Examination of Witnesses (Questions 860
WEDNESDAY 17 MAY 2000
860. When we visited you, you gave us an indication
of the bombing figures, the successful hits. Last week, there
was a leaked report, apparently from the US Air Force, with figures
that diverge considerably from the ones that we thought were acceptable
or provable at the time. Can you comment on that?
(Sir John Goulden) I think SACEUR's report, which
was made public, including the methodology on which it was based,
is the best that we are likely to get at NATO, but we all recognise,
as he did, that we shall never be certain about that. There is
a fairly wide margin of uncertainty around that figure of 93 tanks,
861. You put it bluntly.
(Sir John Goulden) We accept that there is a margin
of uncertainty. I do not think that any other figures will stand
up better. The key bottom line is that we bottled up the equipment
that was in Kosovo. It was not used very much from the moment
that we achieved air superiority, regular bombing and good weather.
More importantly, we squeezed and cut off their life blood. We
prevented petroleum getting through and that sort of thingenergy,
communications, bridge connectionsand we cut their life
supply. We bottled up their forces and we hit very hard the 400
or so fixed targets that we set out to hit. The bottom line is
that that was enough.
862. You are not going to comment on the US
Air Force report?
(Sir John Goulden) No. I suspect that that pre-dates
SACEUR's report rather than post-dates it. At NATO we take the
SACEUR report as the best that we are likely to get.
863. The US Air Force carried out most of the
bombing so they would have a good idea.
(Sir John Goulden) But they used a narrow methodology.
SACEUR explained that his broader methodology was using information
from all sources. It depends entirely on the criteria used. How
many confirmations are needed to confirm a hit? You do not need
to find a mangled tank to know that you hit it. Many other criteria
864. Admiral Haddacks, did you feel that the
political objectives were adequately translated into the military
objectives by the start of the campaign?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) Yes, I think so. The key military
objectives perhaps can be divided into two or three. First of
all, in Kosovo itself there was the objective to disrupt and,
where possible, to stop repression. That was translated well into
the air campaign and the target sets in the appropriate phases
of the air campaign. The other main objective, that of coercing
Milosevic, was equally translated into necessary target sets in
the air campaign. So in those terms, I think it was. Perhaps with
hindsight, one military objective that we did not pick up on militarily
was the humanitarian one which we have touched on already. We
were unsighted on that, but the minute that it became a significant
issue, as we know, NATO moved very fast to put in place the necessary
plan. The answer to your question, essentially, is yes.
865. Who was in charge during the operation,
SACEUR and SHAPE, or CINCSOUTH and AFSOUTH?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) The chain of command was very
clear in the plan. SACEUR was in overall command as the strategic
commander. CINCSOUTH was the theatre commander. The air commander
at Air South was responsible to Admiral Ellis in Naples. Mike
Jackson was responsible to Admiral Ellis in Naples and Admiral
Ellis was accountable to SACEUR. That was how it worked. From
a NATO HQ perspective the interlocutor was General Clarke.
866. What about the planning?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) In broad terms the planning
was remitted by the Council to General Clarke and he then subcontracted
down through his command chain. The planning is essentially a
bottom-up process. The detailed air plan was put together at Air
South and then it came up the command chain back to SHAPE and
from SHAPE into NATO headquarters.
867. How did the relationship work between ARRC
HQ and SHAPE/CINCSOUTH?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) I think in respect of NATO
headquarters it worked very effectively, as it should. NATO headquarters
do not have much of a perspective of how it worked below the SHAPE
level. As far as I was concerned, it worked as it was supposed
868. It could not have been as good as that.
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) Of course it was.
869. You must tell us, Admiral. This is the
perfect organisational chart. If it worked perfectly, it will
have been the first time in the history of organisations that
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) The chart maps out exactly
how it is to work. Modern technology makes it a much flatter kind
of organisation than it looks in the hierarchical diagram because
daily, as we know, SACEUR had a video-tele conference with his
commanders. So metaphorically round the table are those three
layers of command. They have a dialogue, decisions are reached
and direction is given. It is much more synthesised perhaps than
the stark diagram would indicate.
870. If you have any additional thoughts on
that perhaps you could drop us a note.
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) Yes.
871. Sir John, things move quite quickly. Were
NATO's planning and decision-making structures able to keep pace
(Sir John Goulden) Yes, they were, mainly because
of what I described as the delegation to Solana. Having agreed
a plan we did not then constantly update it in the Council. We
gave it to the military and Solana helped with the interpretation
of the plan. He was completely up to date with the military. When
they needed fine-tuning or a political issue needed clarification,
they would come to us and get it done on the day because the Council
functioned daily. We kept up to speed because of the briefing
arrangement that I have described which was daily or twice daily.
The consultation was very intense. That helps to explain the speed
with which we were able to go from launching the campaign to going
to phase two, to going to the final targeting decision on 29 March.
By 29 March we had authorised all the powers that the military
needed for the campaign, within six days of starting.
872. Is there anything on which you would improve
(Sir John Goulden) A lot, yes. That is the whole purpose
of profiting from the experience and drawing the lessons. A lot
of NATO's internal procedures need to be improved. Some of NATO's
military planning arrangements need to be improved. The media
structure certainly needs to be improved. I think that is all
in place. Our ability to reach out to partners needs to be improved.
We were not able to warn the partners in advance and lobby them
in advance to get what we needed from them in order to maximise
our impact on Milosevic. There is a whole area of what may be
called NATO's foreign policy that has to be improved. The key
matter that has to be improved is capabilities; not so much frontline
troops and frontline aircraft, but the things that make them into
effective military formations. The whole capabilities initiative
in the European Union and in NATO is absolutely central to this
exercise of learning lessons.
873. I guess that there will be questions about
that later this morning. I want to focus on the command and control
aspects. In future, if there is a crisis of a similar kind, when
would we know that the stage has been reached at which things
should start moving in NATO?
(Sir John Goulden) There are several triggers. Paul
may be able to talk about the military ones. Politically, I think
we should consult from the beginning, even if it is just a political
crisis. We should start military planning as soon as there are
signs that the political strategy is not delivering and there
is an element of a security problem in the crisis that is evolving.
We should make threats as soon as they are useful to advance the
political strategy, but not before. As to when we should mobilise,
I think we should mobilise as soon as we can. We have learned
lessons from this crisis about early mobilisation, but we did
not do badly.
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) We have learned lessons on
the whole operational planning process which in this crisis worked
okay, but were not necessarily completely coherent and joined
up. In the wake of the crisis we have taken a very hard look at
the whole operational planning structure and methodology and we
have decided that there are better ways of doing it. In fact,
NATO has now drawn on UK best practice to set in place the thought
process that starts with a political military estimate, moves
on from that to a planning directive, and then draws out of that
various military options. We practised that process in this year's
crisis exercise 2000 for the first time. There was a much more
joined-up kind of thought process. In the same revision of this
piece of doctrine, we have also put in place methodologies whereby
politically the Council can authorise under NATO auspices the
deployment of enabling forces in advance of any "act-ords"
and so on for the main force. That is an important lesson.
874. Was it a good idea to change the chairman
of the NATO Military Committee a few weeks into the campaign?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) Perhaps in a perfect world
we would not want to do that. I do not believe that it had any
effect on the campaign itself. There was a fairly seamless transition.
The in-coming chairman had been Chief of Defence Italy and had
been tracking the crisis very closely. He was in and around Brussels
for a whole month before he actually slipped into the chair, so
he was fully up to speed and ready. If you are implying that it
was a problem, I do not believe that it was a problem at all.
Chairman: We can ask General Naumann
about that when he comes.
875. Do you think that there are any significant
doctrinal incompatibilities between allies and partners? Do there
need to be any changes to bring the two together?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) There are all kinds of doctrinal
issues that arise out of the whole campaign. They are not so much
doctrinal contradictions, but doctrinal gaps in the whole NATO
doctrine library. NATO has frankly been behind the power curve
in keeping its doctrine close up with its policy and there is
a vast raft of work now in train at the moment in Brussels to
rectify that doctrinal deficiency. Going back to the thrust of
your question of doctrinal differences between allies and partners,
I am not sure whether it can be classified as doctrine, but of
course the majority of NATO nations have been accustomed to the
thought of conducting warfare at the most demanding levels. Many
of the partners have a military tradition that is much closer
to peace support operations at the lower end of the spectrum than
the higher end of the spectrum, so there were not incompatibilities,
but there was a lack of experience and understanding in some of
those areas. Those nations whose forces are essentially conscript-based,
tend to have a different doctrinal approach to the deployment
of forces overseas for other than collective defence needs. Most
nations in that position found ways, through their parliaments,
to overcome those kinds of issues. There is a doctrinal difference
in the mindset between conscript-based armies and professional
armies and the ease of deploying them. Those are being addressed
by the nations concerned.
876. Do you accept that there is quite a lot
of work to be done in those areas?
(Vice-Admiral Haddacks) There is a lot of work to
be done in the overall area of doctrine and in a number of specific
areas. We have touched on operational planning. Civil and military
co-operation is another area. The whole peace support operations
doctrine in a wider sense needs to be worked on further. Doctrine
on information operations needs to be developed further. There
is a broad agenda of work that is under way, and the UK is playing
a major role in a number of key areas. The methodology is that
they have established a doctrine working group in NATO, at which
nations are represented. There are various areas that they have
identified where they require doctrinal work, lead nations have
been nominated and the UK is a lead nation in a number of those
areas, including peace support operations as a single overarching
877. I have some questions on ground forces,
but first I have a supplementary to an earlier question. On battle
damage assessment relating to the Yugoslav forces in the field
as opposed to the infrastructure side, looking at the breakdown
of Wesley Clarke's assessment, which I understand has now been
made public, they claim that less than 15% of all strikes were
on dummies and only around 10% of strikes have been claimed by
more than one pilot. The second is out of line with every previous
war since air power was invented and the first is certainly grossly
more optimistic than we now reckon about the Gulf. Why do you
think that General Clarke's assessment should suddenly show that
we can be so much more optimistic in both those areas compared
with any previous assessment of any previous war, or indeed previous
assessments of Kosovo?
(Sir John Goulden) I do not have the expertise to
answer that question. I do not think anybody else in the NATO
Council has. All I can say is that General Clarke's methodology,
approach and results are the best that we are likely to get in
NATO. Everybody would recognise that it will not be a definitive
answer and cannot be definitive.
878. Do you know of any independent analytical
organisation that does not think that he is grossly over-optimistic?
(Sir John Goulden) I do not know of another body that
is in a position to comment, except on historical evidence. Of
course, each campaign is different. There is only one body that
is in the position to bring together all sorts of information
from the highest classification to the lowest, and then put it
together and try to form a conscientious judgment. The figure
that he put forward was a significant reduction from the figures
that had been mentioned immediately at the end of the campaign.
I think it was a conscientious effort to get it about right. I
do not think we shall improve upon it. It shows that it was easier
for us to hit fixed targets of a strategic nature to persuade
Milosevic, than it was to hit targets that were moving on the
ground in Kosovo. We knew that from the beginning. The bottom
line is that we bottled them up and that was enough.
879. I hear what you say. Was active planning
for an opposed ground forces entry under way by the middle of
(Sir John Goulden) Planning in a general sense started
in June 1998. Solana said that in public, I think on 11 June.
After the defence ministers meeting he announced that we were
doing planning, including for deployment into Kosovo. In the summer
of that year, 1998, we received initial planning and military
advice about what would be required for a forced entry and what
would be required for a semi-forced entry. The next crucial date
was 21 or 22 April, just before the Washington summit, when Solana
said, with the Council's agreement, that he had directed the military
to update all their plans, and that included ground force plans.