very hard to ensure that there's no surface out there that he can operate an aircraft off of.
Again, that doesn't mean that he won't be able to launch one or two, but it's not because we haven't been paying attention to it.
Press: Hi, this is Mei-Ling Hopgood with Cox Newspapers.
General Moseley: Yes, ma'am.
Press: I am wondering if you can give us an update on the coalition supply of precision guided munitions, and are you confident that the coalition is going to have enough to finish this out if the conflict lasts weeks, months, more?
General Moseley: Yes, ma'am. In fact I worry about that every day. We have a continual resupply of those munitions.
Your question really gets to what is the expenditure rate versus the magazine inventories aboard the five aircraft carriers and on the 30-plus operating airfields.
Right now we have multiple days and multiple weeks of munitions at the expenditure rates that we've been seeing over the last few days. As we perhaps get into a more constrained geographic area and we get into more of this urban setting, if we have to do this, then you'll see the amount of those kinds of munitions go down. So the days of supply will go up.
The Navy and the Air Force have done a great job of providing Admiral Keating and myself magazine supplies of the primary preferred munitions, so right now I'll tell you I'm okay with that. I'm not excited with the levels that we're using and the levels that we have in storage and also in the pipeline headed this way. And primarily what you're really asking about are things like GBU-12, which is the 500-pounder, and the JDAM. The MK-82, the normal 500-pounder, the MK-84, the 2000-pounder, those are in large numbers. So I think what you're really asking are the precision capable systems and we're okay with that right now.
Colonel Mitchell: Sir, we've made it around the room and everyone who wanted to ask a question has. Will you take other follow-ups? We've got about four minutes left.
General Moseley: Sure, you bet. It's a treat to be able to talk to y'all. We don't get out much here in the command center.
Press: General, Charlie Aldinger with Reuters again.
You said you've pretty much hit most of your predetermined targets in Baghdad and things are slowing down a little bit. To clear up this urban, you say you're ready for urban CAS. To follow upon Vernon's question earlier about the high speed assets, some question. Can we assume that if you get into an urban CAS situation that laser designation will even become more important than satellite designation if you have troops suddenly confronted with enemy troops from small buildings or houses? Will laser designation become even more important? From the troops on the ground.
General Moseley: Sir, I don't know that it will become more important but it is certainly a useful tool, and that's the GBU-12 and the 500-pounder. You're exactly right.
If we have to get into this urban setting we'll do this. We can do this better than anyone else. It's hard. It's going to require patience. It's going to require discipline. It's going to require a proportional response. It's hard work. We will all work this very hard.
The laser systems will be very helpful for us because you know you can lase those from the ground, you can buddy lase those from the air, you can self lase those from some systems. The GPS systems will be very useful also. Those are a little bit bigger bomb and that has some collateral damage issues and we'll work our way around that.
We will not default to the biggest bomb, we will default to the right bomb and the laser systems are certainly very very useful in that situation, to include the laser Maverick. We've got different versions of the Maverick. We've also got the 30mm on the A-10. We've got the guns aboard the Apache and the Cobra, and we've also got the guns on the F-16 and the F-15E and the F-18 and the F-14. So we'll use everything we've got in a very very disciplined way if we have to get into this fight as you've described.
I don't know, sir. Is that what you were thinking?
Press: General, Tom Bowman again with the Baltimore Sun.
We can't let you leave here without asking you if any new kinds of weapons have been used that we've been writing about and nauseam. The MOAB, the e-bomb? Any non-kinetic weapons? There was some talk about a new type of bomb that would take out chemical sites. Can you shed any light on any of this?
General Moseley: Sir, we've not dropped that bomb. I'll tell you what we have done, though. We have used the EGBU-27, which is the GPS-guided GBU-27, and we've used the centrifuse weapon for the first time against armor and against vehicles. And I'll tell you one that is exciting for an airman, we've been able to drop at least 80 MK-82s or the 500-pounders off of the B-2 for the first time, flown from Whiteman, Missouri.
So yes, we have used some of the older weapons in new ways, and we've used some of the newer weapons. I haven't seen this MOAB. I saw it on the television, but I've not seen one of those. And we have the weapon that you talked about that we could use against the chemical sites if necessary, but we've not dropped one of those.
The B-2 strike was against a garrison area and I'll tell you what an amazing capability to bring to the CINCs' joint quiver to be able to fly from Whiteman, Missouri with 85 100-pounders and drop them off of a low observable platform against a concentration of troops and then fly back to Missouri.
So I think you'd be very proud of those kids that did that and very proud of the capability that we can bring to bear.
Does that help?
Press: General, Eric Schmitt again.
Can you talk a little bit more about the north? You said there's kind of a wide range of activities going on but we don't have a lot of visibility. What is the situation on the ground there? What are the Iraqi forces doing? What does the air campaign look like in a little more detail?
General Moseley: Eric, we're applying across that spectrum of strategic attack against command and control and against leadership targets up there. We're flying interdiction missions up there in the vicinity of our and coalition fielded forces. We're flying a lot of close air support up there. We're flying a lot of our reconnaissance and surveillance assets up there.
The Navy is carrying a large, large load up there operating out of the eastern Mediterranean and flying across Turkey. Our tankers are up there, our AWACS is up there. We are going after the Iraqi forces along that green line and really punishing those that are out there.
We're in direct support of the SOF guys on the ground, the conventional forces on the ground. We're moving a lot of assets in there with C-17 and C-130 now and beginning to build up forces as fast as we can to provide that decisive capability for the CINC up there.
It's a little bit further away as you look at a map, but the good news is with two aircraft carriers in the eastern Med and with our tankers we're able to provide near continuous pressure, as well as putting the B-52s and the B-1s over the top. You've got 24-hour a day coverage up there with someone with weapons that you can bring in a very precise manner against people that are threatening or against targets that we need to hit prior to any ground movements.
And that's a little bit different fight than out west and in the south. The question earlier was a very good one about the subtle differences in each of those areas.
I don't know, Eric, does that help?
Colonel Mitchell: Yes, sir.
Press: It's Vernon Loeb again from the Washington Post.
We've heard a lot about these vaunted air defenses in Baghdad and having been pulled back into Baghdad. I'm wondering how it is you're able to fly the Predator for such extended periods over Baghdad given those air defenses?
General Moseley: I think you know the answer to that. We've gone after these air defenses. After the first three or four days we switched from a suppression campaign to a destruction campaign and we've been literally hunting them down one by one and killing multiples of them every day.
We use our F-16CJs and the F-18s with the munitions that they carry in our Rivet Joint and the Global Hawks and the F-15E, the other F-18s, the EA-6s, and we have a discerned, specific mission to go hunt them down and kill them. Kill the antennas, kill the launchers, kill the support vans, the comm vans, break up their command and control and force them to move. And as they're moving they're not setting up and plugging in and getting their systems up. And every time they move one of those things they have a tendency to break something on them, and so by forcing them up and by individually hunting them down and keeping them on the run you begin to be able to control the airspace. That's exactly how we've been able to transition from the starting condition to air superiority now to air supremacy. It lets you keep something like a Predator overhead the capital city for over 12 hours at a time every day.
So I would tell you the destruction of enemy air defense piece of the air campaign has been very very effective.
I will also tell you he's still shooting missiles at us. He still has a lot of AAA, a lot of 57 and 85 and 100mm. He's still got a lot of rockets that he shots and he's still got a lot of MANPADs and he still has a lot of the SA-2s and SA-3s and SA-6s. So while he's shooting he is shooting in such an isolated, uncorrelated, and unorchestrated manner that it's been ineffective.
I still worry about that because the fact that he's still shooting at you means that he may hit you. So I worry about that and that's why we've turned the heat up on the destruction of these systems to have him react to us instead of the other way around. That's the way to do this. That principle of air power hasn't changed since World War I. You take the fight to his airspace and keep it there.
Press: Rick Whittle with the Dallas Morning News again.
I hope this isn't redundant given some of your earlier remarks but can you give us kind of, with the Republican Guard basically gone if I understood your description of it, with the Iraqi air force not a factor, with the air defenses so degraded, what's on the checklist militarily of objectives yet to achieve? Things left to do to end the war?
General Moseley: Rick, that's a good question. I would not tell you that the Republican Guard is 100 percent gone. I believe they are gone in organized division-strength, corps-strength, brigade-strength, but I believe there are still some survivors out there that are still willing to fight. Those are the guys we're after. We're after those individual elements out there that are creating threats for our people and we'll continue to go after them.
So I believe in large combatant formations we've broken that up. I don't for a second believe that they're 100 percent killed. The remainder of them have in fact disbursed and they will in fact continue to cause a problem for us, and there are some regular army units out there that are in those same smaller formations that will cause a problem for us. That's why we're continuing to fly interdiction, whether it's off of an aircraft carrier or Marine aircraft or Royal Air Force or Royal Australian Air Force or U.S. Air Force. That's why we're still going up there and tracking these guys down so the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division, if they fight these guys, they fight them on our terms with the forces correlation on favorable conditions for us.
So while there are still some of them out there, Rick, there's a whole lot less of them than there were a couple of weeks ago.
The remainder of the military objectives are still to keep the command and control system crippled, to keep the air force down, to keep the army units so they cannot move, and if they do move they move in such small numbers that they don't cause us much of a problem, and to continue to provide 100 percent joint support for the component commander that's engaged. In this case it's General McKiernan of the land component is the engaged commander right now and we are all in direct support of him to make his life and his troops' life a whole lot easier.
I think, Rick, that's the beauty of this thing. We have really thought this through to make it the best joint and combined American and coalition effort that we can. Again, I've had five joint assignments and this is the best joint cooperation that I have seen with the best plan, the most strategically dislocating, and the most creative, and the most operationally sound plan and each of us as component commanders have been involved in this from the beginning. We're lucky because we've got the best training in the world. Our people are the smartest and the bravest. On the air component, I'm particularly lucky because I've got probably the highest level of combat experienced pilots and crews, when you think about Desert Storm, you think about Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Afghanistan, and now this. There's not too many captains and majors and lieutenant colonels out there in the Air Force and in the flying Navy that haven't been in combat or haven't been in this theater multiple times.
So I can't tell you how proud of these guys I am. In a joint sense and as an airman and as an Air Force officer, I'm extremely proud of these guys.
Press: Gregg Jaffe with the Wall Street Journal.
One of the problems or concerns with urban CAS has to be since it's a fairly small battlefield that planes will get stacked up on top of each other and all the planes won't be able to bring their firepower to bear when you need it. How do you avoid that problem, and what have you done to make sure that that's not a problem?
General Moseley: Well, I'll tell you exactly what we do. We bring bombs home. We've been flying a thousand strike sorties a day and we'll continue to stack airplanes up so in the lower stack if you run out of gas you go home and there's airplanes above you still with the right munitions to conduct this.
We have the luxury because we have air supremacy right now, we have the tankers up close, we have a mix of assets from Marine Corps, Navy, UK, Australia and U.S. Air Force assets to include the fighters and the bombers that you can keep a 24-hour presence over the top of this problem if it comes to that.
Now that appears to be wasteful, but that's okay. What we're looking for here is combat effectiveness, not necessarily combat efficiency. We'll keep flying these airplanes up there and so if you run out of gas then you just go home, bring your bombs home and we'll fuel the airplane and go back.
We've also got the airborne FACs that are up there on either side of the river right now and we'll keep the airborne FACs up there to work with the ground FACs and the terminal controllers with the Army, we'll keep those up there 24 hours a day also.
So there will be a 24-hour presence of forward air controllers both on the ground and in the air, plus a 24-hour presence of a mix of aircraft and ordnance.
So I think I would answer you by saying if I get low on gas in that CAS stack, then I just turn around and go home and there's other people behind me that have more gas. And we'll just keep doing that if we have to do it this way until we kill all these guys or they give up.
Press: General, it's Thelma LeBrecht with Associated Press. One more, last, I think it may be the last question.
You keep saying if we have to do it this way. Obviously there are now ground troops in Baghdad. Are you saying that what you would prefer would be that the regime surrender so that you do not have to kill any more? Spell that out if you wouldn't mind.
General Moseley: I think you've got it. You never take lightly the notion of having to take a life. So the ideal solution would be for these people to give up, the regime to give up, because this is about the regime, and liberate the Iraqi people so they can have a life. So their kids can go to school, they can have jobs, they can have a normal life, and they can return to some economic benefit from the wonderful country that they've got.
If someone were to ask me, for me to vote, I would say they should have given up two weeks ago and avoided this. So you would expect an American airman to say that we do this reluctantly but we will do this very very decisively and very very forcefully and we will do this with a great deal of precision.
The outcome is a given. It's not going to change a thing. The regime is going to go down.
So yes, my desire would be if they are listening to you right now, would be for them to give it up. It's over.
Colonel Mitchell: One more question. This should wrap it up.
General Moseley: Okay.
Press: General, Vernon Loeb again from the Washington Post.
General Moseley: Yes, sir.
Press: Two real quick questions. One, the airborne FACs you just mentioned, would they be in AWACS aircraft? Or what type of aircraft would they be in, number one? And number two, given the size of the JDAM and its slightly reduced accuracy compared to a laser-guided bomb, does it become of increasingly less value when we start talking about urban CAS?
General Moseley: That's a great question. Let me take the first one.
The airborne FACs are in a mix of A-10s, F-16s, F-15Es, F-14s, F-18s, all of the Navy, Marine and Air Force aircraft that we can bring to bear that have FAC A-qualified pilots and crews, we'll use them. In fact they're up there right now, again today. We started this so we could stay over the top of the city and provide support.
So if you check into the CAS stack you may be working with a Marine in an F-18 or Navy crew in an F-14 of an Air Force pilot in an A-10. You won't know the difference. You'll just know the call sign and the location. So I think that's another wonderful testimony to joint training, joint doctrine, joint CAS, and being able to work the command and control to get the airplanes up there.
If I sound like a proud father, I am, because I am extremely proud of these guys because they really, really do a good job.
Your second question about the JDAM, no, we've used the JDAM before in Afghanistan doing this same sort of work and we're using the JDAM every day.
The average miss distance on the JDAM has been about the length of the bomb. When some people say that we've got these GPS jammers up there, I find that's humorous also because we've killed every GPS jammer that's come up with a GPS weapon, so that hasn't worked out very well for them.
The only downside of the JDAM is that 2000-pound class weapon which gets to the Air Force and the Navy and the Marines notion of a smaller diameter JDAM somewhere in the future. It's actually in the program. I wish we had the 250 and 500-pound class JDAM now, but we don't. So we'll use the GBU-12s and we'll use the JDAMs and we'll use the other weapons as required as we run a collateral damage mitigation and look at the effects of that particular weapon on that particular target. You can bet everybody will be involved in that from the ground FAC to the ground commander to folks here in the CAOC to make sure we've got that right. We take that very very serious.
Colonel Mitchell: Okay, sir. I think that should conclude our event today.
I know General Rand is there with you. Is there some arrangement that y'all would like to make for any follow-up questions in case they come up?
General Moseley: I'll do anything you guys want to do. It's a real pleasure to be able to spend some time talking to you. I appreciate the work y'all are doing. We get the Early Bird over here every day. Rick Whittle's promised me the Dallas Morning News, my hometown paper, but I've yet to see one. So I'll have to work that off-line. But thank y'all for what y'all do and thanks for the time.
I'll turn it over to General Rand.
General Rand: Alvina, you can do all the follow-ups. The phones, as you know, the phone connectivity is pretty hit or miss, but you can do the follow-ups by just giving everyone my e-mail address and then I'll call back and call through you to them.
Press: [You can contact] General Moseley at www.dallasnews. -- [Laughter]
General Moseley: I heard that, Rick. That doesn't work, buddy. [Laughter]
Colonel Mitchell: Sir, thank you very much.
[Web version: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Apr2003/t04052003_t405mose.html]