Examination of Witnesses (Questions 600
WEDNESDAY 10 MAY 2000
600. Was all the intelligence and information
freely exchanged? Did you have any difficulty with that at all?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) On the intelligence side,
no. As I have said, I was well served. No complaints.
601. So you believe that no nations withheld
any information whatsoever?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) I have no way of knowing
that. If they withheld it, I would not know about it presumably.
602. Even after the event?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) I have no knowledge of
nations being squirrel-like with information privy to them.
(Major General Reith) My experience is very much the
same. Clearly, all of the nations have access to what is going
on in Brussels, they have the same at SHAPE, and in my own headquarters,
which was a NATO common funded headquarters, with 14 nations represented,
my planning staff was headed by a German, with three other nations
involved, one of them being British, and again, within my headquarters
there is a senior representative from each of the nations represented,
and they are at liberty, obviously on a secure basis, to pass
information back to their own masters within their ministries
of defence. Also, if anybody was unhappy with what we were doing,
we would get the message back through the individual saying, "Can
we look at this again?" So it is a free-flowing process,
and it works very well.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Could I just add something?
It is not strictly relevant to the question, but for the avoidance
of doubt, I have explained the structure of the headquarters of
the Rapid Reaction Corps. If I may, because I once served in it,
the headquarters of the Allied Mobile Force (Land), which John
commanded at the time, is not a framework nation headquarters.
It is multinational right across, and the commander varies nation
to nation in a rotational way. It was the way the cards come off
the pack that we had another British officer commanding another
deployed NATO force last year.
(Major General Reith) It is a six-nation rotation.
I took over from an American and I handed over to a Canadian.
603. Whatever happened to ARRC South? Had there
been one in existence, would that have changed the planning process?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) That is a very interesting
question. After the ARRC's deployment to Bosnia in 1996 to which
I have already referred, NATO did not find it easy to put together
a successor headquarters for IFOR, now SFOR in Sarajevo. Dare
I say it, I think also it was noted that the ARRC was well organised,
well trained, well set up to go and do that job. Imitation being
the sincerest form of flattery and all that, there was quite a
mood in NATO in 1997, looking back on that first year of Bosnian
deployment, that we needed another Rapid Reaction headquarters
pitched at this level, but of course, it takes a lot to put something
like that together, and I would arguenot all would, but
I wouldthat the complexity of it is such and the support
required is such that it would be extremely difficult to achieve
it without a framework nation approach, but that means you need
a framework nation. I think people were beginning to look to France
during 1997 as a possible candidate for a lead nation role in
a second Rapid Reaction Corps, but of course, at Madrid at the
end of that year France decided against reintegration into the
military structure, so the issue somewhat went away. Now it has
re-emerged because the ARRC went off again, and once more, it
was not easy to put together a successor headquarters. NATO is,
of course, now right in the middle of a force structure review,
and it would not surprise me at all if there is now a formal statement
of a desire to have a second or even a third Rapid Reaction Corps
604. In conclusion on this section, in terms
of international planning and co-operation at this early stage,
either we did not ask the right questions or you are being incredibly
diplomatic orwhat I hope everything worked really
brilliantly. Do you have the slightest reservations about the
way the structures were set up in this very early stage of what
was to become a conflict?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Are we talking about before
605. Yes. If you had your time over again, would
you have advised things to be done rather differently, at this
very early stage?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) It is very difficult to
give you a concrete example where I do think we ought to have
taken a different road or whatever. I am speaking for myself and
my own headquarters here. We come to October, to the first crescendo,
which resulted in Mr Holbrooke arriving in his usual spectacular
style, and coming back from Belgrade with his agreement for the
unarmed monitors under the OSCE. Perhaps with hindsight one might
have said that this could only buy a certain amount of time, that
this could not be in any way a lasting solution, because unarmed
monitors at the end of the day can only act as moderators, as
dampeners down. They cannot actually themselves coerce behaviour.
But equally well in October 1998 there was not the collective
political will to go further than that. It may sound complacentI
hope notbut looking back, it is very difficult to see how
things might have gone another way, or even that we would have
wished them to go another way at that point.
(Major General Reith) I think that the prudent planning
began in a timely way. We had the baseline detail we needed for
further planning, and we had obviously a moving target through
1998 and into 1999, and we had to keep adapting estimates for
different tasks that might come up. But in the circumstances,
I think it went extremely well.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) I would perhaps add, Chairman,
that once the Holbrooke deal was done, my own headquarters came
off the immediate hook as a result. We then, as was already planned,
engaged in a very ambitious war fighting rather than peace implementation
exercise, which we had been wondering whether to do or not, and
Kosovo slightly went on the back burner as far as we were concerned,
but obviously we tracked it extremely carefully and watched it.
When it came to January and it became clear that the situation
was deteriorating, and of course, we had the perhaps watershed
event of the Racak massacre, it was actually very simple indeed
just to change gear back upwards and take it from there.
606. Can I take you back to the period before
October 1998 and the contingency planning. Can I first of all
ask what conclusions you drew from that planning.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) The conclusions of the
plan or from the planning process?
607. You tell me about both.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) I am not quite sure what
you are driving at. Could you help me?
608. What I am driving at is, as you went through
this process, you talked about moving targets. As you were drawing
out your conclusions, did you come to a particular point where
you thought, "This is what we need to do"?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Yes. Certainly by summer
leave in 1998 we had a draft structure, we had a draft plan. There
were many variables which we had not pinned down at that stage,
of course, because we did not know what they were going to be.
In terms of a conceptual approach, what the tasks were, what forces
would be needed to do that, how we would go about our business,
where the flashpoints may be, all of this work we did and we had
a draft and fairly detailed plan, as I say, by the time of summer
609. The North Atlantic Council had made a decision
earlier that year. General Clark had asked Major General Reith
to go in May. When you had made your assessment, did you have
a view that what you were being asked to do was practical? Was
it what the politicians, the political side, NATO, was actually
requiring, or did you think that you needed to go much further
(General Sir Mike Jackson) No. As I said, the focus
for 1998and indeed, it remained that until perhaps May
of last yearwas how to put together and how to operate
a peace implementation force which would put into effect whatever
agreement may be achieved between the various parties involved
in the Kosovo conflict, and that is what we did. I do not think
I can add anything to that. I think I am missing the point. I
am very sorry.
610. Can I try some other questions. How much
did you engage in operational analysis and war-gaming to test
the validity of the conclusions that you were coming to before
you presented them?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) It is difficult to war-game
in that sense a peace support operation, because, by definition,
there is no enemy as such, neither is ground of itself of importance,
as it is on a conventional battlefield. You are actually operating
amongst people's perceptions, people's attitudes. That is your
operational arena, not a piece of ground with a conventional enemy.
It is quite hard to war-game it in the sort of statistical way
which you can do for a straight war fight. That said, the ARRC
has within its headquarters an operational analysis branch of
about six people, if I remember rightly, who are equipped with
the right information technology and certain computer programmes
so that they can go through, so far as it is possible, an empirical
test of whatever plan you set out. That is much easier to do,
as I say, for a conventional fight than it is for a peace support
operation, but there are ways that one can test it to some extent,
and of course we did. We also exercised ourselves through this
during that summer.
611. When did you present your conclusions and
to whom did you present them?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Our findings on the force
structure, task concept, all of thatI cannot remember distinctly,
but I have used the phrase "comfortably before summer leave
in 1998", and I imagine summer leave was August or thereabouts.
The way we take leave at the Headquarters is in two halves, so
you always have a foot on the ground. We would have presented
them both to SHAPE and to Allied Forces South in Naples.
612. How many military options did you come
up with in those conclusions? Could you tell us what they were?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) We came to a single plan.
As you come towards the end of the estimate process, what comes
out are a number of courses of action.
613. How many were there?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Within the context of a
peace implementation forceI think we are at cross-purposes.
There are ways of doing things, but what is to be done does not
change, and I have to reiterate that what was to be done was to
put a peace implementation force into Kosovo to carry out whatever.
We did not have an agreement at that stage, so we did not know
what the terms of the agreement were, but we were using some collective
experience from Bosnia, and thinking how it may modify itself
in Kosovo. In terms of courses of action, it was a matter of whether
we put in a two-star level of command, a divisional level of command,
whether we did or did not follow administrative boundaries, whether
we re-jigged the size of the force in a different command and
control way, but this, frankly, is in-house business. It is not
a strategic choice in the way I think you are pushing me.
614. You did not come up with a conclusion that
said, "There are different things we could do. We could go
this way, we could go that way. Our advice is that we go this
way, but nevertheless there are alternative ways to do this"?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) No, I do not think so,
because within the planning task at that stage there is not that
amount of strategic choice. We talked about where we would lay
down the logistics. Would we come in through Albania or come in
through northern Greece and FYROM? That was a very clear choice
to be made. But in terms of what we were about, the overall mission,
615. Can I move on. What numbers and types of
forces did you state that you would require to execute your plan?
That is a question for either of you or both of you.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Again, as I have said,
we have this rigorous intellectual process, which is designed
to give you the answers you need. I have already said that we
pitched a force level against the potential mission which we believed
was proper to do the job: about 25,000 divided into five brigades.
That was the answer. What we did not know were aspects like whether
we were going to have to do border security, whether the operational
area would extend into northern Albania for the single force.
Until those questions were answered, because they would involve
a different force level, you could only say, "If you want
us to do that as well, this will need this bit more."
616. How much more would that have involved?
(General Sir Mike Jackson) For northern Albania? I
think we were looking for a further brigade of three battalions,
if my memory serves me correctly.
617. In which countries did you envisage that
it would be necessary to deploy your forces? You have mentioned
(General Sir Mike Jackson) We looked at Albania, we
looked at northern Greece. I have gone through that logistic process
over the logistic carpet. If this is what you are pushing me into,
other than a look at the map, we did not look at Romania or Bulgaria
as a possible line of communication. You can deploy through the
Black Sea ports, but frankly, you have further to go, you have
the Bosphorus, with all the sensitivities of that particular waterway.
618. We tried that once. It did not work.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Chairman, Turkey was and
still is, I believe, a NATO ally.
619. I am going back further than that.
(General Sir Mike Jackson) Those obviously were discounted.