Analyzing NATOs Involvement in Kosovo
General Wesley K. Clark
Supreme Allied Commander, Europe
Analyzing the Air Campaign. As we analyze the air campaign in Serbia, where NATO took effective action, some questions are emerging concerning NATOs performance and capabilities:
- Are NATOs decision-making procedures flexible enough to permit proactive and decisive action in a developing crisis?
- Once a political decision has been made, are our force-generation and transfer-of-authority procedures quick enough to permit a timely response?
- Are our forces trained and equipped to meet the challenges of the next century?
- Is the Alliance keeping abreast of technological changes and working to improve multinational interoperability?
- During operations, are NATOs commanders free to exercise their military judgment with minimum political oversight?
Analyzing NATO Involvement. NATO was involved in much more than an air campaign in Kosovo; it was involved in a wide-ranging theater of engagement. In conjunction with the attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the Milosevic government tried to destabilize Macedonia, neutralize Albanian support for the Kosovars, and intimidate Hungary. NATO planned for two simultaneous operations in Kosovo, an air campaign and a peacekeeping operation, but ended up executing a third, humanitarian, assistance operation as well. In reviewing the Alliances overall actions in Kosovo, we must ask: how was NATO involved and was it properly involved? What could have been done differently¾diplomatically, politically, and militarily¾to hasten the end of the operation? And was Russias role in the conflict appropriate and adequately handled?
Post-Conflict Operations. In post-conflict operations in Kosovo, NATO is in control and will establish order. One of our top priorities is to demilitarize the KLA and prevent revenge on either side. We will be working very closely with the United Nations, the OSCE, and the emerging civil administrative structure to bring lasting peace and stability to the region. The Alliance is also grateful to the frontline states for their assistance and for the risks they took during the conflict. NATO must look at what it can do to help these states recover and to assure their security in light of the still-undetermined fate of the Milosevic regime.