Friday, March 25, 2011

Coalition Air Operations Take on Gadhafi’s Forces

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2011 – The coalition struck a number of targets in Libya with air operations flown to protect the Libyan people from Moammar Gadhafi's forces, the director of the Joint Staff said today.

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney briefed Pentagon reporters on the latest developments in the United Nations-ordered operation.

Many strikes went after Gadhafi regime armored forces outside Ajdabiyah, a city south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Gortney said. The coalition also hit more command and control facilities in and around Tripoli and launched 16 more Tomahawk strikes against targets that included Scud missile garrisons in Tripoli and air defense systems around Sabha, he added.

In the last 24 hours, coalition aircraft flew 153 sorties, with 96 of those being strikes. "Slightly more than half of those strike missions were flown by U.S. pilots," the admiral said. Partner nations flew all of the no-fly zone enforcement missions.

NATO has agreed to take on the no-fly zone enforcement mission, and officials at the alliance's headquarters in Belgium named Canadian air force Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard to lead Operation Unified Protector. The operation covers enforcing the U.N.-mandated arms embargo and no-fly zone. Bouchard is stationed in Naples, Italy, at the Allied Joint Force Command.

Gortney said it is possible that NATO may take over the last part of the U.N. mission, which is protecting Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's forces.

Partner nations are taking on more missions, and the division of labor between U.S. and partner nations has evened out, the admiral said. As operations continue, the United States will fly most refueling, surveillance, information operations and jamming missions, he added.

"The coalition is working very hard to make it very hard for Colonel Gadhafi and his troops to kill their own citizens and destroy property," Gortney said. "But that is … a delicate mission."

The U.N. charged the coalition with protecting the people of Libya, the admiral noted, adding that nothing the coalition can do could put the people at greater risk than the risk they face at the hands of Gadhafi's regime.

"What we must focus on is limiting the regime's ability to inflict the harm by squeezing it and denying it the tools to do so, and we believe we are achieving success in that regard," Gortney said.


NATO and Libya

Responding to the ongoing crisis in Libya, NATO Allies decided on 24 March to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. This is in response to the decisions of the United Nations Security Council.

All NATO Allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the UN resolution. The purpose of the no-fly zone is to prevent any air attacks on civilians or populated areas by closing Libyan airspace.

NATO is taking action as part of the broad international effort and looks forward to working with its partners in the region.

At this point, there is still a coalition operation and a NATO operation but NATO is currently considering whether it should take on a broader responsibility in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution.

Through the chain of command NATO and the Coalition will ensure close coordination and de-confliction.

Background and timeline

Following the popular uprising which began in Benghazi on 17 February 2011, the United Nations (UN) Security Council adopted Resolution 1970. This institutes an arms embargo, freezes the personal assets of Libya's leaders and imposes a travel ban on senior figures.

On 8 March, with international concern over the Libyan crisis growing, NATO stepped up its surveillance operations in the Central Mediterranean, deploying AWACS aircraft to provide round-the-clock observation. These "eyes in the sky" give NATO detailed information of movements in Libyan airspace.

On 10 March, NATO Defence Ministers supported SACEUR's decision to have alliance ships move to the same area to boost the monitoring effort.

On 17 March, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, authorising member states and regional organisations to, inter alia, take "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya.

On 22 March, NATO responded to the UN call by launching an operation to enforce the arms embargo against Libya. On 23 March, NATO's arms embargo operation started.

NATO ships and aircraft are operating in the Central Mediterranean to make sure that the flow of weapons to Libya by sea is cut off. They have the right to stop and search any vessel they suspect of carrying arms or mercenaries.

The NATO ships will not enter Libyan territorial waters. NATO has no intention of deploying land forces anywhere in Libyan territory.


NATO Secretary General's statement on Libya no-fly zone

NATO Allies have now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.

24 Mar. 2011

We are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians against the attacks by the Gaddafi regime. We will cooperate with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions.

All NATO Allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the UN resolution. That is why we have decided to assume responsibility for the no-fly zone.

At this moment there will still be a coalition operation and a NATO operation but we are considering whether NATO should take on a broader responsibility in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution. But that decision has not been made yet.

Through the chain of command NATO and the Coalition will ensure close coordination and de-confliction.

Reporter: Mr. Secretary, there has been a lot of concern about civilian casualties and it's been mentioned that ... it was a particular concern to Turkey. Could you tell us about some of the deliberations you had in the Council?

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen: No, we have had very very positive deliberations. It is of utmost importance to get this right. It's a serious decision, and this is the reason why we have spent some time to reach this conclusion, but compared to the past we have actually done it quite quickly.

Associated Press: Secretary-General, has NATO agreed to take on the responsibilities in this No-Fly Zone, including on continuing the bombing campaign started by the international coalition?

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen: What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn't go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.

Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): Thank you very much. Another one? One last question.

Reporter: Does that mean that if members of the so-called coalition, say France, would like to strike against troops of Ghadaffi's moving in on civilian targets, that would be part of the mission that NATO overtakes at this moment?

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen: At this moment, there will still be a coalition operation and a NATO operation. But we are considering whether NATO should take on that broader responsibility in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution, but that decision has not been made yet.

Reporter: How do you coordinate then between the coalition and NATO forces for the No-Fly Zone?

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen: That would take place through the chain of command and we will ensure close coordination and deconfliction.

Oana Lungescu: And with that thank you very much and a very good night.


NATO Assumes Responsibility for No-fly Zone Over Libya

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 – NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced today the alliance will assume command and control of coalition operations enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

"We are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians against the attacks by the [Moammar] Gadhafi regime," Rasmussen said in a statement released today. "We will cooperate with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions."

All NATO allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the U.N. resolution, Rasmussen said. "That is why we have decided to assume responsibility for the no-fly zone," He added.

Speaking in Washington this evening after meetings at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said a wide range of nations has responded to the Libyan people's needs.

"When the Libyan people sought to realize their democratic aspirations, they were met by extreme violence from their own government," Clinton said. "The Libyan people appealed to the world to help stop the brutal attacks on them, and the world listened."

Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger, the secretary said, and an international coalition responded.

"After only five days, we have made significant progress," she said. "A massacre in Benghazi was prevented. Gadhafi's air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective. And the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya."

Humanitarian relief is beginning to reach the people who need it, she said, noting, "At least 18 doctors and nurses from an organization funded by the United States Agency for International Development [are] in Benghazi … beginning to provide support to the city's main hospital."

President Barack Obama stressed that the U.S. military's actions "would be limited in time and scope," Clinton said. "Our mission has been to use America's unique capabilities to create the conditions for the no-fly zone, and to assist in meeting urgent humanitarian needs."

Today the United States and its NATO allies agreed to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO, Clinton said.

"This coalition includes countries beyond NATO, including Arab partners, and we expect all of them to [provide] important political guidance going forward," she said.

Arab leadership and participation is the coalition is crucial, she said.

"The Arab League showed that leadership with its pivotal statement on Libya," Clinton said. "We are deeply appreciative of their continuing contributions, including aircrafts and pilots from Qatar."

This evening the United Arab Emirates announced it will join the coalition and send planes to help protect Libyan civilians and enforce the no-fly zone, the secretary said.

"We welcome this important step," she added. "It underscores both the breadth of this international coalition and the depth of concern in the region for the plight of the Libyan people."

As NATO assumes command-and-control responsibilities, the welfare of Libyan civilians will be of paramount concern, she said.

"Our military will continue to provide support to our efforts to make sure that Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 will be enforced," Clinton said. "It is an effort that we believe is very important, and we'll look forward to coordinating closely with all those nations that are participating."


Thursday, March 24, 2011

British submarine launches further strikes on Libyan air defence systems

A Military Operations news article
24 Mar 11

A Royal Navy submarine has launched further missile strikes against Libyan air defence targets as part of co-ordinated coalition action in support of enforcing UN Resolution 1973.

In a statement, the Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategic Communications Officer, Major General John Lorimer, said:

"British Armed Forces have again participated in a co-ordinated strike against Libyan air defence systems in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.

"The UK launched guided Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles from a Trafalgar Class submarine at air defence targets as part of the coalition plan to enforce the resolution.

"Britain and her international partners remain engaged in operations to support United Nations Security Resolution 1973, to enforce the established no-fly zone and to ready the UK's contribution to the NATO arms embargo of Libya."

TRANSCRIPT: General Ham addresses media in Sigonella, Sicily on Operation Odyssey Dawn

U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, SICILY, Mar 24, 2011 — Gen. Carter Ham, commander U.S. Africa Command, addressed media regarding current military actions as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. In addition to thanking the servicemembers from the coalition and the community of Sigonella for their support to this operation, support that makes the operation possible, Ham provided a brief description of some of the ongoing military activities in the region and what he felt was the best fit for transitioning command.

"It's our hope â? and I think as a military person, the best and easiest transition would be to NATO because so many of the nations who are participating are NATO. This is a great example of why we have this military alliance that can come together very quickly and operate very effectively together."

The complete transcript is included below.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHERYL PHILLIPS: It's my pleasure to introduce General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. He is the commander of U.S. operations in Libya and is responsible for U.S. security interests throughout the continent of Africa.

Joining him up here will be Colonel Tonello, who is the commander of the Italian Air Force 41st Wing at Sigonella and Captain Scott Butler, Naval Air Station Sigonella. And with that, I'd like to turn over the podium to General Ham for a few remarks.

GENERAL CARTER F. HAM: Well, thank you all very much for coming out this afternoon. I had a great day today. I had the opportunity to visit the crew aboard the Mount Whitney, which is not too far from here, which, as you know, has been a command ship for Admiral Sam Locklear, the Joint Taskforce Odyssey Dawn commander. And while there, I had an opportunity to, first of all, say thank you to that crew and all that staff that have worked so hard, and then secondly, to have some discussions about the future and, notably, about transition of command.

From there, we had the opportunity to go out to the USS Kearsarge, a United States naval vessel with Marines embarked. Notably, this is the vessel from which the aircraft, which picked up the downed pilot in Libya a few nights ago â? they flew from that. I actually had an opportunity to talk to that particular crew about the mission. And again, an opportunity to say thanks to those sailors and Marines for all that they are doing, to talk about some upcoming missions, to make sure that they had the resources necessary to accomplish their mission.

Here, at Sigonella, I would just say that this is an absolutely vital hub for operations in Libya. You see here an international collection of forces, a wide variety of nations' militaries, have gathered at this site because it is so critical. It's strategic location has been important to us and been important for decades and centuries, as you all know, and it remains so today.

So we're very thankful to our hosts here in Sicily that have been so very supportive of the U.S. military over so many years, and now welcoming the international forces that are operating here and operating so effectively. We simply could not accomplish our mission without the great support of all those that are here at Sigonella. And with that, I'd be glad to take a few questions.

Q: Yes, sir. Good morning. We did have a â? (inaudible) â?

GEN. HAM: Okay, there we go. All right.

Q: Sorry.

GEN. HAM: That's all right. Now I see you there, okay.

Q: I am â? (inaudible). Just a question: Do you think Sicily will be at risk of any direct attack from Libyan forces?

GEN. HAM: I'm sorry, could you â? one more time, please.

Q: Yes, do you think Sicily is at risk of any direct attack by Libyan forces?

GEN. HAM: I do not think that Sicily is under threat of direct attack. Our mission is under the United Nations Security Council resolution and it's very clear. It is to establish an arms embargo and to prevent the illegal shipment of arms to and from Libya. It is, secondly, to establish a no-fly zone so that his military aircraft cannot strike civilians, and thirdly, to protect the civilians from regime forces as best we can. And we're accomplishing those missions. But I think the people here are safe from Libyan attacks, certainly.

Q: Hi, Emma McIntosh with Reuters. I'm in the same place, hi.

GEN. HAM: Okay, okay.

Q: And this is a very international operation that's happening at the moment and there's been a lot of discussion about the leadership of it. I know that President Obama is coming under pressure, as well, to help come to a conclusion about overall leadership. Where do you see this going on leadership? Who's going to take charge?

GEN. HAM: It's our hope â? and I think as a military person, the best and easiest transition would be to NATO because so many of the nations who are participating are NATO. This is a great example of why we have this military alliance that can come together very quickly and operate very effectively together.

So I think that structure is probably the best way to make this transition. And I know those discussions are underway. As I mentioned, I've been traveling most of the day today so I'm not aware of any progress that may have been achieved today. But as a military commander, my preference would be to hand off to a NATO command.

Q: Diana Magnay, CNN. We were hearing reports from Reuters, who were taken to a morgue in Tajura today where they were shown military and civilian casualties, according to Reuters, after the coalition bombing, in Tajura, of a military site. Do you know anything about that, and can you be sure that there have been no civilian casualties to date?

GEN. HAM: I cannot be sure there have been no civilian casualties. What I can be sure of is that we are very, very precise and discriminate in our targeting. There have been more instances than I can think of in the conduct of this campaign where our pilots have made the correct decision to not attack a legitimate military target for concern of the civilian casualties that, that attack would have caused.

It is a very, very high priority. And I cannot emphasize enough the precision with which we conduct these strikes. I am not at all surprised that the regime has made claims of civilian casualties, and frankly, I'm surprised it's kind of taken them this long to kind of make that claim. We should also note, though, you know, the regime doesn't talk about the mosque that they destroyed in az-Zawiya, which we have evidence of. They don't talk about the thousands of Libyan citizens, which they have killed, which we know is very true.

So - and I'm sorry if I'm a little emotional about this - the people who are killing civilians are the regime of this current government leader in Libya. The people who are protecting the civilians are the forces of the United Nations, which are conducting these operations. Yes?

Q: General, Duncan Kennedy (ph), BBC News. We're now one week into this military campaign and General Qadhafi is still very much in action with his forces. Is there any end to this crisis? Is that acceptable that he's still operating like this?

GEN. HAM: What's not acceptable is the continued attacks by regime forces against their civilians and that's what we're working very hard on. We have had effect, and we know we have had effect, on fixed sites, on air-defense sites, which essentially no longer exist. We are having an effect on command-and-control facilities, though we do recognize and see that there is still some capacity for the regime to exercise control of its military forces. And that remains a target of priority for us.

We have had effect against weapons storage so that - and ammunition and fuel supplies that keep his military forces going. And we'll continue those kinds of attacks. What I would say has happened over the first week of this campaign is, early on, we had many fixed sites, which we knew we could target. There are not so many of those left, though there are some and we learn about more each day. But where we find ourselves now is what we call dynamic targeting, particularly on his fielded ground forces, which are conducting operations against the civilian populace.

It's the most difficult target that we have because they are in and around the built-up areas of Libya. And again, our concern for not causing civilian casualties makes that a particularly difficult target set for us. But we will endeavor to do the best we can, and are looking for innovative ways to increase our effectiveness. Maybe one more. Do we have time for one more, I think â? yes?

Q: General -(inaudible). Just a question about, if you could, tell us something more about the targets at Sabha in the southern part of Libya. It's Qadhafi's stronghold. Can you tell us something more about what happened there?

GEN. HAM: Yeah, again, I would begin by saying we do not and are not specifically targeting the regime leader. But what we do see in Sabha and other places are command-and-control facilities and air-defense systems, which could interfere with the execution of the no-fly zone. We detected those targets, attacked some of them last night.

I guess the message would be, we're not restricted, geographically. Where we see threats to the execution of the no-fly zone, where we see forces attacking civilians, where we see command-and-control facilities, we will attack those. And that's what you saw at Sabha. Okay, thank you all. Yep, one last one, okay.

Q: (Inaudible, background noise) -by the French. Can you please comment a little on that? I'd like to ask you if you think this mission creep is inevitable if you are to actually -(inaudible).

GEN. HAM: I'll answer both, if that's okay. We do have a report that there was, in fact, a Libyan jet that had -a military jet, which had taken off and as it was landing - I believe it was at Misrata; we can get that for the record for you. I think it was at the Misrata airfield that the mission was detected and as they were landing, or shortly after they were landing, they were, in fact, attacked and destroyed by a French aircraft executing the no-fly zone in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolution.

With regard to mission creep, I'm not concerned about that. I have a clear mission. The clear mission is establish arms embargo -it's in place -the no-fly zone -it's in place. We are in a process of protecting civilians and that will continue. And then the last piece is transition to a designated headquarters, which I suspect will be NATO. So for me, I think our mission is well-defined and has a definite end state. And I think we'll be in good shape, with regard to that. And I'm not concerned, at present, about mission creep.

Thank you all very much. And again, many, many heartfelt thanks for all the great people of Sicily that have provided such great support here at Sigonella. To put it quite simply, we could not execute this mission without the support from this extraordinary community and this extraordinary base. Thank you very much.


General Ham visits air operations center responsible for Operation Odyssey Dawn air campaign

by Staff Sgt. Stefanie Torres
17th Air Force Public Affairs

3/22/2011 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S. Africa Command Commander Army Gen. Carter Ham and his top enlisted advisor, Command Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson Jr., paid a visit to their air component Mar. 22 here.

Air Forces Africa (17th Air Force) Commander Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward greeted General Ham at the 603rd Air Operations Center, where flying operations in Libya were on display, and work with coalition partners was taking place. Participants from coalition countries to include France, Great Britain, and Italy were present to greet the general as he saw firsthand how the air components all were working together in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn.

The 603rd, normally the AOC for 3rd Air Force and U.S. European Command, is hosting AFRICOM's (and 17th Air Force's) 617th Air Opertions Center. The two commands are working together on ODD, enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 and the mandated no-fly zone over Libya. Together they form the air component of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn.

AFRICOM established the JTF to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of security council resolution. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces.

Although working with different countries in similar activities could warrant a difficult learning curve, General Ham said it was clear that this was not the case, and having preparation beforehand may have helped in this situation.

"You can't bring 14 different nations together without ever having prepared for this before," he said. "It's amazing to see that even with such short notice what we have been able to come together and accomplish this task. There is no force anywhere on the planet that could pull this off."

The commander, while touring the 603rd facility, also acknowledged that if it was not for the diligence within the AOC, the Airmen involved in F-15E plane crash March 21 might have had a different outcome.

"It is because of the work that is done in this room, that those Airmen were able to get home to their families again," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I extend my sincere appreciation for the work here. Nobody else can do what you do."

Chief Johnson, a former member of 3rd AF, remembered his time in the unit fondly.

"I remember being stationed there and to see the unification today along with the professionalism among the enlisted corps is great," he said. "Throughout the Air Force, there is an enlisted person's fingerprint in everything we do - and it's just an honor to see this."

The 603rd AOC is playing host to not only the 617th AOC, but coalition partners as well. Although the process has been going well, the Libya operation has called for long hours and around the clock surveillance. But General Ham said relief is just around the corner, but not without a little bit more work.

"I know this has been a very busy couple of weeks," he said. "I also know it is very important for me to come out here and say thank you. I've had the opportunity to talk to everyone from the President down and they pass along their appreciation to all of you."

"It's amazing to see the many nations working together with extraordinary cooperation and dedication. But the work isn't done yet. But what you do is amazing and no one else can do what you do."


In support of Operation Odyssey Dawn

24 photos


Spangdahlem supports Operation Odyssey Dawn 2

13 photos released by 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs March 24, 2011.


Spangdahlem supports Operation Odyssey Dawn

19 photos released by 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs March 23, 2011.


Ramstein supports JTF Odyssey Dawn

19 photos, released March 23, 2011.


Operation Odyssey Dawn

22 photos, released by 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs March 22, 2011.


Marines rescue downed pilot after fighter jet crashes in Libya

3/22/2011 By Staff, Headquarters Marine Corps


Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit rescued a U.S. Air Force pilot downed in Libya March 22.

The F-15E Strike Eagle crashed in northeast Libya March 21 while flying in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the joint coalition enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect the Libyan people from the country's ruler.

Using two AV/8B Harriers, two MV-22 Ospreys and two CH-53E Super Stallions carrying a quick reaction force, the Camp Lejeune, N.C., based Marines conducted a Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel mission to recover the pilot.

The Marine aircraft began launching off the the USS Kearsarge, which was roughly 130 nautical miles from the pilot - within 30 minutes of the crash - according to a senior Marine officer in the Pentagon.

Marine officials attributed the quick reaction time to the versatility of the Osprey. "Total time from launch to return - 90 minutes roundtrip. That's what an Osprey gets you, that speed," the official said.

According to official reports, the Harrier close air support element dropped two laser-guided 500-pound bombs in the area in support of the downed pilot. One MV-22 Osprey landed and extracted the pilot.

Once extracted, the aircraft returned to the USS Kearsarge with the pilot. Navy Lt. Lauren A. Weber, a doctor with the 26th MEU, said the pilot returned in good condition.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation and the names of the pilots will be released pending next-of-kin notification.

The recovery force remains on standby while aviation assets are conducting operations in any environment. All seven Marine expeditionary units are trained, equipped and ready to conduct similar missions when called upon.

Air National Guard supports coalition operations over Libya

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. (3/22/11) - The National Guard is contributing to Operation Odyssey Dawn with 11 air refueling wings supporting the international coalition enforcement of a United Nations authorized no-fly zone, National Guard officials said here today.

Aircraft and crews from Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah are scheduled to conduct mid-air refueling missions for coalition forces who have been launching strikes against Libyan military sites and air defense systems to prevent further attacks against Libyan civilians.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, director of the Air National Guard, wasn't surprised that the Air Force turned to the Air Guard to provide refueling support to the coalition.

"The Air Guard has the experience and expertise to quickly mobilize, deploy and integrate with any joint or coalition effort anywhere in the world,"
Wyatt said. "The fact that we are able to rapidly bring in assets from several different wings is a testament to the flexibility and professionalism our Citizen Airmen provide our combatant commanders when called."

In a briefing with reporters Monday, Army Gen. Carter Ham, commander, U.S.
Africa Command, discussed ongoing operations in his area of operations so far.

"I assess that our actions to date are generally achieving the intended objectives. We have not observed Libyan military aircraft operating since the beginning of coalition military operations," Ham said.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said what is important to President Barack Obama in the ongoing military effort is, "a meaningful coalition, meaning other countries making serious military contributions so the United States isn't carrying the pre-eminent responsibility for an indefinite period of time.

"We will continue to support the coalition, be a member of the coalition, we will have a military role in the coalition but we will not have a preeminent role."

The Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing, the first air refueling wing in the Air National Guard, is one of the wings that stepped up to the call.

"The 126th Air Refueling Wing always stands ready to respond at a moment's notice," said Air Force Col. Peter Nezamis, 126 ARW commander. "We have very highly trained and highly motivated Airmen. I'm proud of their passion, professionalism and willingness to help our country and state."


DOD News Briefing with Vice Adm. Gortney from the Pentagon on Libya Operation Odyssey Dawn

Presenter: Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Director of The Joint Staff
March 24, 2011

ADM. GORTNEY: Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for being here today.

And let’s get right to it. Bring up the first slide, please.

On the slide to my left, you will -- you will see a quick snapshot of what we have been doing the last day or so. And I’d like to just point out that the data I’m going to provide is as of noon Eastern Standard Time today.

As you can see, the coalition, naval and Air Forces have been busy striking fixed targets and some of Colonel Gadhafi’s maneuver forces along the coastline and near the cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Ajdabiya.

Ships and subs at sea have launched another 14 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets ashore and hitting an integrated air defense site near Sebha in the south and a Scud missile garrison near Tripoli.

We flew a total of 130 coalition sorties, 49 of which were strike-related, meaning they were designed to hit a designated target. Of those total sorties, roughly half were flown by pilots from partner nations. In fact, nearly all, some 75 percent of the combat air patrol missions in support of the no-fly zone, are now being executed by our coalition partners. On Sunday, that figure was less than 10 percent.

Next slide, please.

Here is a good depiction of what the no-fly zone looks like right now. You can see we’ve got essentially seven patrol stations over the Mediterranean from which the aircraft staged themselves before being called to enforce the U.N. mandate.

Some of these missions are what we call defensive combat air. You can see the patrol stations for these missions depicted in blue. These are missions designed solely to keep the airspace free of Libyan combat aircraft, and all of these missions are now being flown by our partner nation pilots.

The other patrol stations, depicted in red, are designed for interdiction missions, meaning these strikes conduct -- are conducted at ground targets, either fixed or moving. The United States is flying about half of all of these missions.

You can also see the no-fly zone as it exists today, running coast to coast across the northern part of the country and extending further south. As I mentioned before, one of the airstrikes we conducted last night took out some SA-2 and SA-3 surface-to-air missile sites down in Sebha.

You can also get a sense here of the international contributions to the no-fly zone mission. More than 350 aircraft are involved in some capacity, either enforcing the no-fly zone or protecting the civilian populace. Only slightly more than half belong to the United States.

It’s fair to say that the coalition is growing in both size and capability every day. Today there are nine other contributing nations, to include Qatar, and thousands of coalition military personnel involved in this effort. They’re deployed across Europe and on the Mediterranean at bases ashore and on any of one of the 38 ships at sea.

Next slide, please.

You can see here a quick view of the maritime laydown, with most ships operating just to the north of Libya. These are, of course, notional positions as the ships are moving about, but it gives you a sense of the size and scope of the naval effort being expended by the -- by the coalition. Twenty-six of these ships are being contributed by partner nations today, up from 22 on Sunday, and the United States has a total of 12. I’d note that the presence of two aircraft carriers, France’s Charles De Gaulle and Italy’s Garibaldi, both of which have combat aircraft that embark.

So where does that leave us today? Well, the focus right now is on several things. We continue to patrol the no-fly zone, and as I said, we are looking to further strengthen it with more aircraft on- station and more terrain covered.

We’ve continued to strike the regime’s integrated air defense capabilities as well as command-and-control facilities, logistics nodes and ammunition supplies. We are vigorously planning to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance by interested governments and nongovernmental agencies. And we will continue to conduct coordinated attacks on regime ground forces that threaten the lives of the Libyan people.

And let me be clear because I think there’s still some confusion out there: when and where regime forces threaten the lives of their own citizens, they will be attacked. And when and where regime forces fly combat aircraft or fire at coalition aircraft, they will be attacked. And when and where regime forces attempt to break the embargo, they will be stopped.

Our message to the regime troops is simple: stop fighting, stop killing your own people, stop obeying the orders of Colonel Gadhafi. To the degree that you defy these demands, we will continue to hit you and make it more difficult for you to keep going.

Lastly, let me just address the issue of transition. We are working very hard on the military side to be ready to hand over the lead of this operation to a coalition command structure as early as this weekend. As Secretary Gates said, this is a complicated process and, to some degree, it’s being done on the fly, but I think that just speaks to the speed at which everything has happened over the last few days.

We ought to remember that it was only last Thursday evening when the U.N. voted the resolution into effect, and only last Saturday afternoon Eastern Standard Time when the strikes began. By Sunday, the no-fly zone was effectively in place, and since that time, there has been next to no combat sorties flown by the regime, next to no effective air defense mounted, and no reports of civilian casualties caused by coalition forces. Indeed, the only civilian casualties we know are for certain are the ones that the Libyan government itself has caused.

Next slide, please.

Now, this slide shows the disposition of forces prior to coalition intervention on Saturday afternoon Eastern Standard Time. As you can see, the opposition was isolated and under regime attack in Zawiyah, Misrata and Benghazi; and the regime was pressing its advantage in heavy weapons and ground-attack aircraft to move into Benghazi, not only to recapture the city but also to remove the opposition’s transitional council. Despite the subsequent declarations of ceasefire by Gadhafi on Monday and Tuesday, regime forces secured Zawiyah, continued attacks against Misrata and initiated attacks against the people in -- people in Zentan.

Next slide, please.

Today coalition military operations have rendered the Libyan air and defense forces ineffective and forced the regime to withdraw from Benghazi to Ajdabiya. That said, regime operations in and around Misrata and Zentan have not halted. We will continue to apply the pressure we can through strikes on their logistics, command, communication and weapons capabilities to compel them to stop killing their own people.

No one in the U.S. military is underestimating the challenge here. Even as we transition the lead of this effort to a different command structure, we will continue to provide our partners the enabling capabilities they need to enforce the U.N. mandate.

And at this time, I’d like to take your questions.

STAFF: Richard?

Q: Admiral, you mentioned next to no combat sorties. Aside from the aircraft -- you -- I think you said there have been next to no combat sorties by the Libyans, by Gadhafi forces. Aside from the aircraft that was shot down by the French, have there been any other aircraft detected?

And also, you went over where -- some areas where, very quickly, where the Gadhafi forces are attacking. Can you go over that in a little bit more detail, and any other areas where attacks are increasing or decreasing?

ADM. GORTNEY: Well, it’s -- first off, let’s talk about the combat air forces. The reason I chose the language that I did is, it’s -- I don’t want to imply that we’ve been 100 percent effective, but they are not effective at all. I don’t -- we have not detected them flying. That does not mean that they haven’t been flying. We just have not detected them flying.

And we’re continuing 24 hours a day airborne early warning, 75 percent provided by the coalition. So I’m fairly confident that if they were flying, we would have detected it. But that said, nothing is -- nothing is a certain.

As to where they are fighting, the key area, as we’ve mentioned, is Zentan, around Zentan, Misrata , and of course Ajdabiya. And it’s in those particular areas where we’re working from around the city to go after the C-2 architecture that’s around there, their logistics, their ammo depots, to put pressure upon those forces inside the city itself. But we are not attacking -- we are not striking inside the city.

Q: Admiral, one of your first charts was a layout of where your coalition aircraft are flying from before they go to their air patrols or to strike targets.

Can you talk us through what a typical sortie has looked like for you? How long are your aircraft spending in the air? How many times are they tanking? And just what kind of wear and tear is this taking on the air power involved here?

ADM. GORTNEY: OK, let’s go to slide three, please.

The aircraft are launching from many bases around Europe and from the two aircraft carriers, as well as our amphibious ship, the Kearsarge. Where they’re launching from, we’re leaving those nations to announce for it. They’ll be refueling on the way there, and then they will take station on -- on the cap stations that are annotated on the slide.

From there, if they’re in the defensive combat air mission, they’ll stay there waiting tasking from the airborne -- AWACS aircraft, the early-warning aircraft; probably tank one or two times while they’re on station, always maintaining airplanes. While one cap station would be tanking, they’ll keep somebody that has enough gas to prosecute to push inland if they’re needed to and then probably tank on their return home. I would say the missions are on the order of five to six hours in length, depending upon where the airplanes are taking off from.

Q: Could you explain, after the coalition take -- the coalition partner takes the lead, can you give us any sense of what the level of participation will be by the United States -- (inaudible)?

ADM. GORTNEY: The -- it depends on the type of participation. Our guidance is very clear. We are going to give up the command position, as we said from the very beginning, help enable the command and control, but give up the command positions and be participants in that process but not in command.

And then we’re going to continue to provide predominantly those capabilities that we have that are unique that enable the operations, as well as additional capacity that the coalition may not have that we do bring to the fight. An example would be tankers, some of our ISR platforms. And I would anticipate that we would continue to provide some of the interdiction strike packages as well, should that be needed by the coalition.

Q: And last -- one last question. We’ve been asking this question for days now about communications, official or otherwise, with rebel forces on the ground, between the U.S. and rebel forces on the ground. Could you answer in English about what the level is right now of that communication?

ADM. GORTNEY: We’re not communicating with the coalition on the ground.

Q: (Inaudible).

ADM. GORTNEY: At the -- at the -- we’re not -- I misspoke. We’re not communicating with the opposition forces on the ground, mil- to-mil communications with the opposition forces on the ground. We see the same reporting in the diplomatic channels, but when it comes to the coalition -- I mean, the opposition military forces and our military forces, we are not communicating.


Q: Admiral, over the past four or five days, the average number of American sorties, overall sorties, has been about 70 percent per day. It looks like, according to what we’re hearing through diplomatic channels, that the passage of command could occur as early as tomorrow, maybe Saturday. Does that mean tomorrow or Saturday suddenly that percentage of American sorties is going to drop to 20 [percent], 10 [percent]? What does that -- what’s going to happen when that change of command -- or is it going to be in a fragmented drop --


Q: -- a phased drop?

ADM. GORTNEY: I -- because the details are still ongoing of what the command structure will be and what it will look like, and because of the nature of the -- as more coalition partners join and bring capability and come -- and come to bear, like Qatar, they will be supporting missions here in the next couple of days as they’re ready -- bedded down and ready to get on the air tasking order.

I would see it being phased over time. And the slope of that phase is -- needs to be worked -- we still need to do some more work on it.

Q: So do you think it could take two weeks, three weeks, a month? Any idea at all?

ADM. GORTNEY: I would not hazard to guess that at this particular point, sir, but I think we’ll have more clarity on that as the days progress.

Q: And just one follow-up. The French say they shot a Libyan warplane -- destroyed a Libyan -- after it has landed at Misrata . Does the coalition, the U.S., have any idea where that plane came from, where it had been, if it was even in the air?

ADM. GORTNEY: We don’t have any of those details just yet. We have not received from the French, the pilots, the air crews, mission reports yet. So we’re waiting for that information to get more of those details.

STAFF: Tony.

Q: Sir, can you -- can you shed a little more light on the air- to-ground activity? It seems like you’re not actually attacking vehicles, artillery or rockets; you’re going after command-and-control and fuel. Can you let -- give the public a sense of what actually -- are you pounding the heck out of their vehicles, tanks?

ADM. GORTNEY: When it comes to the fielded forces, those fielded forces that we can positively identify as a fielded force, as a tank, as an armored personnel carrier, as a treaded rocket launcher, that has the -- that the air crew are able to make a collateral damage estimate that does not put any of the people we are trying to protect at risk, then we are taking those targets under attack as well as the -- any command-and-control facility, any part of the integrated air and missile defense system that we discover up there -- those as well.

Q: Can you shed any light on this notion of, we’re sending messages to the Libyan military? To what extent are you using these Commando Solo airplanes and sorties to force radio messages onto their -- onto their -- onto their military frequencies to tell them, yeah, here’s what to do? Can you shed some light on that?

ADM. GORTNEY: Yeah, well, the -- we’re using, as far as to send our message, we’re using every tool that we have available in our toolkit, and I won’t into -- get into any more specifics than that.

But we’re telling them, as long as the forces continue to threaten or attack the Libyan people, they’re going to be subject to attack. And so our message is to -- don’t follow the regime’s orders; don’t attack the people; just cease fighting, stay in place, abandon your equipment; but, if you threaten the Libyan people, attack the Libyan people, we’re going to take you under attack.

Q: (Inaudible) to use this airplane, though Solo? Or are you dropping leaflets?

ADM. GORTNEY: We’re using every tool that we have in our toolbox.

Q: Admiral, can I ask you to just sort of bore down a little bit on the sortie rates? What exactly is included? When you say there are this many sorties, are you talking exclusively warplanes, are you talking tankers, are you talking about Commando Solo? What do you mean?

ADM. GORTNEY: We’re talking the range of missions, whether a tanker, whether it’s -- whether it’s the ISR, whether it’s the airborne early warning, the interdiction, defensive combat air patrol, as well as -- we are combining the interdiction mission with the aircraft that are tasked to detect and attack the mobile surface-to- air missiles. We’re calling -- we’re combining those too in that number.

Q: (Inaudible) -- through the airspace.

ADM. GORTNEY: Yes, sir, but that’s the -- that’s why we have a coalition air component commander, to write that air tasking order that does -- one of the primary missions is to make sure the effect is created on the battlefield, and that the flow of airplanes to and from and that they don’t bump.

STAFF: Thom.

Q: Admiral, have any Libyan forces loyal to Gadhafi quit fighting? Have they taken your advice?

ADM. GORTNEY: I’m not aware of any at this particular time.

Q: Admiral, as you prepare to hand over the command lead, I mean, can you give a sense of generally what that involves, to hand over operational command and command and control? I mean, what’s involved and how tricky is that to do?

ADM. GORTNEY: It’s hard work. I will go back and say less than seven days ago tonight, once again, the UNSCR was passed; 1500 Eastern Standard Time, we started on the IADS. That night we had a global power mission from three B-2s that took out an airfield, and we immediately went after it with tactical aircraft the fielded forces in the field just south of Benghazi.

We did it with the forces that we had available, with the C-2 architecture, command and control architecture that we had that was under U.S.-led. It’s a fairly diverse chain of command, operationally, tactically controlled by Admiral Locklear at sea. The air tasking order is written in Europe as well as the overall African commander, General [Carter] Ham, is up in -- up in Europe as well.

And so to work that same command and control architecture with different nations in different locations that also then still has the connectivity in IT support, the doctrine worked out, that is -- that is really, really hard work.

I think it’s pretty phenomenal how far we’ve come thus far, and we’re still working through the -- the pros that are out there are working through those final details.

STAFF: Yes, sir.

Q: Vice Admiral, the way things have gone at the moment, it looks like it’s heading for a stalemate. I know you say that you are enforcing the no-fly zone, the U.N. resolution. But President Obama has called for Colonel Gadhafi to go. Will you consider helping the rebels more directly, such as the way U.S. forces did in Afghanistan, with Special Forces on the ground? It looks like at the moment the rebels can’t actually break out under -- (inaudible) --

ADM. GORTNEY: Well, I’m going to focus on the task at hand, which is accomplishing the limited military mission that the president has assigned us. That’s enforcing the United Nations Security Council resolution and to work with our allies and partners, and that’s where the majority of our time and attention is spent.

STAFF: David.

Q: Admiral, as a military matter, if more restrictions were put on your ability to strike Libyan units on the ground, would you be able to carry out the mission of protecting civilians effectively? In other words, if there were changes to the ROE, going forward, that somehow limited your ability to strike them on the ground -- which has been discussed publicly by the Turks, et cetera -- I’m just trying to get a sense, as a military matter, whether that would -- how that would affect your operations.

ADM. GORTNEY: Having done this for a living before in the cockpit and at the operational and the tactical level in command other places in the world, with the mandate that we have, with the rules of engagement that we have, operating under right now, focused on executing the mission and not being very focused on the collateral damage concerns, that the air crew are very well trained to do that. We’re doing OK.

I’m not sure how they -- rules of engagement could be more restrictive than they already are, that we are not already applying on ourselves.

For instance, we are not attacking with tactical aircraft forces inside of a -- inside of a city. Nothing prevents us, in the rules of engagement, from doing that. We’re doing that because we are not sure -- we’re pretty -- we’re fairly confident we couldn’t achieve our -- meet our collateral damage concerns.

Q: Thank you, Admiral. Two questions quickly.

One, it seems that Russia and China at least are not with this mission -- is making any complicated your mission as far as Libya is concerned?

And second, in any way this mission on Libya is making any difference or any -- as far as your mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan is concerned?

ADM. GORTNEY: With nine additional coalition partners that are out there with the U.S., we’re able to execute the mission that’s been assigned to us as -- we’re able to execute the mission that were assigned to us.

As far as the capability that we have had to pull out of the Central Command, out of -- out of Iraq or Afghanistan, it’s the Amphibious Ready Group with the Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked, as well as five EA-18G Growlers out of Iraq that we brought out, and we’re accepting that risk there, and a -- and a single ISR platform. So ultimately it’s had very limited effect to the other fights.

Q: And quickly, how do you see this mission as far as going back to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, taking him out, and now taking this -- Gadhafi out?

ADM. GORTNEY: Well, we’re executing the mission that’s been assigned to us, which is to -- is to enforce the U.N. mandate.

Q: Admiral, what’s the military’s assessment of the humanitarian situation on the ground in Misrata, it’s understanding that people have been without power, without water, with medical supplies running low?

Is there any provision in this mission, if Gadhafi’s forces were to stop attacking, to begin delivering any humanitarian --

ADM. GORTNEY: Yes, AFRICOM is working with our international partners and nongovernmental agencies out there on the humanitarian- assistance mission -- on the planning for that mission.

Q: Admiral, I know that NATO has already sort of taken over the naval-blockade portion of the mission, but has the task force had conversations with Admiral [James] Stavridis about how exactly the transfer to NATO would take place and over what time period and how much control NATO would assume at different --

ADM. GORTNEY: Those are all of the complicated details that are being worked out by the team forward and the team here in town.

Q: Have they -- have you spoken with Admiral Stavridis already?

ADM. GORTNEY: We’re in very close consultation. All of the leadership is involved on working out those particular details, and I’m not at liberty to discuss any of those details just yet.

Q: Could I -- could I just follow up on my earlier question? I mean, your mandate is to protect civilians, but how can you protect civilians if you cannot launch any strikes in the cities, where it appears much of the fighting is now going on and there are not going to be any ground troops?

ADM. GORTNEY: Yeah. Well, that’s -- to do what we can to do to meet our collateral-damage concerns, which is to put pressure on Gadhafi’s forces that are outside the city. And so if you can work on their supply lines, their logistics capability, cut them off, they’re not going to be able to sustain their efforts inside the city.

Q: Are you confident that you can achieve your goal of preventing Gadhafi’s forces from attacking civilians by limiting your attacks to outside the city? Can you achieve your goal without striking them in the city?

ADM. GORTNEY: We’re -- we are working on achieving that goal as hard as we possibly can, meeting the constraints of, once again, the collateral damage concerns if we went inside the city.

Q: (Inaudible) revisit that notion over time?

ADM. GORTNEY: I’m not at liberty to discuss any future operations at this time.

STAFF: Luis?

Q: Admiral, can I ask you to clarify your statement earlier that the rules of engagement inside the cities is self-imposed? Does that mean you kicked the door open on potentially attacking Gadhafi forces inside cities? And what will it take to actually do that, for you to change those rules of engagement?

ADM. GORTNEY: Well, the -- once again, the reason that we’re not doing it is because of collateral damage concerns. And so unless we can find -- a mechanism to achieve the effect without harming the very people that we’re trying to protect is the challenge there. That’s hard work. That’s a very, very hard task to do, and we’re trying to do it to the best of our ability.

STAFF: Larry.

Q: Admiral, have you seen any signs that Gadhafi forces have heard these statements over the past few days that America is -- or the coalition has a self-imposed rule of engagement that keeps them from attacking inside cities, and are then moving into cities, knowing that they can operate relatively free reign there?

ADM. GORTNEY: We have no indication -- we’re not -- we have no assessment yet to the effect of our messaging effort at this time.

STAFF: This will be the last one.

Q: Could I follow up on that just very briefly? In terms of the orders that you’re -- direction you’re giving to the Libyan military -- stop the fighting, stop the killing, stop obeying the orders -- for those troops in Misrata , Ajdabiya, the cities, what is -- what specifically do they have to do to give up the fight and not be attacked? Because after all, if they leave those cities, there are armed rebels on the outskirts. I mean, can they -- I mean, what specifically would they have to do to avoid being attacked?

ADM. GORTNEY: Well, they need to cease fighting, either stay in place or abandon their equipment. I mean, if they are trying to -- (inaudible).

Q: Could they drive out with their tanks, could they head back to Tripoli with their armored vehicles --

ADM. GORTNEY: If we assess them -- if we assess that they are threatening the Libyan people by their action and we can positively identify them and meet our collateral damage concerns, we will take them under attack. Maybe they ought not use their tank or their armored personnel carrier as a mode of transportation to get home.

Q: Could they keep their arms, or would that be considered a threat to the people?

ADM. GORTNEY: We wouldn’t be able to determine whether or not they had their arms, their small arms.

STAFF: Okay, thanks, everybody. That’s it.


Coalition Continues to Defend Libyan Civilians

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 – Coalition forces continue to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, striking air defense capabilities and regime forces that threaten Libyan civilians, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said here today.

The director of the Joint Staff said during a Pentagon news conference that the coalition enforcing the United Nations resolution continues to grow in size and capabilities.

"Today there are nine other contributing nations, to include Qatar, and thousands of coalition military personnel involved in this effort," Gortney said. "They're deployed across Europe and on the Mediterranean, at bases ashore and on any of one of the 38 ships at sea."

The coalition continues to strike Moammar Gadhafi's integrated air defense capabilities, command-and-control facilities, logistics nodes and ammunition supplies, Gortney said.

"When and where regime forces threaten the lives of their own citizens, they will be attacked," he said. "When and where regime forces fly combat aircraft or fire at coalition aircraft, they will be attacked. And when and where regime forces attempt to break the embargo, they will be stopped."

Gortney said the coalition message to regime forces is simple: "stop fighting, stop killing your own people, stop obeying the orders of Colonel Gadhafi."

If they continue to attack their own people, the coalition will continue to hit them, he said.

In the 24 hours that ended at noon Eastern Standard Time, coalition ships and submarines launched another 14 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets ashore, the admiral said. The coalition flew a total of 130 sorties, 49 of which were designed to hit a designated target. "Of those total sorties, roughly half were flown by pilots from partner nations," Gortney said.

Partner nations flew roughly 75 percent of combat air patrol missions. "On Sunday, that figure was less than 10 percent," Gortney said.

More than 350 aircraft are involved in either enforcing the no-fly zone or protecting the civilian populace. Only slightly more than half belong to the United States, he said.

The United States will hand Operation Odyssey Dawn over to a coalition command structure as early as this weekend, Gortney said.

The coalition flew a total of 130 sorties yesterday. Sorties are not just warplanes carrying ordnance. They encompass the range of missions including air-to-air refuelers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, airborne warning and control aircraft, combat air patrol aircraft and strike aircraft.

This makes for a busy airspace over the Gulf of Sidra, and just de-conflicting the airspace requires finesse. "That's why we have a coalition air component commander, to write that air tasking order," Gortney said.

The air tasking order lays out the type of missions needed, where they fly, the flow of aircraft to and from the airspace and to make sure "that they don't bump," he said.


Pentagon Tallies Coalition Actions in Libya

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 – By the fifth day of coalition task force operations supporting a no-fly zone in Libya and protecting Libyan civilians, the 13-nation alliance had flown more than 300 sorties in the North African country, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

By 3 p.m. EDT yesterday, the United States had flown 212 sorties, other coalition sorties totaled 124, and Tomahawk missile launches numbered 162, officials said.

Officials said the 336 sorties included 108 strike sorties, meaning they encountered opposition from Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on March 17, demanding an end to violence against Libyan citizens and authorizing enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.

Task Force Odyssey Dawn, including forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada and Arab states, immediately shifted from humanitarian and refugee evacuation missions under way since March 4 to military air operations enforcing the resolution.

Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, task force commander, said yesterday the strikes are intended to open the door for international and nongovernmental organization humanitarian assistance efforts.

Locklear said the coalition's top priority is protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

With the no-fly zone established and "robust," the admiral said, "we are looking at the battle space as it changes, looking at the disposition of … Gadhafi's forces that are not complying with the U.N. Security Council resolution, and we are able to produce more of an effect."


Coalition Partners Assume More Responsibility in Libya

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 – Coalition task force operations in Libya continue to go well, and partner nations are picking up more of the workload, the chief of staff of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn told reporters today.

"Our efforts have been going well," Navy Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber told Pentagon reporters by telephone from the USS Whitney in the Mediterranean Sea on the sixth day of operations. "This is a multiphased operation. Our coalition partners are assuming more and more responsibility."

The 13-member coalition has achieved its objective to set up a no-fly zone over Libya, and no Libyan aircraft has flown in the past 24 hours, Hueber said. Libyan forces have not used surface-to-air missiles in four days, he added.

Sortie airstrikes have rendered Libya's air defense "severely degraded or destroyed," the admiral said.

Hueber said the coalition's mission is clear, as mandated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973: to protect civilians from attacks or the threat of attacks, to establish a no-fly zone to protect civilians and prevent mass atrocities, and to enforce the trade embargo against Libya.

To end the mission, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must stop Libyan forces from firing on civilians, he said. But forces loyal to Gadhafi continue to advance on Benghazi on Libya's northeastern coast, and are not pulling back from Misurata on the northwestern coast and Ajdabiya, just south of Benghazi, Hueber said. Widespread reports indicate Gadhafi's forces continue to fire on civilians and civilian sites in those cities, he added.

"He must stop advancing on those cities," Hueber said. "Clearly, Gadhafi's forces have not met those requirements and are in clear violation" of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

"We are pressuring Gadhafi's forces that are attacking those civilian populations," he added.

The coalition started out small, but quickly established the no-fly zone, obtained maritime superiority, put the embargo in place, interdicted ground forces, suppressed enemy air defenses and put humanitarian operations in place, Hueber said.

"This is a fully integrated coalition operation," he said. "Coalition ships, aircraft and staff are focused on the single mission of enforcing [Resolution] 1973."

The coalition has "accomplished quite a lot together," the admiral said, "and will continue to work together" until the resolution's objectives are met.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Libyan air force neutered

A Military Operations news article
24 Mar 11

The RAF's commander of the air operations over Libya, Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell, has reported that the Libyan air force "no longer exists as a fighting force."

Speaking from Gioia del Colle air base, near Bari in southern Italy, earlier this afternoon, AVM Bagwell said that the Libyan air force had been neutered by the coalition action:

"We are now applying sustained, unrelenting pressure on the Libyan armed forces. Their air force no longer exists as a fighting force, and its integrated air defence system and command and control networks are severely degraded to the point that we can operate over [Libyan] airspace with impunity," he said.

"As we continue to enforce the no-fly zone, we are watching over the innocent people of Libya and ensuring that we protect them from attack.

"We have the Libyan ground forces under constant observation, and we attack them whenever they threaten or attack civilians or population centres."

With the arrival on Tuesday night of the RAF Tornado GR4 jets at Gioia del Colle air base, all UK fast jets currently assigned to Operation ELLAMY are now in place.

The presence of the Tornados together with the Typhoon fighters means that the UK can strike both air and ground targets as required, as part of the coordinated international operation authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973.

The Chief of Defence Staff's Strategic Communications Officer, Major General John Lorimer, said today:

"UK air operations over Libya have continued. Alongside coalition partners, seven of whom have aircraft flying over Libya, the UK RAF Typhoons have been patrolling the no-fly zone of UNSCR 1973.

"The four RAF GR4 Tornados took off from the base in Gioia del Colle and have been conducting further air reconnaissance missions over Libya as part of Operation Ellamy. They returned to the base without releasing ordnance.

"NATO today announced the Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR as the NATO arms embargo, which aims to prevent arms being delivered to Libya via the Northern Coastal Flank. UK air and maritime forces will assist in this operation."

RAF Tornado GR4 fast jet stands by for missions over Libya at Gioia del Colle air base, near Bari in southern Italy
[Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
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RAF Typhoon aircraft is serviced at Gioia del Colle air base in southern Italy following a mission over Libya
[Picture: Senior Aircraftman Neil Chapman, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
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A Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Marham refuels from a Tristar tanker aircraft from the RAF's 216 Squadron
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
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DOD News Briefing with Rear Adm. Hueber via Telephone from USS Mount Whitney

Presenter: Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber

March 23, 2011

COL. DAVID LAPAN (deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations): Here at the Pentagon, we’re pleased to be joined today by Navy Rear Admiral Gerard P. Hueber, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, director for Policy, Resources and Strategy.

Admiral Hueber is here to give you an operational update via phone link again -- once again, as yesterday, from the USS Mount Whitney, afloat in the Mediterranean. Admiral Hueber became the director of Policy, Resources and Strategy at U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa in August of 2009. He is currently the chief of staff for Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the task force established to provide operational and tactical international response to the unrest in Libya, and enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

With that, admiral, I will turn things over to you.

ADM. GERARD HUEBER: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you, Dave. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn coalition operations in Joint Operating Area Libya.

Before I bring you up to date with our operational picture, let me just take a moment to give you an update on the F-15 incident. On the evening of March 21st, you’re all well aware, two U.S. Air Force crew members ejected safely from their F-15E Strike Eagle, after the aircraft encountered an equipment malfunction in eastern Libya while conducting a strike mission against pro-Gadhafi air defense systems in accordance with United Nations Security [Council] Resolution 1973.

Both those crew members are safe. They’re in U.S. care and are currently going through a reintegration process. And I think my boss yesterday, Adm. Locklear, also addressed that issue.

Before I bring you up to date with our operational picture, first let me take a few moments to specifically point out our mission. Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn mission is to conduct military operations to protect the civilian population from attack or threat of attack, in accordance with United Nations Security [Council] Resolution 1973; again, to protect civilians and civilian populations under attack; to establish a no-fly zone to help protect civilians and prevent mass atrocities; and to enforce an arms embargo to prevent the flow of arms and armed mercenaries from being used against civilians.

To achieve our mission, innocent civilians and population centers must be protected. Gadhafi’s forces must cease fire. All attacks against civilians must stop. Forces must have stopped advancing on Benghazi and be pulled back from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiyah, and humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

Clearly, Gadhafi’s forces have not met those requirements and are in clear violation of the U.N. Security [Council] Resolution 1973. There is widespread reporting indicating Libyan ground forces are engaged in fighting in a number of cities, including Ajdabiya and Misurata, and they are threatening a number of others, putting innocent civilians in grave danger.

In Ajdabiya, regime forces intensified combat in, into and out of the city. In Misurata, regime forces continue to clear opposition, increase combat operations and target civilian populations in the city. As a result, we are pressurizing Gadhafi’s forces that are attacking those civilian populations.

So yesterday Adm. Locklear, the joint task force commander, Odyssey Dawn, provided you with a strategic outlook on our current operations in Libya. I’d like to give you an operational update on the operations of the joint task force within the last 24 hours and how those operations have affected forces loyal to Libyan leader Gadhafi.

First, let me reiterate our mission, which is to conduct military operations to protect those civilian populations from attack or the threat of attack.

We are doing that with a number of coalition partners. Let me point out, this operation is a fully-integrated coalition operation. Coalition ships, aircrafts and staffs are focused on a single mission, which is the enforcement of the U.N. Security [Council] Resolution 1973. We started out small and have now established a no-fly zone. We have attained maritime superiority, put in place embargo operations, interdicted ground forces, suppressed enemy air defenses, and are allowing for humanitarian assistance, all as a coalition operation.

Let me give you an overview of the air picture. Our coalition air forces are indeed making a significant and vital contribution to this mission. I cannot underestimate the impact or overstate that impact they continue to make in efforts to protect the Libyan people. Libyan air forces have been interdicted and attrited. Those aircraft have either been destroyed or rendered inoperable. We have no confirmed flight activity by regime air forces over the past 24 hours.

As of yesterday -- again, I said we started off small and have developed this coalition.

Coalition air forces are now flying 55 percent of the entire sorties of this coalition. We calculate those sorties in a 24-hour cycle, and as of yesterday, the 22nd of March, there were 175 aircraft sorties, 113 which were U.S. and 63 coalition. That number has increased just from three days ago, where we were flying a 15 percent coalition sortie rate. [sic; During a 24-hour cycle for March 22, there were 175 aircraft sorties, 113 U.S. and 62 coalition, for a coalition air forces flying rate of 35 percent. That coalition sortie rate of 35 percent is an increase from March 20 when the coalition sortie rate was 13 percent.]

In air defense activities, we have degraded the Libyan strategic surface-to-air missile systems to a negligible threat.

We believe that air defense system elements are severely degraded or destroyed, and have been by these coalition forces. We have seen no related surface-to-air activity associated with target acquisitions since strikes began on March 19th. We will continue our focus on the regime’s air force network that continues to pose a threat to coalition air operations enforcing the no-fly zone.

But as I reiterated before, as I mentioned before, we are putting pressure on Gadhafi’s ground forces that are attacking civilian populations and cities. And while those ground forces are engaged in fighting in Ajdabiya and Misurata and are threatening those number of others, that pressure from Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn coalition partners will continue.

I’d be glad now to take your questions.


Q: Admiral, this is Bob Burns from AP. I’d like to ask you to elaborate on your comment there a minute ago about putting pressure on Gadhafi’s ground forces. I wonder if you could be a little bit more specific about progress you’ve made on that. For example, could you quantify in any way the amount of his ground forces that have either been disabled or destroyed or have defected or have been stood down deliberately? And so how much of his capability remains in the -- on -- in terms of ground forces?

ADM. HUEBER: Let me tell you, while I won’t go into specific percentages, I’ll just mention the cities. From Benghazi, which we now believe to be under opposition control, we have moved west to Ajdabiya. In Ajdabiya to Misurata, our targeting priorities are mechanized forces, artillery, those mobile integrated -- those mobile surface-to-air missile sites, interdicting their lines of communications which supply their beans and their bullets, their command and control and any opportunities for sustainment of that activity.

Q: We can follow, or no --

COL. LAPAN: Go ahead.

Q: Hi, Admiral. This is Courtney Kube from NBC News. On the sorties you mentioned, the 175 -- what’s the time frame for when those flew? And how many of those actually were airstrikes versus just flights?

ADM. HUEBER: That’s over a 24-hour cycle, so that cycle would have ended at - (pause) - zero-six hundred [6 a.m.] our time here this morning. And again, the total was 175, 113 U.S. and 63 [sic; 62] coalition.

That air cycle consists of defensive counter-air, suppression of enemy air defense -- of enemy air defenses, interdiction of those ground forces, a number of electronic warfare flights, but the number is not necessarily broken out by attacks.

Q: If I could just follow up, admiral, you mentioned, you know, the various targets, including mechanized forces and artillery and whatnot. Can you talk a little bit about the targets that include armor, tanks and whatnot? Are you surveilling those tanks and those forces before they’re struck to make sure that they are in fact attacking the populace and attacking the civilians, or is it just if they’re in the region, if they’re there, they’re considered a target of opportunity and they’re taken out?

ADM. HUEBER: I will tell you that part of that air plan, to your previous question, includes intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, the initial preparation of the environment for our forces.

So when those forces that are used -- those aircraft are used for either suppression of those enemy air defenses or interdiction of those mechanized forces or that artillery, that is done as part of an entire air plan, and again, as part of those coalition air operations.

Q: Can I somewhat follow up on that, and a little more specifically, admiral? Barbara Starr from CNN.

What are you -- how are you communicating to Libyan forces to tell them to position themselves to avoid attack if that is what they want to do? There is a good deal of information out there indicating that you have used Commando Solo or other airborne communications or methods to tell them to position themselves in a non-threatening manner.

So, one, how are you communicating to pro-Gadhafi forces? And, two, how and what are you communicating to rebel forces?

ADM. HUEBER: Barbara, thank you very much for your question.

As part of our coalition operation, we have methods, which I will not discuss; that we have the ability to pass that information and those communications that we have told both the opposition forces of how to maneuver, and we have also told Gadhafi’s forces of what they were expected to do in accordance with the UNSCR. And again, our view and our mission is perfectly clear of what we have asked those forces to do.

And that’s the cease-fire. All attacks against civilians must stop. The forces must stop advancing -- I mentioned Benghazi; be pulled back from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiyah -- and humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya. That message is being sent to the people of Libya and to Gadhafi’s forces.

Q: If I may follow up, what is your assessment of the current positioning of pro-Gadhafi forces in both Misurata and Ajdabiya?

ADM. HUEBER: I will tell you that the opposition in both of those cities is under attack and the civilian population in both of those cities attacked. And as I mentioned, in Misurata and Ajdabiya specifically, Gadhafi’s forces are targeting population centers specifically.

Q: (Off mic) -- to go into those cities with your attacks, how do you get them out of there? The pro-Gadhafi forces.

ADM. HUEBER: Yeah, Barbara, what I would like to do is go back to our mission, which was clearly stated by the United Nations Security [Council] Resolution, and which was mentioned specifically in the president’s speech. And that is that our mission is to protect those civilians and civilian population centers.

COL. LAPAN: Nathan.

Q: Admiral, Nathan Hodge of The Wall Street Journal.

You had described Benghazi at this point being under opposition control. Has there been any attempt by the coalition to reach out to the leadership of the opposition, to the leadership of rebel forces?

ADM. HUEBER: No, there has not.

Q: Admiral, hi. It’s David Cloud with the L.A. Times. I just want to try to understand as best I can the nature of your operations within Misurata and the other cities. Are you at the moment carrying out tactical airstrikes with -- in a kind of urban environment where you observe Libyan ground forces attacking, you know, opposition-held areas or obviously civilians? I mean, in other words, are you undertaking targets of opportunity in an effort to stop active combat operations by the Libyan forces?

ADM. HUEBER: In protecting those civilians, in accordance with what we’re doing with our coalition partners in our air plan, yes, we are interdicting and putting the pressure on Gadhafi’s forces that are attacking population centers.

Q: Detail what -- the nature of those strikes. In other words, are they primarily against fixed positions, armor, as you described? Or are there also attacks against units that are maybe on foot, in fact, I mean, carrying out attacks? Or is it artillery and mechanized units, or are there other sorts of attacks?

ADM. HUEBER: Yeah, again, as I’ve mentioned a couple times, what’s been expected of all forces, whether they be mechanized forces or artillery or air forces, they are to cease fire.

All attacks from -- against civilians must stop. And those forces that are advancing on the cities of Benghazi, Ajdabiya today, and Misurata today, must stop advancing and humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.


Q: Admiral, this is Anna Mulrine with the Christian Science Monitor. I wanted to follow up on operations in urban areas like Misurata. I mean, to what extent, you know, can you go in there to protect the population, you know, given the close urban situation? I mean, can you talk a little bit about the challenges of operating in an urban environment?

ADM. HUEBER: Thank you for your question. It’s an extremely complex and difficult environment. And our primary focus is to interdict those forces before they enter the city -- and again, I said they were targeting population centers in the city -- interdict those forces before they enter the city, cut off their lines of communication and cut off their command and control.

Q: Do you have any evidence that Libyan forces are standing down, that they’re responding to your information operations?

ADM. HUEBER: We have no indication that the Gadhafi’s forces are adhering to the United Nations Security [Council] Resolution 1973. And that is why we continue to pressurize those forces.

COL. LAPAN: Jennifer.

Q: Sir, Jennifer Griffin from Fox News. Of the sorties flown, how many of them were combat air patrol missions, CAP missions?

And of those, what percentage were American fighter planes involved in the CAP missions?

And further, there are reports, AP reports from the ground, that Gadhafi forces had pulled back from Misurata in recent hours. Are you saying those reports are wrong?

And finally, do you consider yourself at war right now?

ADM. HUEBER: Well, to answer the first question, I don’t have that information on the number of sorties that are broken out that way.

Second of all, our indications here are that Gadhafi’s forces are not adhering to the security resolution.

And, again, your last question?

Q: Do you consider yourself at war right now?

ADM. HUEBER: We are carrying out the mission of the United Nations Security [Council] Resolution 1973 and the direction of the president in his speech.


Q: Admiral, this is Joe Tabet with Al Hurra.

If Gadhafi doesn’t respond to the 1973 U.N. resolution, do you have a plan B to counter his ground forces? And are you confident that other countries within the coalition won’t send special forces on the ground to Libya?

ADM. HUEBER: It’s my primary focus today to discuss the current operations that we are in, and I would not project or discuss future military operations.

Q: But admiral, when do you think -- could you give us a timeline -- when do you think the U.S. is capable or is able to transfer the command to other countries within the coalition?

ADM. HUEBER: From the Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, I know that there are a number of discussions going on at a number of political levels, both national and international, where that decision will be decided. And we at Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, we will move to -- forward on those decisions.

Q: Admiral, Amy Butler with Aviation Week. I’d like to ask you about some hardware. I’m curious what impact, if any, could the emergence of the SA-24 [shoulder-fired missile] in that area have on air operations either now with the CAPs or in the future when you have to go lower level and do humanitarian ops. And secondly, can you give us a definitive answer on why the F-22 wasn’t used in any of these operations?

ADM. HUEBER: To tell you I wouldn’t want to get into the specific technical details, and I don’t have that second answer.

COL. LAPAN: David.

Q: Admiral, this is David Martin with CBS. I thought I heard you say in response to Barbara’s question that you were telling opposition forces how to maneuver. Did I hear you correctly? And what are you -- what are you telling them? Are you telling them not to go down such and such a road because we’re attacking there? And how does that sort with General Ham’s statements that there are no official communications with the opposition?

ADM. HUEBER: That’s true. I misstated that. The message we are providing is a message to the regime forces and telling them what they need to do to comply with the U.N. Security [Council] Resolution.

Q: (Off mic) -- forces anything.

ADM. HUEBER: Yeah, that’s true. I -- the answer that I had given was we are providing that to the regime forces. And that’s the message.


Q: Sir, Tom Vanden Brook from USA Today. Have your coalition attacks within cities caused any civilian casualties?

ADM. HUEBER: Yeah, there have been no reports of civilian casualties. Our mission here is to protect the civilian populace. And we choose our targets and plan our actions with that as a top priority.

Q: Thank you, admiral. This is Lalit Jha from Press Trust of India. Statements coming out of BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China -- and South Africa are calling for a cease-fire now. Is it the right time to call for a cease-fire? When do you think that could be the time for it?

ADM. HUEBER: To achieve our mission, the innocent civilians in the population centers must be protected. The Gadhafi’s forces must cease fire, and all attacks against civilians must stop. The forces of Gadhafi must be pulled back from Ajdabiya, Misurata and Zawiyah. Our efforts have been going well. I can’t speculate on conclusion dates, but I want to stress this is a multi-phase operation designed to enforce the U.N. Security [Council] Resolution and deny the Libyan regime the ability to use its force against its own people.

Our coalition partners continue to make great contribution to the mission; assume more and more responsibility.

COL. LAPAN: Want to try to clarify?

Q: Admiral, just to clarify something, you were asked whether or not there were civilian casualties as a result of your attacks inside Libyan cities. So just to make sure we all understand, are U.S. forces or coalition forces in fact now attacking inside cities? And second, do you have any communications with opposition or rebel forces?

ADM. HUEBER: Barbara, I don’t want to discuss specific locations. Again, there have been no reports of civilian casualties. Our mission here is to protect the civilian populace, and we choose those targets and we plan our actions with that as a top priority.


Q: Tony Capaccio, with Bloomberg News. Can you quantify for the public this pressurizing on Gadhafi’s forces? How many bombs have you dropped in the last two or three days? Do you have those statistics?

ADM. HUEBER: No, I do not have those statistics.

Q: (Off mic) -- there in the cost of the campaign every day.

I have a second question. To what extent are Gadhafi’s premier units -- the 32nd, commanded by his son, and the 9th Brigade -- involved in the attacks on the cities that you’re trying to quell?

ADM. HUEBER: Those forces are fully engaged in this conflict that is attacking those civilian populations.

Q: (Off mic) -- aggressively?

ADM. HUEBER: If you could please repeat that question? We --

Q: Are you attacking aggressively the 32nd Brigade, commanded by Gadhafi’s son, and the 9th Brigade, his two premier units?

Are those being attacked with some vigor?

ADM. HUEBER: Yeah, I wouldn’t discuss the specific targets, and we don’t -- we don’t call out specific units for attack.

COL. LAPAN: Patty.

Q: What are the boundaries of the no-fly zone right now? Where are you flying?

ADM. HUEBER: (Audio break) -- in the joint operation area that has been established for this operation. As I said, we started out small. And as the coalition has grown, we have expanded the no-fly zone from the west -- excuse me -- from the east over Benghazi and have moved that. As forces have reported on station, we’ve moved that clearly to the west.

Q: So how far to the west? Are you covering -- we’ve been hearing since Sunday that the no-fly zone is effectively in place, but is it a no-fly zone over all of the coastal areas? Where -- (audio break)?

ADM. HUEBER: The no-fly zone is established over Libya, and we have no indications of air traffic in the last days.

Q: (Audio break) -- from boundary to boundary?

ADM. HUEBER: Boundary to boundary on the coasts.

Q: Admiral, Chris Lawrence from CNN.

You mentioned that you have very good intelligence and surveillance of what Gadhafi’s forces are doing on the ground. What specific armament have you observed his forces using on civilians? Is he using tanks, mortars? What sort of artillery capability have you specifically observed?

ADM. HUEBER: Thank you for the question. Tanks, artillery, rocket launchers.

Q: And is that outside of the major cities, Misurata? Or is that -- are you noticing those being used inside the cities?

ADM. HUEBER: It is outside, and they are making incursions into the city and targeting the population centers in those cities with that equipment.

COL. LAPAN: (Off mic) -- wrap up. Jennifer?

Q: Secretary Clinton said yesterday that there were reports that Gadhafi’s son may have been killed. Can you confirm those reports?

ADM. HUEBER: I have no information on that.

COL. LAPAN: All right. This will be our last question.

Q: Thank you, admiral. Raghubir Goyal from Asia Today.

Mr. Gadhafi is saying that he will not leave until you leave, and there is no cease-fire, and he’s still killing his own people on the ground. What I’m asking is, how can you take him out without having your ground forces inside Libya? Because he’s not now agreeing with the 1973 U.N. Security Council Resolution, as you said.

So what is the next step for you to get him out and protect the civilians -- (inaudible) -- killed more, in the thousands?

ADM. HUEBER: Thank you for the question. The coalition is not targeting Gadhafi. The focus on our mission is to uphold the U.N. Security [Council] Resolution, which includes protecting Libyan civilians and enforcing of the no-fly zone.

Q: Can I ask you: Can you achieve your mission of U.N. Security Council 1973 without ground forces?

ADM. HUEBER: I lost you there. Can you say the question again, please?

Q: Can you achieve your mission of 1973 U.N. Security Council Resolution without ground forces?

ADM. HUEBER: Our mandate now is to enforce the no-fly zone and to allow humanitarian assistance to be available to the Libyan people.

Q: (Off mic) -- kill more people.

COL. LAPAN: We’ve got to go.

Q: Admiral, it’s Tony Capaccio with Bloomberg again. Can you characterize the level of violence against the civilian population since the allied campaign began on Saturday? Has it intensified or remained the same? The impression we get from you is, it’s gotten worse since the allies started bombing. Is that accurate?

ADM. HUEBER: Our intelligence today that there’s no indication that Gadhafi’s forces are pulling back from Misurata or Ajdabiya.

Q: Has it intensified since Saturday is what I’m asking, not what they’re doing right now.

ADM. HUEBER: The U.N. Security [Council] Resolution is clear. And that is that there is a cease-fire, and those forces must stop all attacks against civilians, and the forces must stop advancing on those cities, and that humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people in Libya.

COL. LAPAN: Okay, admiral, we’re out of time here, and I’ll send it back to you for any closing remarks.

ADM. HUEBER: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today. You brought up some tough questions, but that’s why I’m here: to ensure you have a clear understanding of what the coalition forces are doing.

In my opinion, the coalition has accomplished quite a lot together. We’ll continue to work together to ensure the protection and security of the people of Libya from violence at the hands of the current regime and that violence and attacks against civilians must stop. While using ground forces for this effort is not an option, let me clarify, there should be no mistaking our sincere commitment to protecting the Libyan people.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you today. Thanks to the press for taking the time to tell the story of the efforts our forces are taking to successfully meet the objectives of the mission clearly expressed in the United Nations Security [Council] Resolution 1973.

As military and our civilian leaders have previously said, this is a broad international effort. We’re working day and night, carefully planning the way ahead to transition to a coalition lead for this operation. We’re doing our very, very best to move ahead expeditiously, yet remain vigilant in our concerns for the future of the people of Libya.

I’m proud of the work we are doing together and look forward to our future achievements. Again, thank you so much for the opportunity.