Bosnia and Kosovo: U.S. Military Operations
CRS Report for Congress
Bosnia and Kosovo: U.S. Military Operations
February 16, 2004
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Bosnia and Kosovo: U.S. Military Operations
With the on-going requirements of U.S. military operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the continuing peacekeeping deployments in the Balkans have come
under congressional scrutiny to determine whether or not they could be safely
reduced or terminated. This report examines the history and current status of U.S.
military operations in the Balkans, and will be updated as events warrant.
In Paris on December 14, 1995, the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia
signed the peace settlement negotiated in Dayton, OH (Dayton Accords). The United
Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1031 authorized the NATO-led
implementation force (IFOR) for one year. On December 12, 1996, the Security
Council authorized a follow-on force, dubbed the Stabilization Force (SFOR). This
authorization has been renewed annually. In March 1998, the NATO allies agreed
that SFOR will remain in Bosnia until significant progress has been made in the
implementation of the Dayton Accords.
SFOR is now a force of about 12,000 troops. The U.S. contingent has been
about 1,800. It will be reduced to 800 by summer 2004, and probably withdrawn by
2005 when the European Union is expected to take over peacekeeping duties from
NATO. U.S. forces have suffered no fatal casualties from hostile action in Bosnia.
SFOR continues the mission of monitoring and enforcing demilitarized zones and
weapon cantonment. These efforts have been credited a success. NATO commanders
have lent assistance to civilian authorities in their efforts to create a stable political
environment (e.g., detaining war crimes suspects, and providing support for elections
and limited assistance for refugees).
In Kosovo, with the failure of peace talks on March 24, 1999 NATO began
Operation Allied Force airstrikes against targets in Serbia and Kosovo. In June
Yugoslavia accepted a peace proposal and signed a military-technical agreement with
NATO providing for the withdrawal of all Yugoslav forces from Kosovo and turning
military control of the province over to NATO’s peacekeeping forces (KFOR). U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1244 endorsed the peace settlement and “an
international security presence with substantial NATO participation.” It is expected
that NATO forces will remain in Kosovo until its political status is resolved.
KFOR totals about 20,000 troops in Kosovo, with the United States contributing
about 2,100 troops. The U.S. has suffered no casualties from hostile action.
Congress has appropriated approximately $23.5 billion for Bosnia and Kosovo
operations from FY1992 through FY2004.
Congressional concerns have focused on the impact of Balkan operations on 1)
military readiness and the ability to maintain military operations in Iraq, 2) whether
there has been an equitable distribution of responsibilities among the NATO allies
and 3) if the United States needs to participate in Balkan peacekeeping operations at
U.S. and Allied Participation in Bosnia Peacekeeping (IFOR/SFOR).........1
Duration of NATO Bosnia Operations.........................3
IFOR/SFOR Force Components..............................5
U.S. and Allied Peacekeeping in Kosovo...............................6
NATO Offensive Military Operations..............................7
The Air Campaign (Operation Allied Force).....................8
Ground Force Operations — KFOR (Operation Joint Guardian)...11
U.S. and Allied Force Contributions..........................12
Costs of Operation Allied Force/Joint Guardian................13
Considerations for Congress ........................................14
World Wide Web Sites........................................15
List of Tables
Table 1. DOD Incremental Cost of Bosnia Operations, FY1992-2002.........5
Bosnia and Kosovo: U.S. Military Operations
In the 1990's nationalist aspirations among the ethnic populations of Yugoslavia
led to declarations of independence by Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
These were opposed by the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav central government in
Belgrade, and by the Serb populations of these provinces. Though Slovenia
maintained its independence without significant military confrontations, and Croatia
successfully expelled Serb forces in a short military campaign, Bosnia was the site
of several years of internecine warfare among Bosnian, Serb, and Croatian militias.
Following the failure of United Nations peacekeeping forces to quiet the warring
factions, the increasing instability led the United States and its NATO allies to
intervene directly, resulting in the Dayton Peace Accords and their enforcement by
NATO military forces in 1995.
In 1998, the Serbian province of Kosovo saw an independence movement arise
among the ethnic Albanians who composed 80% of the province’s population.
Subsequent Serbian counter-insurgency operations against Kosovo’s civilian
population engendered wide-spread concern among NATO members, culminating
in NATO’s first offensive military operations. Almost two months of air strikes
eventually brought the Serbian government to accept an end to its military presence
in Kosovo and the introduction of NATO ground forces to enforce a peace
NATO deployments in both Bosnia and Kosovo have generally been heralded
as successes. Active hostilities have been ended, some reductions of military
equipment have been undertaken, and nationalist militias have been disbanded. The
number of NATO troops deployed has been steadily reduced, and the international
community has undertaken to establish the civil governmental institutions necessary
for greater political stability in both regions.
U.S. and Allied Participation in Bosnia
Before February 1993, the Clinton Administration steadfastly refused to
contribute ground forces to UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia. It then
adopted a policy to provide troops to oversee implementation of an overall peace
settlement. With the 1994 peace negotiations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in
Dayton OH, Administration officials began to lay out their rationale and initial
planning for U.S. participation in a NATO-led peace implementation force (IFOR)
for Bosnia. Administration officials argued that U.S. participation with ground
forces was necessary for two main reasons: 1) the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serb
negotiators all made U.S. ground force participation a condition of their accepting
any peace settlement; and 2) U.S. participation was necessary for the United States
to maintain a leadership position in NATO. President Clinton subsequently
emphasized a moral responsibility to aid in ending the savagery of the Bosnian
On December 14, 1995, the Presidents of Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia signed a
peace agreement in Paris. In brief, the military elements of the agreement, in addition
to establishing IFOR and granting it full authority and freedom of movement to
enforce the agreement, called for: 1) withdrawal of forces behind cease-fire lines
within 30 days, with a demilitarized zone (DMZ) of four kilometers; 2) withdrawal
of heavy weapons and personnel to barracks; 3) provision of information on
personnel, weaponry, and landmines; 4) arms reduction negotiations under the
auspices of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE). All
these objectives have been completed.
To enforce the military provisions of the Dayton agreements, NATO sent the
Intervention Force or (IFOR), which comprised approximately 54,000 ground troops
in Bosnia proper. That force designation lasted until December 20, 1996, when it
was changed to Stabilization Force (SFOR). This reflected the decision by NATO’s
members that the Bosnia deployment should not have a specified end-date, but rather
that its duration would be tied to successful accomplishment of Dayton Peace Accord
provisions. Though the SFOR operations have U.N. Security Council authorization,
there is no “dual-key” command relationship with the United Nations.
SFOR’s mission, as defined by NATO HQ, is “to provide a continued military
presence in order to deter renewed hostilities, stabilize and consolidate the peace, and
thus contribute to a secure environment and provide and maintain broad support for
civil implementation plans.” To accomplish this mission, NATO has identified key
military and supporting tasks, as follows. Key military tasks are:
!Maintain a deterrent military presence.
!Prevent major hostilities or removal of weapons from cantonment.
!Operate the Joint Military Committees.
!Contribute to a secure environment for civil organizations to carry
out their responsibilities.
!Ensure force protection and freedom of movement.
!Ensure compliance with the cease-fire and the demilitarized Zone of
!Monitor and enforce compliance with the military aspects of the
!Enforce the rules and procedures covering Bosnia-Herzegovina
Among key supporting tasks, to be undertaken within the capabilities and at the
discretion of SFOR, are:
!Provide, on a case-by-case basis, support to the High Commissioner.
!Support the implementation of the arbitration decision concerning
the contested Brcko Corridor. Support the conduct of elections and
installation of elected officials.
!Support the return of displaced persons, but not forcibly return them
or guard specific locations.
!Support the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal, the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the
International Police Task Force.
Supporting tasks have become the primary focus for SFOR operations, given
that the military provisions of the Dayton Accords continue to be observed. The
International War Crimes Tribunal requested and received protection for its
investigators and for suspected war crimes sites. SFOR also agreed to detain
suspected war criminals, if encountered, but until late 1997 declined to participate in
pursuit operations. This refusal to take more effective action to apprehend suspected
war criminals led to continued criticism from the War Crimes Tribunal and human
rights advocates. Those who favored greater action stressed the importance of
supporting the International War Crimes Tribunal and the destabilizing influence of
Karadzic and other Serb and Croat extremists. Since 1997, SFOR has played a more
active role in detaining indicted suspects. Additional detentions and voluntary
surrenders, perhaps encouraged by NATO’s greater involvement, have resulted in
over half of those indicted for war crimes currently being in custody. Former
Bosnian Serb leaders Karadzic and Mladic, however, remain at large.
Duration of NATO Bosnia Operations. In late 1996, the lack of progress
in civilian reconstruction and continued friction among the ethnic factions, including
within the Muslim-Croat Federation, led to the widespread belief that some NATO
military force would be required beyond IFOR’s December 20, 1996 mandate. These
concerns led NATO’s political leaders to authorize the Stabilization Force (SFOR)
in December, 1996, to last until June 1998. By the end of 1997, there was little
optimism that Bosnia would have a viable national state or economy by that time.1
Fragile government institutions and continued ethnic antagonisms lead most
observers to believe that an international military force of substantial size will be
necessary in Bosnia for perhaps years, if further internecine warfare is to be averted.
Some, such the former High Representative Carl Bildt, have suggested the permanent
stationing of NATO troops in Bosnia because they believe the region’s conflict to be
the single greatest threat to contemporary European security, and hence should be a
long-term NATO concern. While not accepting this position, in March 1998, NATO
foreign ministers re-authorized SFOR, and tied the duration of its deployment to the
achievement of specified benchmarks of success in implementing the Dayton
NATO leaders hope that tying withdrawal to demonstrable political and
administrative progress will encourage more widespread cooperation in
implementing the Accords. Those who endorse an extended SFOR believe that a
return to ethnic warfare in Bosnia holds greater dangers for U.S. security interests
than the prospect of continued U.S. deployments in the region. They also point out
that Bosnia is the type of mission for which NATO is supposedly shaping its forces
1 Bosnia Peace Operations: Progress Toward Achieving the Dayton Agreement’s Goals,
GAO/NSAID-97-132, May 1997, and its update, GAO/T-NSIAD-97-216, July 17, 1997.
after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and the inability or unwillingness to bring a
lasting peace to Bosnia would bring NATO’s credibility into question.
Some of those opposing extended operations in Bosnia question whether the
Dayton Accords are, in fact, a workable basis for Bosnia’s future, and suggest they
are rather a settlement internationally imposed with inadequate indigenous support.
There has been a concern in Congress about the United States being drawn into a
military commitment without a foreseeable end. Reflecting this, the FY1999 DOD
Authorization Act (P.L. 105-261) contained several “sense of the Congress”
provisions, and established extensive reporting requirements for both the President
and the Secretary of Defense regarding Bosnia operations. Among these provisions
!1)U.S. ground forces should not remain in Bosnia indefinitely, and
that the President should work with SFOR nations to allow the U.S.
to withdraw its ground forces; 2) a NATO-led force, without U.S.
ground troops, might be suitable for continued operations, and the
United States might supply intelligence and logistical support, and
a “ready reserve force in the region”.
!Semiannual presidential reports providing: 1) the expected duration
of deployment; 2) the percentage of Dayton Accord “benchmarks”
achieved and the time for completion of those remaining; 3) the
status of the paramilitary police force; 4) a detailed discussion of the
specific missions undertaken by U.S. forces, including cost estimates
and an assessment of the risks involved; 5) a joint assessment by the
Secretaries of Defense and State of the planning for European
assumption of SFOR operations.
Costs. Each nation contributing to IFOR/SFOR bears the cost of its own
deployment and operations. Prior to IFOR/SFOR, DOD carried out air support and
maritime intercept operations in conjunction with U.N. peace-keeping efforts and the
U.N. arms embargo. FY1996 saw the introduction of U.S. ground forces into Bosnia,
and the consequent increase in incremental costs reflected in Table 1. The term
“incremental costs” refers to those costs over and above those of normal day-to-day
DOD peacetime operations.
These costs have been covered through a combination of DOD annual budget
appropriations, supplemental appropriations, transfers between budget accounts, and
re-programmings within DOD Operations & Maintenance and Military Personnel
accounts. To remain within the limits of the balanced budget agreement, the
supplemental appropriations have been sometimes offset by reductions in other
elements of the DOD budget. The Administration requested that the FY1998/FY1999
funding for Bosnia be “emergency” appropriations, which under the balanced budget
agreement raised the cap on both defense spending and total discretionary spending.
The Administration justified this on the grounds that Bosnia costs were not included
in the calculations for the balanced budget agreement. For the previous three years,
however, Congress had directed that the costs of military operations in Bosnia be
provided within the annual caps for defense spending. Departing from this position,
the FY1999 DOD Authorization Act granted the emergency appropriations status. It
capped spending of FY1999 funds for Bosnia operations at $1,858,600,000, thus
prohibiting DOD from exceeding Administration-projected expenditures without
congressional action. The FY1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277)
provided the Administration’s full supplemental request for Bosnia operations as an
emergency appropriation. Funding for Bosnia for FY2000 and FY2001 was provided
through normal appropriations to the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund, as
indicated in Table 1.
Beginning with the FY2002 budget, both the Bosnia and Kosovo operations are
no longer funded through the Overseas Contingency Fund, but rather through the
individual service budgets.
Table 1. DOD Incremental Cost of Bosnia Operations,
(in $ millions)
SF OR/IFOR Re l a t e d Tot a l
FY1992 — 5.8 5.8
FY1993 — 138.8 138.8
FY1994 — 292.0 292.0
FY1995 — 347.4 347.4
FY1996 2,231.7 288.3 2,520.0
FY1997 2,087.5 195.0 2,282.5
FY1998 1,792.8 169.9 1,962.7
FY1999 1,382.5 155.4 1,537.9
FY2000 1,381.7 101.2 1,482.9
FY2001 1,400.0 N/A 1,400.0
FY2002 932.9 N/A 932.9
FY2003 930.7 N/A 930.7
FY2004 913.0 N/A 913.0
Total 13,052.8 1,694.3 15,373.6
Source: Department of Defense
* Other Bosnia-related Operations include: Able Sentry (Macedonia preventative deployment), Deny
Flight/Decisive Edge/Deliberate Forge (air support), Sharp Guard (maritime intercept), and Provide
Promise (humanitarian relief).
IFOR/SFOR Force Components. DOD has scheduled the major unit
rotations for SFOR through May 2005, should the deployment last that long. Six of
the eight 6-month long rotations will be commanded by National Guard Divisions,
and all will include National Guard and/or Army Reserve units. The parent units
The current U.S. SFOR contingent in Bosnia is about 1,800. U.S. forces are
headquartered in the Tuzla area in eastern Bosnia. British forces are headquartered
in central Bosnia at Gornii Vakuf, and French forces in Mostar. Other national
contingents are subordinated to these three major commands, all of which serve
under a NATO commander, who is based in Sarajevo. The full Stabilization Force
numbers about 12,000 troops.
The troop requirements for Iraq military operations have intensified pressure to
speed the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and encourage the European NATO allies to
assume full responsibility for Bosnia operations, with the U.S. supplying intelligence,
logistical, and other support — but no ground troops. The NATO allies have
responded that by pointing out that non-U.S. forces currently comprise almost 80%
of SFOR. They further emphasize that continued U.S. presence in the Balkans is
fundamental to the continuance of the operations. The Bush Administration has
indicated that, although there will be no unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the Balkans,
consultations regarding continued U.S. participation will be on-going with the NATO
allies. Discussions among NATO defense ministers in February have indicated that
the number of SFOR troops will be reduced by about one-third during 2004, and that
it is now expected that the European Union (EU) will assume responsibility for
Bosnian peacekeeping operations in 2005. The EU contingent will comprise both
military and police personnel, and is likely to be somewhat smaller than SFOR.
U.S. and Allied Peacekeeping in Kosovo
Once an autonomous province of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo has a 90%
ethnic Albanian population. It nevertheless holds an emotional place in Serbian
nationalist tradition. As part of his nationalist program, Yugoslav President
Milosevic revoked Kosovo’s autonomous status, putting it under control of the
Serbian-dominated Belgrade government. An armed ethnic Albanian resistance
movement developed, led by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army. The Belgrade
government responded in early 1998 with counter-insurgency operations, with
Yugoslav military ground units and aircraft destroying villages, and executing
civilians suspected of supporting the insurgents.
In 1998, NATO political leaders turned their attention to the Kosovo region
because of the flow of refugees into Western Europe and Albania (itself destabilized
by regional uprisings in 1997), and concerns about the conflict spilling over into the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). FYROM, an independent
nation bordering Kosovo to the southeast, also has a large Albanian population
alienated from its central government.
In May 1998, the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s governing body, directed
accelerated assessment of “a full range of options with the mission of halting or
disrupting a systematic campaign of violent repression in Kosovo.” Options
considered included; 1) preventative deployments in Albania and FYROM to
stabilize the borders; 2) declaration of no-fly/no tank zones in Kosovo and
enforcement of them with NATO air forces; 3) direct military intervention either
through airstrikes or ground troops deployments; and 4) peacekeeping deployments
in the event of a political resolution.
On September 24, 1998, NATO defense ministers authorized an “activation
warning” for limited air strikes and a phased air campaign in Kosovo. On October 12,
NATO defense ministers authorized an “activation order,” placing the necessary
forces under the NATO command. The following day, it was announced that U.S.
envoy Richard Holbrooke had negotiated an agreement with Serbian leader Milosevic
that postponed the threat of airstrikes if the Serbian government 1) would reduce its
troops and security forces in Kosovo to “pre-crisis” levels; 2) permit unarmed NATO
reconnaissance flights over Kosovo; 3) accede to an international force of 2,000
unarmed civilian monitors to oversee the ceasefire; and 4) begin meaningful
negotiations towards Kosovar autonomy.
Meaningful negotiations never took place, owing to recalcitrance on both sides,
and sporadic violence continued, with increasing reports of Serbian executions of
Albanian civilians. NATO allies were concerned over the escalating violence and its
possible spread to other areas of the Balkans. On January 30, 1999, the NATO allies
authorized Secretary-General Solana to order airstrikes anywhere in Yugoslavia, if
the warring Serb and Albanian factions had not reached a peace settlement by
February 20. The “Contact Group,” an informal forum of representatives from the
United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia dealing with
Balkan crises, devised a framework for a peace settlement. They did not wish to
encourage continued fighting for Kosovar independence, but rather sought a
settlement that would restore Kosovo’s autonomy within Yugoslavia. However, the
Serb government did not agree to the framework, the so-called Rambouillet
Agreement, and the talks adjourned.
NATO Offensive Military Operations
During March 1999, Yugoslav Army and paramilitary Ministry of Interior
troops moved out of garrison in Kosovo in violation of the October agreement, and
about 20,000 additional Serb troops massed at the northern Kosovo border. With
violence against ethnic Albanian civilians escalating, on March 24, NATO began
airstrikes against targets in Serbia and Kosovo. These airstrikes were the first military
offensive action undertaken by NATO without specific U.N. endorsement. U.N.
Security Council approval was not sought because both Russia and China, each with
veto power on the Council, opposed the use of force to resolve the Kosovo crisis. The
September 23, 1998 U.N. Security Council resolution, which called for the
immediate withdrawal of Serbian security forces from Kosovo, did, however,
reference the U.N. Charter’s Article VII, which permits military force to maintain
NATO defined five conditions for ending its air campaign:
!Cessation of Serb operations against the Albanians in Kosovo;
!Withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo;
!Acceptance of Kosovar democratic self-government;
!Acceptance of a NATO-led peacekeeping force; and
!Return of Kosovar refugees.
On May 6, 1999, at the G-8 economic summit, another set of principles for a
peace settlement were agreed upon by the United States, the United Kingdom,
France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, and Russia. These G-8 principles were:
!Immediate end to the violence.
!Withdrawal of all Yugoslav military and other security forces.
!Deployment of UN- endorsed international civil and security
!Interim international administration with U.N. Security Council
!Return of all refugees, and access for aid organizations.
!Substantial self-government for Kosovo.
!Economic development of the region.
On June 4,1999, the Yugoslav government accepted the provisions of the G-8
peace plan, and on June 9 NATO and Yugoslav military officials signed a Military-
Technical Agreement (MTA) which provided for the phased withdrawal of all
Yugoslav forces form Kosovo by June 20, 1999, and detailed the authority of the
KFOR commander to enforce the peace agreement with all means necessary. On
June 10, 1999, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution (No. 2580),
endorsing the peace-keeping mission under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.
The Air Campaign (Operation Allied Force). On March 24, 1999, NATO
began air operations, code-named Operation Allied Force, against targets primarily
in Serbia and Kosovo. DOD defined the mission as attacking the Yugoslav military
infrastructure with the objective of deterring future attacks on Albanian Kosovars and
degrading the ability of Yugoslav forces to carry out these operations. Target
selection focused on airfields, air defense and communication centers, military
barracks, and some equipment production facilities. Attacks then extended to
logistical support facilities and lines of resupply, Yugoslav ground forces in Kosovo,
and the national electrical and television systems. In total, NATO aircraft flew over
launching about 23,000 munitions.
NATO HQ acknowledged that the air campaign did not impede the Serb
operations to drive the Albanian population from Kosovo. The inability to stop Serb
operations brought strong criticism of the decision to launch the air campaign while
completely ruling out any use of ground forces. Aside from official NATO and
Administration spokesmen, few, if any, observers believed that air power alone could
achieve the desired objectives. Press reports indicated that NATO political leaders
were cautioned of an air campaign’s potential shortfalls, but believed that their
domestic public opinion would not support a ground invasion of Kosovo. It was then
perceived as a choice between “do nothing” or proceed with air strikes. Some also
suggested that in the wake of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, some advocates have
overemphasized the capabilities of air power, encouraging the belief that ground
forces are no longer as crucial to achieving military objectives.
There was also criticism that “command by committee” hampered NATO
military leaders’ ability to wage an effective, rapidly responsive campaign. Target
lists, weapons used, and forces deployed were all subject to prior approval by all
NATO governments. This slowed decision-making, constrained operations, and
sometimes emphasized political over military considerations. However, NATO
officials maintain that SACEUR received all resources requested, and emphasized
that this consensual process was critical to ensuring the cohesion of the alliance. A
more fundamental criticism is that the air campaign’s actual objective from the start
was political, not military — i.e., to bring President Milosevic back to the bargaining
table. This, in turn, contributed to a constrained, incremental approach to targeting.
After the air operation, U.S. Secretary of Defense Cohen, NATO’s Supreme
Allied Commander, Europe Gen. Wesley Clark, and the Chairman of NATO’s
Military Committee Gen. Klaus Naumann all recommended that NATO’s decision-
making processes for conducting a military campaign be examined and, in some way,
streamlined. None, however, offered specific suggestions, noting that any changes
made would have to gain and sustain acceptance by all NATO members. NATO’s
current structure and procedures were created to deal with homeland defense against
invasion. Out-of-area operations like Allied Force present different political
constraints and military requirements. Some have suggested greater delegation of
authority to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe once the alliance has
made the decision to carry out a military operation. However, within an alliance of
democracies which maintains full consensus as a fundamental principle, this
approach has not achieved acceptance. In addressing this issue, Gen. Clark
emphasized that, structural reforms aside, “there has to be a strong political
consensus founded on a common perception of military doctrine to overcome the
obstacles we hit in the air campaign”. 2 In responding to the critics of the air
campaign, Gen. Naumann has noted that NATO planned for a limited operation
from the outset, and made this fact public, while President Milosevic “planned for
a war.” Naumann also observed that NATO threatened military action, without
having a consensus on how it would be carried out, thereby precluding its military
commanders’ use of “overwhelming force from the beginning.” 3
In the wake of the Yugoslav acceptance of NATO peace conditions, supporters
of reliance upon NATO airpower believe they have been vindicated in their
approach. They emphasize that NATO sustained no combat fatalities in the course
of the 78-day campaign, and that the complete withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from
Kosovo was achieved. The air campaign’ critics, however, point to the fact that it did
2 Testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee, July 20, 1999.
3 “ Naumann on Kosovo”, Defense News, July 20, 1999. P. 1
not prevent the temporary expulsion of almost the entire Albanian population of
The Department of Defense Joint Staff provided the following statistical
summary of the 78-day air campaign:
Total sorties: 37,200
!U.S.: 23,208 (62%)
!Allies: 13,992 (38%)
Strike sorties: 9,500
!U.S.: 5,035 (53%)
!Allies: 4,465 (47%)
Intelligence/reconnaissance sorties: 1,200
!U.S.: 948 (79%)
!Allies: 252 (21%)
Support sorties: 26,500
!U.S.: 17,225 (65%)
!Allies: 9,275 (35%)
On October 14, 2000, Secretary Cohen and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
General Shelton provided the Senate Armed Services Committee with DOD’s initial
“lessons learned” observations.4 Among the issues addressed, were the following:
!Parallel U.S. and NATO command and control structures
complicated operational planning and maintenance of unity of
command. Disparities between U.S. capabilities and those of allies,
including precision strike, mobility, and command, control, and
communications capabilities impeded U.S. ability to operate at
optimal effectiveness with NATO allies.
!DOD needs to develop options for earlier and more efficient use of
its reserve forces.
!DOD systems for planning and executing transportation of its forces
were strained by the rapidly evolving requirements.
!The heavy commitment of NATO’s air defense suppression forces
indicates the need to find innovative and affordable ways to exploit
our technological skills in electronic combat.
!Success using the latest generation of air-delivered munitions
systems in Kosovo validates plans to increase inventories.
!Task Force Hawk (U.S. ground troops in Albania) pointed out the
need to regularly experiment with the independent use of key
elements of all of our forces without their usual supporting
!Improved unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mission planning,
improved processes for interaction between UAV operators and
4 Department of Defense, Report to Congress: Kosovo/Operation Allied Force After-Action
Report, January 31, 2000.
manned aircraft, frequent and realistic training opportunities, and
equipment upgrades for individual UAVs all would benefit force
!Humanitarian operations highlighted the importance of such
resources as linguists and civil affairs personnel, engineering assets
capable of emergency repair of roads and bridges in very austere
environments, detailed maps, and prepositioned stocks.
It is unclear to what extent NATO members have undertaken to address these
concerns. For the U.S. part, some of these issues have again been highlighted by
military operations in Iraq, e.g., transportation of forces and equipment, improved
UAV capabilities, and the importance of humanitarian/civil operations capabilities.
Ground Force Operations — KFOR (Operation Joint Guardian)..
Because air operations did not stop Serb operations against Kosovar Albanians,
public discussion of NATO ground force intervention was widespread. U.S. and
NATO spokesmen continued to maintain there was no intention to introduce ground
troops without “a permissive environment.” In the latter weeks of the air campaign,
the British government began to push for ground intervention, but was unable to win
the support of other alliance members. Though President Clinton and others
publically made the point that no option was permanently “off the table”. and NATO
HQ re-examined the military requirements for an invasion of Kosovo and even
Serbia, at no time did there appear alliance-wide support of offensive ground
operations. Indeed, several member governments, particularly Greece, Italy, and
Germany were publicly adamant in their opposition.
With the Yugoslav acceptance of the peace plan devised by the G-8, the focus
turned to Operation Joint Guardian, the peace-keeping mission to be undertaken by
KFOR. To facilitate this operation, NATO obtained the Yugoslav acceptance of a
Military-Technical Agreement (MTA) prepared by NATO on June 9, 1999. The
United Nations Security Council passed a resolution (S/RES/1244) endorsing the
peace plan and an “international security presence” in Kosovo for its enforcement.
KFOR did not begin deploying into Kosovo until June 12, 1999, reportedly
waiting to synchronize its deployment with the withdrawal of Serb forces in order to
avoid co-mingling forces. This delay, however, allowed time for a 200-strong
contingent of Russian troops to leave their SFOR station in Bosnia and occupy the
airport in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. Reportedly planned by the Russian General
Staff, and endorsed by president Yeltsin, to ensure Russia a high-profile role in
KFOR. This action occasioned high-level U.S.-Russian negotiations. An agreement
reached on June 18, 1999 provided for shared control of Pristina airport operations,
with Russian participation in airport ground operations and air operations under
KFOR control and deployment of Russian troops in the U.S., German, and French
sectors. These troops were under a unified KFOR command, with a Russian general
officer at KFOR HQ. Once initial tensions dissipated, KFOR commanders praised
the Russian troops for their professionalism and cooperation. Russia ended its
participation in KFOR operations in 2003, owing to domestic financial constraints.
The KFOR Military Technical Agreement with the Belgrade government affirms
the terms of the peace plan, and provides specific details of its implementation.
Some of the main provisions are:
!KFOR will deploy and operate without hindrance.
!KFOR has the authority to take all necessary action to establish and
maintain a secure environment, and to carry out its mission, the
KFOR commander has the right to compel the removal or relocation
of forces and weapons, and to order the cessation of any activities
that pose a potential threat to KFOR, its mission, or a third party.
Failure to comply will result in military action, including the use of
!KFOR has the right to monitor and inspect all facilities or activities
that may have a police or military capability, or are deemed
otherwise relevant to compliance. The KFOR commander is the
“final authority” for the interpretation of the MTA.
!Air and Ground Safety Zones will extend 25 and 5 kilometers
respectively beyond the borders of Kosovo, and no Yugoslav forces,
aside from local police, may enter these zones without KFOR
permission. All Yugoslav military, paramilitary, and police forces
will conduct a phased withdrawal from Kosovo, to be completed by
June 20, 1999.
!Yugoslav forces will mark and remove all mines, booby traps, and
obstacles as they withdraw. A subsequent, separate agreement will
address the return of “agreed Yugoslav and Serb personnel.”
On June 20 1999, NATO announced an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation
Army for its phased disbanding. The presence of armed KLA guerillas has given
KFOR some concerns, and KFOR has disarmed KLA groups that could have
presented a threat to security. In the demilitarization agreement, the KLA agreed to:
!Renounce the use of force and comply with KFOR and U.N. Interim
Civil Administration directives. Refrain from hostile or provocative
acts, including reprisals or detentions.
!Acknowledge KFOR’s use of necessary force to ensure compliance.
!Not carry weapons in specified areas.
In an attempt to involve former KLA personnel in positive activities, NATO and
U.N. officials agreed to the creation of the Kosovo Corps. NATO and the U.N.
intend the 3,000-strong organization to be a uniformed civilian force to deal with
emergency situations such as forest fires, search and rescue, and reconstruction.
Some KLA leaders see the Kosovo Corps as the nucleus of a future Kosovo army, a
view rejected by NATO and U.N. officials.
U.S. and Allied Force Contributions. Of the almost 22,000 troops
stationed with KFOR, the United States is providing about 2,100 or 11%. DOD
scheduled the major unit rotations for KFOR through May 2005, should the
deployment last that long. The parent units involved are: 1st Cavalry Division (11/03-rdst
the bulk of these units’ personnel involved in rotations for Iraq, however, DOD has
not indicated how this might effect deployments to Kosovo.
Costs of Operation Allied Force/Joint Guardian.Within NATO, each
nation participating in Operation Allied Force assumed the cost of its own
operations. NATO does not provide estimates of the overall cost of the operation or5
of the cost of each member’s contributions. (Individual nations also assume the full
cost of the deployments in support of on-going KFOR operations.
In April 1999, the Clinton Administration submitted a $6.05 billion emergency
supplemental appropriation request to cover military operations in Kosovo and
continuing air operations in Southwest Asia during FY1999. On May 18, 1999, the
House approved a House-Senate conference agreement on H.R. 1141, providing
$14.9 billion in FY1999 supplemental appropriations. On May 20 1999, the Senate
concurred and it was signed into law (P.L. 106-31) on May 21. Of this, only $10.8
billion was actually defense-related, and included funds for items other than Kosovo
operations such as a military pay raise, military construction, training, and
equipment/munitions procurement. The Administration’s funding request assumed
offensive military operations against Yugoslavia through September 1999. With the
campaign ending in June, DOD calculated its actual FY1999 incremental costs to be
$3.0 billion, and the remainder of the appropriated supplemental were re-
The Administration’s FY2000 budget request contained no funds for combat or
peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. The House Armed Services Committee
expressed its concern that under or unbudgeted contingency operations have diverted
funds from “quality of life, readiness, and modernization” programs. Seeing no
funds budgeted for Kosovo operations in FY2000, and seeking to ensure that
incremental Kosovo-related costs would be dealt with only through specific budgeted
accounts or supplemental appropriations, the Committee inserted a provision in
DOD’s authorizing legislation (H.R. 1401) prohibiting the use of any funds
authorized by the legislation for military operations in Yugoslavia. On June 9, during
consideration on the House floor, Representative Skelton introduced an amendment
removing this provision. Upon receiving written notice from President Clinton
stating that if military readiness were to be harmed by on-going operational
requirements, he would submit a FY2000 budget amendment request, the House
agreed (270-155) to remove the funding prohibition. A $2 billion supplemental
appropriation for Kosovo was subsequently included in the FY2001 Military
Construction Act (P.L. 106-246). From FY2002-FY2004, Congress has appropriated
approximately $2.8 billion for Kosovo operations.
Beginning with the FY2002 budget, both the Bosnia and Kosovo operations are
no longer funded through the Overseas Contingency Fund, but rather through the
individual service budgets. Consequently, published DOD budget documents do not
provide a separate accounting for these operations.
5 For individual national cost estimates for Kosovo operations, see CRS Report RL30398,
NATO Burdensharing and Kosovo: a Preliminary Report.)
Considerations for Congress
At the outset of military operations in both Bosnia and Kosovo, congressional
reaction was mixed. In both cases, resolutions in favor and in opposition to
participation passed either the House or Senate; but no legislation authorizing or
prohibiting U.S. participation passed both chambers. Appropriations for these
military operations were never denied, though extensive reporting requirements often6
conditioned the funding.
If current intentions are carried out, NATO forces – including U.S. troops – will
be completely withdrawn from Bosnia by the end of 2004 and replaced by a
European Union force of both police and military personnel. With that withdrawal,
a close monitoring of the EU’s mission performance and Bosnia’s political stability
would appear to be the primary remaining concerns.
While NATO troops may withdraw from Bosnia, there appears to be no time
line for a withdrawal from Kosovo. A continued NATO military presence in Kosovo
will probably remain until the province’s political future is determined, and perhaps
for a period thereafter. Whether the NATO contingent need continue to include U.S.
troops is, however, open to question. The possibility remains that the European
Union could eventually assume peace-keeping responsibilities in Kosovo also;
however, that is unlikely to occur until its performance in Bosnia is evaluated.
To authorize appropriations for FY2004 for military activities of the Department
of Defense, and for military construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths
for fiscal year 2004, and for other purposes. Signed into law November 24, 2003.
Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year 2004,
and for other purposes. Signed into law September 30, 2003.
6 For a detailed discussion of the legislative activity related to military operations in the
Balkans, see CRS Report RL31185, The War Powers Resolution: After Twenty-Eight Years.
CRS Report RL31053, Kosovo and U.S. Policy.
CRS Report RL30906, Bosnia-Herzegovina and U.S. Policy.
CRS Issue Brief IB94040, Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of
U.S. Military Involvement.
World Wide Web Sites
BosniaLink (DOD) — [http://www.dtic.mil/bosnia/]
KFOR Headquarters — [http://www.nato.int/kfor/welcome.html]
NATO Headquarters — [http://www.nato.int/kosovo/press.htm]