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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

USIS Washington File

19 December 1998


(Reports "significant damage" to key targets)  (8250)
Washington -- Secretary of Defense Cohen told a Pentagon briefing in
the early afternoon of December 19 that one of the key aims of the US
and British air strikes on Iraq had been to degrade Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein's ability to deliver weapons of mass destruction.
"We estimate that Saddam's missile program has been set back by at
least a year," Cohen said.
The US and British attacks, concentrating on military targets, started
December 16 after the United Nations reported that Iraq was impeding
UN inspections of Saddam's biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
Cohen said the strikes had caused major damage to the elite Republican
Guard and other targets. "I want to stress that this military action
is substantial." It had inflicted "significant damage on the seven
target categories" US officials had selected, Cohen told reporters.
Following is the Pentagon transcript:
(begin transcript)
DoD News Briefing
Saturday, December 19, 1998 -- 2:00 p.m.
Presenter:  Secretary of Defense William S.  Cohen
with General Hugh Shelton, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Rear Admiral Thomas R. Wilson, Chief of Intelligence
Operation DESERT FOX
SECRETARY COHEN:  Good afternoon.
As you know, the United States and British strikes against Iraq are
From the beginning of this operation we've been careful to set
realistic goals. We've also been careful not to either overstate or
exaggerate the results as our intelligence analysts study the very
preliminary data.
However, I want to stress that this military action is substantial. It
is inflicting significant damage on the seven target categories that
we have selected. These are as follows:
Iraq's air defense system.
The command and control system that Saddam Hussein uses to direct his
military and to repress his people.
The security forces and facilities to protect and hide his efforts to
develop or maintain the deadly chemical and biological weapons. These
are the forces that have worked to prevent the United Nations
inspectors from doing their jobs.
The industrial base that Saddam Hussein uses to sustain and deliver
his deadly weapons.
His military infrastructure, including the elite Republican Guard
forces that pose the biggest threat to his neighbors and protect his
weapons of mass destruction programs.
The airfields and refinery that produces oil products that Iraq
smuggles in violation of economic sanctions.
I'd like to focus on two areas where our strikes have substantially
degraded Saddam Hussein's warfighting capability. The first is Iraq's
ability to deliver deadly weapons. We estimate that Saddam's missile
program has been set back by at least a year. I'd like to offer just
another word pertaining to descriptions of damage done.
When we talk about moderate damage inflicted, I think it has to be
kept in mind in terms of its comparison. When the Federal Building in
Oklahoma City was bombed, the initial photographs, satellite
photography that had taken place, described that damage as being
moderate. I think we all understand how much damage was in fact done
to that building, even though it was described as moderate at that
The elimination of the ability to deliver these deadly weapons is one
of the jobs that Saddam's security forces prevented the UN inspectors
from performing. So the second area where the damage has been
substantial is the command and control system. This network of
communications, intelligence, propaganda and security service
headquarters has been significantly damaged.
Saddam may rebuild and attempt to rebuild some of this military
infrastructure in the future, just as he has replaced many facilities
including lavish palaces after DESERT STORM. But we have diminished
his ability to threaten his neighbors with both conventional and
non-conventional weapons.
In closing, I want to again call attention to the superior performance
of both the United States and British forces. This action demonstrates
the quality of the men and women we have in the military. They are
well trained. They are well equipped. They are well led and we owe
them a great deal of gratitude.
Mr. Chairman?
GENERAL SHELTON:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
As the Secretary noted, we are very pleased with the results of the
operation thus far. In the primary areas of concern, facilities that
support Saddam's weapons of mass destruction capabilities, his command
and control, and the security forces associated with these weapons, we
have had significant success in our air strikes.
However, it does appear that we've got to do a better job of
translating the arcane science of battle damage assessment into plain
English, so that you can all relay the information more effectively to
the public. So the burden is on us. The burden is to make a complex
subject more understandable.
On the plus side, as you will see in just a few minutes when Admiral
Wilson briefs, I believe the numbers themselves are clearer today
because we've had additional time to conduct our assessments.
Let me take just a moment here to give you a flavor of what we call
battle damage assessment. This first photograph is of the electronics
plant. Here you can see three different impacts. The one on the left,
our analysts assess as moderately damaged. The one here on the bottom,
we assessed as destroyed, and I think you can see why. Basically it's
been rubbled. The last one, on the upper right, you can see the crater
near the corner of this building...our analysts assessed this impact
as having produced light damage.
But to put this in perspective, I'll show you some other facilities
where we saw explosions outside of buildings that were much smaller
then the explosions caused by this weapon.
I'm sure you recognize these as our two embassies -- the one in
Tanzania and the one in Kenya. As you can see when you have a chance
to get a different angle or a ground view, your sense of damage can be
quite different.
Our analysts classified this damage as light to moderate when all they
had was overhead imagery to go by.
Again, here's the Taji missile repair facility. It contains a series
of buildings, but we only went after selected targets within the
compound based on intelligence as to which ones had elements that were
critical to the process.
This one was assessed as moderate damage, as was this one. This one
was assessed as severe damage, and so on.
My point is, none of these buildings within this compound were
assessed as destroyed, not even one. Our analysts are appropriately
very conservative in their initial assessments, as I think you would
agree in this particular facility. But in my view, this facility will
not be useable for Saddam's efforts to maintain or improve his missile
capabilities in the years ahead.
I'd also like to point out, as you can see, many of the buildings in
this facility appear to be undamaged, and the reason for that is
because they were not targeted. We only went after specific buildings
within the compound. Again, ones that were related to our mission
I'll leave the rest of the details to Admiral Wilson.
To sum up, I am very pleased with the results of our strikes. The plan
is being executed with precision and success.
Before we take your questions, let me update you for just a second on
the status of our operation right now.
As you know, US and British forces are again striking targets in Iraq,
as we speak. To update last night's actions, all of our pilots and our
air crews returned safely from yesterday's air strikes. We conducted
approximately 150 combat and combat support sorties last night over
Iraq, as well as some additional Tomahawk and air-launched cruise
missile attacks.
While the Iraqis have not aggressively employed their substantial
surface-to-air missile systems, we have encountered heavy
anti-aircraft fire.
Finally, I'd like to say again, that we can all be proud of the way
our men and women in uniform have carried out their assigned mission.
They are superb professionals, as are those that are right now in the
Crisis Response Force that are starting to deploy, even as the
holidays approach. And I might add, as are all the members of our
armed forces. My thanks go out to them and their families. Thank you.
Q: General, can I ask, you told us before that I believe 70 targets
had been hit. How many targets have now been hit?
And Mr. Secretary, are we nearing the end of these raids?
GENERAL SHELTON: We're up in the 90s right now in targets, number of
targets struck.
Q:  And Mr. Secretary, are we drawing close to the end of this?
SECRETARY COHEN: The operation is going to continue until the
President decides that it has been completed, so it's still underway.
Q: It would be very helpful, certainly to me and maybe some of my
colleagues and it might ease some of this confusion if you could give
us, and you did in a sense, gave us the number of missiles, in that
they were more than were fired during the Persian Gulf War, but if you
can give us a percentage as it's analyzed, of the successful strikes.
And also the percentage of the manned air crews with the smart bombs,
dumb bombs, versus a percentage, so we can get a batting average here
of how well we're really doing.
I mean this is helpful, but it doesn't tell us the full story.
GENERAL SHELTON: All of that will come out as part of the post
analysis that we're doing. Right now I know the numbers of missiles
fired I know the numbers of sorties, but in terms of specific ones
that have gone against each target, that will require a lot more
detail than I can give you right now, and we will provide that later
Q: Can you give us then, sir, if you would, the number of missiles to
date including last night's raid, that have been fired? We understand
that missiles were fired both from, as you say, aircraft and ships. Do
they include the new carrier battle group that's in the Persian Gulf?
GENERAL SHELTON: The new carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf is
zone capable. It's combat ready. It's perfectly capable of
participating in the strike, but because it's an ongoing operation, I
will not comment on whether or not it has been employed as of this
In terms of the exact numbers of missiles, as I've said, once the
operation has been... we've achieved our objectives, then we'll share
that information.
Q: A ball park, sir, if you would. Just ball park. Are we talking 300
versus 100 air-launched the other day? Is that figure acceptable to
you? Three hundred plus TLAMS plus 100 plus CALCMs?
GENERAL SHELTON:  Let's say you're in the ball park.
Q: Was there any specific item that has been targeted in this
operation that you believe has stopped Saddam Hussein from actually
attacking his neighbors? Was he very close to using these unmanned
vehicles supposedly to spew some chemical weaponry anywhere?
SECRETARY COHEN: That's always been one of our concerns. To the extent
that he would have so-called UAVs or take aircraft that could be
loaded with a chemical and then launched on an unmanned basis into one
of his neighboring countries has always been a concern to us.
Q: But was he very close to doing that? How far along in development
was he?
SECRETARY COHEN: That's an intelligence matter. We were concerned
about it.
Q:  Can you tell us, are you doing any restrikes?
GENERAL SHELTON:  Yes, we have done some restrikes.
Q: Secretary Cohen, there are reports from the Middle East saying that
the UK and the U.S. are very close to the cessation of the bombing.
Have you achieved your objective from this bombing? Are you stopping
SECRETARY COHEN: As I think I indicated, the mission is ongoing and it
will stop when the President orders it to stop.
Q:..that you have achieved your objectives?
SECRETARY COHEN: We will continue to apprise the President on a
regular basis where we are in carrying out the mission.
Q:...broadcast that they will not have the weapons inspectors back,
that this military action has moved the situation on. So what is your
reaction to their declaration?
SECRETARY COHEN: The one thing that was left out of their equation is
that the sanctions will remain in place. They will remain in place
until such time as Iraq agrees to fully comply with the Security
Council resolutions. So that will require inspectors to return and to
complete their job. Otherwise the sanctions have to remain in place.
Q: Secretary Cohen, you seem to be a bit on the defensive today about
the portrayal of the results of the bombing campaign so far. Are you
presenting a more rosy picture today because in order to call a halt
to the campaign you have to be able to say you met your objectives?
SECRETARY COHEN: Not at all, Jamie. What we have always been concerned
about is that our objectives be realistic, and that our success be as
direct and open as possible. No exaggerations. By the same token, we
don't want to see any understatement of what we've been able to
achieve. Some have characterized moderate damage as somehow being less
than successful.
What we've tried to point out is, when we make these preliminary
assessments, what looks either to be light or moderate, cannot be
calibrated in terms of a normal understanding. It can be and will be
shown, I believe, to be much more severe.
The reason I mentioned the Oklahoma City bombing was that the
satellite photography initially said that was moderate. That building
was functionally destroyed. When we look at these types of targets and
you see a hole in the roof, that doesn't necessarily describe what has
taken place under that roof.
So we will have refinements of the collection of the photographs
coming in the next few days and perhaps even few weeks. It will become
clearer. What we do not want to have is a misperception that somehow
this has been understated or overstated. We want to give as direct and
as accurate a portrayal as possible.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you said we have diminished his ability to threaten
his neighbors. That was always the stated goal.
Is there a target document or something somewhere which says we must
diminish it by such and such a percent, or by so many years of
SECRETARY COHEN: We don't talk in terms of percentage or years. We
look at the targets that those facilities, that compose, and do pose,
a threat to the region. We act accordingly. But we don't do it in
terms of...
Q:...vague formulation and deliberately thrown in... I'm not asking
you to get more specific, but is there somewhere an understanding of
what these vague terms mean operationally? To diminish, to degrade.
What does this mean?
SECRETARY COHEN: As I indicated yesterday, this is a very large
country with facilities spread throughout a country the size of the
State of California. We have selected those targets which pose the
greatest risk to the region, both from a chemical and biological and,
indeed, even potentially nuclear capability, and the means to deliver
them. We believe that we have inflicted substantial damage upon his
capability to do so.
Q: Mr. Secretary, can you give us an assessment of the damage to the
security forces, particularly as regards their ability to conceal
weapons of mass destruction and protect Saddam Hussein himself?
SECRETARY COHEN: I think it's too early for us to make that
assessment. We don't have sufficient information at this time.
Q:  Mr. Secretary, what...
Q:...southern Iraq...
Q: Once the airstrikes end, Mr. Secretary, the inevitable question
will arise, what next? You, the President, and today Prime Minister
Tony Blair talked about this policy of containment. Just how do you
envision this policy of containment being enforced, and to what extent
will that involve the U.S. military?
SECRETARY COHEN: The policy of containment will continue the same way
it has continued in the past. The policy of containment has been
successful. He has been contained from moving in the north or the
south. He has been contained in terms of rebuilding his military
capability to the best that we can determine, to the level it was
prior to the Persian Gulf War.
What we intend to do is to make sure that that containment policy
stays in place and that he comply with those Security Council
resolutions. We will keep our forces in place as they've been in place
for a number of years now. We will be at the ready should he try to
reconstitute those facilities or pose a threat to the region. We'll be
prepared to act again in the future.
Q:...without inspectors inside Iraq, will the U.S. military role be
increased? Will additional forces or activity on the part of the U.S.
military be required?
SECRETARY COHEN: We will have sufficient forces in place to take
whatever action will be necessary.
Q: Mr. Secretary, you offered one qualitative measure, one on the
missile R&D program. Do you have any other qualitative measures from
this campaign, how far you've pushed back him rebuilding command and
control, air defense, chem/bio production? Any other qualitative
SECRETARY COHEN: I think it's too early to tell at this point. We've
tried to show through some of these photographs the facilities that
have been substantially diminished and degraded and in some cases
destroyed in order to indicate that it may take a year or longer to
rebuild them. That would pertain also to his missile production
facility and several others.
Q: Is what we've achieved here, with all due respect, simply halting
Saddam for a year?
SECRETARY COHEN: A year or more is what it would take to rebuild any
of these facilities. And I wouldn't want to minimize the impact of the
containment policy. It will be much more difficult for him with the
containment policy still in place to rebuild any sooner, and it may
take him much longer.
Q: Mr. Secretary, are you even going after his chem and bio research,
development and production facilities? The industrial base you talk
about, you've still got the delivery means... You talked about
sustaining, for mainly delivery means. Are you going after the R&D and
the manufacturing...
SECRETARY COHEN: I thought we'd indicated consistently in the past
that it's very difficult to try to target biological facilities,
manufacturing facilities, since it could take place in a room the size
of this one right here under the roof of any building.
What we have tried to focus upon are the means to deliver them to the
extent that we have specific information on facilities that are
dedicated solely to that objective. We tried to take that into
Q: UNSCOM did destroy those which were, did destroy the facilities
which were solely dedicated to the military effort, but they chose not
to destroy those buildings which had a civilian purpose, as statuary
medicines, a pharmaceutical plant, a brewery, and so on, on the
grounds that they were dual purpose. Why are you destroying them?
SECRETARY COHEN: I don't believe UNSCOM ever took the position that
they destroyed all of the facilities that were capable of
manufacturing chemical weapons.
Q: The ones that were dedicated solely to the manufacture of chemical
SECRETARY COHEN: I don't even believe they were in a position to make
that determination in a country the size of Iraq. You may be right on
that; I don't believe that to be the case.
Q: My question is, are you going after dual purpose facilities which
could be converted to the manufacture of chemical or biological
weapons? If not, why not?
SECRETARY COHEN: I indicated yesterday that we did not target those
facilities that are dual use capable because of the concern that we
have for the amount of damage to innocent civilians.
Q: Mr. Secretary if you target them at night, why would they have
anybody there?
SECRETARY COHEN: People don't have to be in the facility in order to
do damage to the area itself. We took that into account. We were not
going to engage in acts which could result in many, many deaths to
innocent people.
Q:...Republican Guard...
Q: There are reports coming out of southern Iraq of uprisings,
disturbances, roads being blocked, possible Shiite uprisings down
there, possible involvement of military forces down there. Can you
tell us what you know about that?
SECRETARY COHEN:  I don't have any information to that effect.
Q:  General?
GENERAL SHELTON: I don't have any additional information. I've heard
only what I've seen in the press.
Q:  The Commander in Chief has...
Q: Can you characterize the degree of success and the focus perhaps in
the third night of strikes on the Republican Guard?
SECRETARY COHEN: We have targeted the facilities that are either
occupied or utilized by the Republican Guard forces. We'll have to
make an assessment after this campaign is over to determine the extent
of damage.
Q:  Is it substantial...
SECRETARY COHEN: You're going to get a briefing on this. If you look
at some of the facilities, you'll see it's substantial.
Q: The Commander in Chief has been impeached. How does, what's your
reaction to that? I understand you're going to be over at the White
House a little bit later. What's your feeling?
SECRETARY COHEN: Well, he's the Commander in Chief, and we're going to
continue to act accordingly. We're going to carry out this mission and
he is going to make the determination as to when it's complete, and he
will continue to function as Commander in Chief.
Q:  What do you make of the lack of Iraqi military response so far?
SECRETARY COHEN: We can't make any characterization of it. They may be
pursuing a policy of just riding it out and hoping that they can
change public opinion. But I would point out that many countries have
expressed not only the support for the United States and Great Britain
having to carry this out, but have placed the blame squarely upon the
shoulders of Saddam Hussein. President Chirac spoke on this issue
yesterday, indicating that Saddam Hussein has brought this upon
Q: Mr. Secretary, yesterday you used the word satisfied, which is not
a particularly strong word, maybe not in line with some of the...
SECRETARY COHEN:  The Chairman said "pleased".
Q:  Would you like to change your characterization?
SECRETARY COHEN: By saying that I am satisfied we have carried out a
sound military operation, I think that would indicate the degree of, I
don't want to use the word pleasure. This is not a pleasant affair at
all. This is very serious business. So when I say satisfied, I think
they have achieved the goals that have been set out for them. I am
satisfied that we have the finest military in the world. I'm satisfied
they've done a very professional job. And I think it's important not
to engage in words that might be misinterpreted. I think satisfied
Q: Do you have any plans to use ground troops? And if you don't, what
are the circumstances which, if you try to use them?
SECRETARY COHEN:  I'll let the Chairman comment on that.
GENERAL SHELTON: We, of course, have ground troops as a part of this
operation. They're on the ground in Kuwait right now, designed to help
defend our GCC partners, specifically Kuwait, a threat against Kuwait.
That's as far as I'll go with that. We in fact have them on the
ground, they're in place, they're prepared.
Q: You said that the object of these raids is not to destabilize, not
to destabilize Saddam Hussein's regime, and yet these strikes against
the Republican Guard are likely to result in that. Do you still say
it's not an object of the raids, and do you expect or hope that it
will destabilize?
SECRETARY COHEN: I've indicated the goal was to degrade his military
capacity or capability of threatening his neighbors conventionally or
with weapons of mass destruction. To the extent that we attack those
forces who are in charge and help him either conceal, move, transport,
and maintain these weapons of mass destruction programs, and that can
have the consequence of degrading his forces and his stability, but
our objective is to go after the capability itself. That could be the
Q:  Do you expect that it will do that?
SECRETARY COHEN:  That remains to be seen.
Q:  Mr. Secretary...
Q:  So why is it not your objective?  Why is it not your objective?
Q:  Will we see you tomorrow, Mr. Secretary?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  Good afternoon, again.
I'm going to show a little more gun camera footage, once again from
the F-14s and F-18s off of the ENTERPRISE. I'll probably just start
off by saying these also are in southern Iraq, but yesterday they were
down in the Basra area. We have one here from Al Kut, and another from
An Nasiriyah.
After that I'm going to talk a little bit more about battle damage
assessment and how we do it and talk just a little bit about the
Chairman's pictures. Then we'll show a few more as well as some more
numbers from updates from yesterday.
So without further ado, let's roll the camera footage.
Q:  Which night is this?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I think this was on night two. This is Al Kut. F-14
GBU-12 laser guided 1,000 pound bombs against the barracks and brigade
headquarters of Republican Guard units in the Al Kut area. Second
Q:  Those are the same barracks?
ADMIRAL WILSON: Multiple aim points in the same barracks, that's
Q:  Two?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  Probably more.  We just showed two here.
This is An Nasiriyah, a military cable repeater station, which is an
important part of the integrated air defense and command and control
This is an F/A-18 also firing a GBU-12.
Q: How many of these targets were struck in the Persian Gulf War? Are
ADMIRAL WILSON: We certainly struck the same areas and some of the
same facilities and kinds of facilities during the Persian Gulf War.
In some cases we would have facilities that are repaired, some new
facilities, and things like that. I really haven't gone back and
examined the entire target base now compared to what it was during the
Gulf War.
Q:  How many Republican Guard facilities have you hit overall?
ADMIRAL WILSON: They're on one of these charts, and we'll come up with
them here in just a second.
You can also probably tell by the different size charts that we're
stretching out our ability to...
Q:  Colors.
ADMIRAL WILSON: We wanted to try and color code them for you so you
can see the more important severe and moderate damage. But the SAMs
and integrated air defense system battle damage assessment continues.
Once again, I really would like to strongly emphasize that these are
supporting targets. There really is no long term need to hit SAMs or
integrated air defense for the sake of hitting integrated air defense
systems. These systems are important to suppress, degrade, or in some
cases destroy to support the strike. We have a lot of assessment
ongoing. These are mobile targets. They get up and move sometimes
every 12-24 hours. It's a little bit of a pea in the shell game.
But the main thing about the SAMs and integrated air defense system is
that to date, fortunately, and gladly, we have been able to fly in the
system and not been successfully engaged by any of the Iraq air
defense systems.
Q:  Any painting...
ADMIRAL WILSON: We've had some radar emissions, but no reports of
significant lockups or engagements that cause great concern.
Q:  Have there been any HARM shoots against any Iraqi...
ADMIRAL WILSON: I've not been briefed of any HARM shoots. I don't want
to say there hasn't been any. I'm not aware of any.
Q:  But no SAM launches?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I don't think there have been any strategic SAM
launches, SA-2s or SA-3s or SA-6s. I feel relatively certain that
there have been what we call manned portable air defense systems,
MANPAD launches, and perhaps some smaller mobile tactical SAMs,
particularly in some of these areas in close to key targets where they
have a concentration of air defense.
You saw on television all the air defense systems, and the AAA, and I
think it's more than likely that there were SAMs launched in those
Q:  Can you quantify that at all?  A few?  A lot?
ADMIRAL WILSON: There was a lot of AAA for sure. I don't have a
number. I cannot quantify the number of possible SAM launches. In fact
it's really my assessment and my educated guess that that's occurred.
I can't actually say for sure that it has.
Q:  But no aircraft has been hit?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  No aircraft has been hit to my knowledge...
Q:  By AAA or...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  By anything that I know of.
Q:  None lost for sure, right?
ADMIRAL WILSON: As of the time I came down here none were lost, and we
certainly hope to stay that way.
Q: Iraq has been claiming that cruises have been shot down. Is there
any evidence of that?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  No evidence of that.
Let me finish this briefing and then we'll get into questions, okay?
Thanks very much.
Command and control. We have updated this number here. You see
additional command and control facilities were attacked. We have done
a very good job against this target set and you can see it's been
significantly impacted.
Secretary Cohen indicated what those were. Leadership, command and
control locations, military command and control, the intelligence
services, and some of the propaganda and transmitting facilities.
Next slide, please.
This was a target that was hit very heavily on the first night, as you
recall, the WMD security. We have continued the battle damage
assessment work which is even now still in what I would call
preliminary stages. Because, frankly, the operation is not even over,
and we're still doing battle damage assessment.
You can see we have gotten more information on these targets and
upgraded in some cases the level of damage to moderate or severe,
depending upon the kind of information that we got.
It says assessment in progress, that's because maybe some of these
have finished phase one or even into phase two BDA. It hardly ever
finishes, because we go back for weeks and months in a third phase
assessment to try to get all the details about weapons impacts,
locations, performance, things like that.
Q:  Are you talking about the Republican Guard?
ADMIRAL WILSON: These are more the Special Republican Guards, the
Director of General Security, the Special Security organization. Those
are the kind of targets. Certainly the Republican Guards can be
involved in that, but it's the SRG which we believe certainly is more
involved in that mission of thwarting UNSCOM.
Q:  Any casualty estimates yet for the Special Republican Guard?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I don't have any casualty estimates at this point in
terms of personnel casualties.
This is the target set which is obviously important. I had very little
battle damage assessment to report on the WMD industry and production
facilities yesterday. We're still early in phase one. We continue to
make the assessments. But I think you'll see by some imagery we'll
show you now and probably later today or tomorrow or this week, that
we've had some very significant successes, particularly, as Secretary
Cohen indicated, against the missile systems and the R&D systems that
will support the delivery of weapons of mass destruction in the
future. The future programs.
Next slide, please.
Republican Guard data to date -- nine RGFC facilities have been hit.
Actually it is really the Republican Guard. I don't think we've
actually hit regular army facilities. These are primarily going after
corps and divisional headquarters as well as some of the barracks
areas. I'll show you some imagery on that in just a few minutes.
Most of them are down in the south.
Airfields. We hit a total of six airfields concentrating as I said
yesterday on the helicopters, attack helicopters and the UAV program.
We have had very good success on these. We've destroyed hangars where
the maintenance and even conversion of these assets can happen.
The helicopters disbursed on the first night. We located those again,
flew additional TLAMs in last night and destroyed additional attack
helicopters up in the area of K-2, it's an Iraqi helicopter base up
near Tikrit.
Q:  Is that a restrike?
ADMIRAL WILSON: That was a restrike. Actually it wasn't really a
restrike, it was a withhold and then strike where you know there are
targets. This is a good example of trying to use the intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance resources to be very proactive and
provide timely support for the strike operations.
Finally, we did have this one economic target, the POL facility down
at Basra. We still haven't gotten real good imagery of it. The damage
assessment is light. We've been through that physical damage bit just
a little bit, but we targeted some bundles of piping and we're
continuing the assessments of that particular target.
Q: Can you respond to a question the regime, the military units not
obeying orders...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  I have seen none.
Q:  Can you define...
ADMIRAL WILSON: Let me go on, and I want to do a little bit more on
this battle damage assessment business.
I've been doing this a long time, about 30 years in naval and joint
intelligence. I've seen a lot of strikes carried out over the years.
We've gotten certainly more precision in our inventory. We do a lot of
very detailed work by doctrine and by tactics, techniques and
procedures in this battle damage assessment. We are still in phase
one, which is physical damage assessments, which you can observe
through imagery or visual observations. We go into phase two in which
we try to get more information, different sources to confirm,
different look angles to see if things appear differently on the next
day with different light conditions. So this is a very deliberate
We certainly don't want to fool ourselves about how much damage we've
done, so we're conservative. Then we usually learn more in phase two.
Sometimes the damage assessments get worse. Most often with precision
ordnance we find they get better as indicated in the briefing this
Phase three, functional damage assessments, are something that take
longer because we really are trying to make a detailed estimate about
the function of a system or a facility or something larger than just a
single aim point.
This is the picture the Chairman showed you. Generally speaking when a
quarter of a building, 25 percent of a building is destroyed or
damaged, we call that moderate damage, 15-45 percent. Less than 15
percent is light damage. Zero, of course, is if you miss it. Then it
goes on up to severe damage, 45-75. And essentially destroyed is when
more than 75 percent of the building is essentially damaged.
In this case, this is severe bordering on destroyed. Essentially half
of this building here was dropped, and probably the other half is not
functionally useable because of the fragmentation damage and things
like that.
In this case, 25 percent of this building is destroyed. Certainly
further into the building, or farther into the building I should say,
we would have a lot more damage. Then the Chairman already talked
about how things look differently from overhead versus if you're
standing in the crater and looking into the building.
The other thing we'll need to do, and this is the Al Karamah
electronics plant. It supports Iraq's ballistic missile program, the
short range, but also a lot of technology which is applicable to a
long range program in the future. We will ultimately do a functional
damage assessment of this facility, and then a functional damage
assessment of the overall impact on ballistic missile development.
We're not at that point yet.
Q:  How long will it be before that's done?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  Probably weeks.  Days to weeks certainly.
I also would make the point as the Chairman did, we don't aim at every
building in a facility. These weapons are very precise, and they're
also relatively expensive. We try to make every one of them count, so
we aim for key parts of the facility that we think are the most
important to break the production link or the R&D link or whatever,
and that's what we've done here. I won't go into a lot of detail about
exactly which those are.
Q:  Admiral, a two-part question if I may, please.
First, have you determined that he has any operational SCUDs and have
you tried to take them out?
Secondly, what do you use for your imagery? We assume satellites, but
are you using U-2s and other types of recce aircraft including low
flying recce aircraft?
ADMIRAL WILSON: We're using all sources of imagery. This is what we
call imagery derived product here. Both U-2s, tactical recce, I'm sure
in the south where we're flying. Those are all sources.
We have always believed that he may have a few SCUDs hidden. We have
seen no indication of him trying to use them. We certainly would try
to take them out if he did.
This is the picture of the Taji missile repair facility. The Chairman
obviously did a splendid job of describing the functional kill here.
This is a repair facility for SA-2s, SA-3s, the radars that support
those missile systems, and has a lot of the technology which is
applicable to a ballistic missile program, and we believe it will be a
long time before the Taji repair facility is operational again, if
they choose to rebuild it, even though we probably have no building
which meets the destroyed description in terms of physical damage
Next chart.
This is an interesting photo for a couple of reasons. This is probably
the first damage done by B-1s in a combat situation against a
Republican Guard barracks in the Al Kut area. These were not precision
guided ordnance. It was the old way, although it's hard to beat a lot
of bombs, sometimes. This pilot walked a stick of bombs across this
barracks facility in the, I think it's the Al Nidah Division, but I
need to check for sure on that.
Interesting because you can get the four physical damage descriptions
on the same photograph. Light damage to this barracks here, at least
from the top. We don't see the structure collapsed or falling down or
any of those kinds of things. This is moderate damage on this one
right here. The end of it is pretty well destroyed. Frankly, I would
probably kick that up into the severe. This is certainly severe, a
bomb hit right in it and cut the barracks building in half. This one
here is completely destroyed.
Which brings me to another point. We assess that the overall damage to
this particular section of barracks is severe damage, but I really
don't think they're very usable right now for housing or troop
Q:  Were they manned at the time?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  We don't know for sure.
Q:...surprise in this particular hit?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I think this strike was conducted about as quickly as
could be ever done in the scenarios we've faced in Iraq in the last
few years.
Q:  Was this the first night?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  That was not the first night.
Q:...the first night then, is that correct?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  I said that was not the first night.
Q:  What bombs were the B-1s dropping?
Admiral Wilson:  I don't know for sure.
Q:  Five hundred pounds?
ADMIRAL WILSON:  Five hundred pound bombs...
Q:  Were they used...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  I don't know how many.
Q: Were they used again last night? They were used the night before...
ADMIRAL WILSON: I'm also, at this point I would like to stay away from
operational matters. I'm the J-2 doing a lot of intelligence work,
doing a lot of battle damage assessment. I want to leave the
operational details for the J-3 to discuss because he really does have
the detailed knowledge about those.
Q:  How many troops are normally in those barracks?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I think it's around 80 per building? Forty to 60 per
Q:  How many buildings there?
ADMIRAL WILSON: There were probably a dozen or more there. Then there
are other parts of the facility.
Q:  How big is the area?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I don't have the answer to that question right now,
and I'm ready to move on to the Secretariat here.
This is downtown Baghdad. This is an example of precision strike, and
hopefully some precision intelligence. We believe that this section of
the building housed an important command and control capability, and
we were concerned about collateral damage over here -- a girls school.
This building was attacked in downtown Baghdad by Tomahawk land attack
missiles. You can see they impacted at these three points here in the
wing that we targeted of this building. Did what is described as
moderate damage. May in fact, when we get done, be severe. But it is a
good example of both the precision that we use in trying to target
these facilities as well as the care that we go in trying to prevent
collateral damage.
Next chart, please.
Q:  What is that building?  What does Secretariat presidential mean?
ADMIRAL WILSON: It's like the working office of the leadership in the
regime. One of their working offices.
Q:  Was there any collateral damage?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I don't know of any collateral damage. We didn't see
any collateral damage in the imagery analysis.
Q:  When was...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  That was hit on night one.
The final photograph I have today is another of the WMD targets that
was successfully struck. This is a graphite building here and a final
assembly building, I think. Right, Steve? This supports the liquid
engine production for their ballistic missile program, both the short
range systems and potentially for the future.
We targeted these two buildings and another test launch stand which is
off of this frame of imagery. It was also destroyed. These two
buildings are certainly considered to be at least severely, moderately
to severely, damaged in terms of a physical damage description, but I
believe that they're, in terms of functionality, they're not capable
of performing their mission.
Q:  Where is that?
ADMIRAL WILSON: That is in -- They're all pretty much in central Iraq.
Q:  Which missiles?
ADMIRAL WILSON: That was a TLAM target. That's at a facility called Al
Rafah, Iraq. It is right in, southwest, or south of Baghdad, just
south of Baghdad. It's an industrial complex.
Q: Does he use liquid engines for his newer type SCUDs and longer
range? Or is he still using solids?
ADMIRAL WILSON: Certainly SCUDs are a liquid engine. Most countries in
the world which are developing SCUDs or SCUD-like technology
including, for example, the Nodongs produced by North Korea, are
liquid engine technology, and we think that is the part of his
program, Saddam's, that was the furthest developed.
Q:  Are you ready for questions?
Q: What more today can you tell us about what American aircraft, where
they're operating and what missions they're going...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  I'd like to refer that to the J-3.
Q: What signs do you have of movement by the Republican Guard? And
specifically, by encouraging revolt, does that force Saddam Hussein to
concentrate his forces and make them better targets for us?
ADMIRAL WILSON: For the most part, the movement by the Republican
Guard appears to be defensive dispersal, first in garrison. Following
that, out of garrison and even into urban areas. Urban areas are a
good spot to disperse because we certainly have collateral damage on
our minds as we conduct strikes. We don't want to have collateral
damage against Iraqi civilians. And it, of course, makes them more
available to suppress any rebellions which could occur, although I
don't have evidence that that is occurring.
Q: When you talk about missile production, you keep saying short range
which are around, but potentially longer range.
Q: Let's say these attacks weren't going on and they wanted to convert
these to longer range missiles. How long would it take them to
actually do that?
ADMIRAL WILSON: It would probably be a couple of years that they would
be able to move into a successful, longer range program, and the
targets that we struck, we believe, will have delayed that progress by
at least a year or more, based on the early assessments, and we will
continue to make those functional battle damage assessments about that
Q: ...prolonged the couple of years that it would have taken them
ADMIRAL WILSON:  At least a year.
Q: Regarding the numbers that you went through earlier and the way
that they changed, to give an example, the SAM sites. Yesterday there
were eight that were undamaged, today there were zero. Did those
numbers change because of restrikes or because of reanalysis of the
results of the strikes?
ADMIRAL WILSON: Some of both. You saw some more totals on there. So
it's some of both. And trying to balance the checkbook -- exactly how
many of which, I really don't know.
Q: Yesterday I think there was a sheet specifically relating to
weapons of mass destruction sites. Was there no -- when you were doing
the presentation did I miss something or...
ADMIRAL WILSON: The categories were the same, with weapons of mass
destruction/industry and weapons of mass destruction/security.
Q: Did the Russian military go on alert as reported yesterday?
Strategic Rocket Forces? Any indications...
ADMIRAL WILSON:  I don't have any indications about that, no.
Q: Were they doing any long range rocket work at this facility? Or to
the best of your knowledge were they doing work there that they were
allowed to do under the Gulf War cease-fire accord? And this was
purely preemptive?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I believe the answer is both. They were doing work on
a short range system and they had designs to develop the R&D and the
capability to rapidly produce good long range missiles in the future.
So in that case it was somewhat preemptive.
Q:  Having designs is one thing and doing it is something else.
ADMIRAL WILSON: And doing the computer modeling, the electronics
development, the liquid engine propulsion development and refinement,
the bending of the steel and metal -- I believe the techniques and the
capability to make longer range missiles and to improve their skills
in that regard was clearly underway in these facilities, yes.
Q: Another missile, maybe it was a different part of that same Taji
missile facility, you have the fabrication thing, you have final
assembly. You showed us a computer center that didn't look like it had
been -- it might have been hit a little bit, but not much. Did you go
back and get that? Is that where they have supercomputers?
ADMIRAL WILSON: I don't recall specific phase two work being done on
that facility. I did have a picture of a facility called Ibn al
Haytham, and we had two destroyed buildings that you'll recall on
that, and another large building that was intact. We got another angle
view of that yesterday in phase two that showed essentially the side
blown out of that, the other side blown out that had been in shadows.
Q: Have you seen a quiet posture on the part of those forces that have
been leafletted? Has that effort continued? And have they maintained
ADMIRAL WILSON: We have not seen any aggressive behavior by the forces
that were leafletted.
Q: Doesn't... Setting something back one year doesn't to me at least
sound like a whole lot. Maybe that's because I have the wrong
expectations. Is that sort of the best you could hope for in the
ADMIRAL WILSON: I think that reflects our -- this is -- I would like
to emphasize once again, we are in the preliminary stages of battle
damage assessment. The operation is still ongoing. We haven't gotten
deeply into functional assessments. But based on the trends of the
analysis, the precision that we see, the targets that are being hit,
we believe that we'll set back the future development by at least a
year and probably more, and we need to do additional analysis before
we discuss that further with you.
Thank you very much.
Press:  Thank you, sir.
(end transcript)

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