September 15,1999

Roth Release CRS Examination of Kosovo War

Operation ALLIED FORCE: Lessons Learned

WASHINGTON -- Senator William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) Chairman of the Senate NATO Observer Group today released a study on the lessons learned from the 78 day Kosovo conflict. The study, conducted by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Senator's request, was issued as a memorandum entitled, "Operation ALLIED FORCE: Lessons Learned."

"This report provides a useful framework through which to address the broader political-military lessons of the Kosovo war," stated Senator Roth. "While I do not agree with all its assertions, this report does raise issues that warrant close examination by the political and military leaders of the Alliance."

"For example," Roth added, "the CRS memo succinctly summarizes the shortcomings of gradual escalation as a strategy of military coercion. This examination underscores the Alliance requirement for forces that are rapidly deployable over long-distances and that can deliver overwhelming force on short notice -- not just from the air but also from the ground.

"On that same matter, this report further highlights the gross disparity between the capabilities of the United States and our European allies. These disparities not only lead to unequal burden-sharing but also often preclude through inadequate interoperability, burden-sharing itself. To paraphrase former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Klaus Naumann, these are problems that the Alliance must address now, not through more reports, but through action.

"Thirdly, the report provides a much needed dose of realism concerning our expectations for NATO-Russia relations. While I do not agree with the report's overall positive assessment of Russia's role in this tragic war, it does accurately point out that Russia's role in this conflict was very much driven by a desire to weaken and undermine NATO. The lesson learned is that while we must engage Russia with the goal of creating a partnership, this endeavor requires both caution and realism.

"Finally, the report addresses the lessons potential adversaries will take from Operation ALLIED FORCE. This is an extremely important matter. If we fail to study it thoroughly, we risk undercutting NATO's effectiveness as a deterrent to those forces which threaten the Alliance's values and interests."

Among the issues examined in the CRS memorandum are the following:
•The Political and Military Objectives of Operation ALLIED FORCE
•The Alliance's Strategy of Gradually Escalating the Application of Military Force
•The Alliance's Decision to Exclude Ground Forces
•The Factors Causing Milosevic's Capitulation
•The Performance of NATO's Chain of Command
•The Role of Russia in the Kosovo Conflict
•NATO Capabilities and Burden-sharing
•The Performance of NATO's New Members
•NATO Unity and American Leadership
•Lessons to be Learned by NATO's Adversaries