STATEMENT OF VICE ADMIRAL DANIEL J. MURPHY, JR., U.S. NAVY COMMANDER, U. S. SIXTH FLEET AND STRIKING AND SUPPORT FORCES, SOUTHERN EUROPE
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you again. It was a privilege to command Navy and Marine Corps forces during operations ALLIED FORCE and JOINT GUARDIAN. We learned a lot, and improved as we learned. I am very proud of, and thankful for, the professionalism, bravery, initiative and tenacity so routinely displayed by the U.S. sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines who fought and won the struggle for Kosovo. I am also thankful to this committee for ensuring our personnel were ready, with adequate training and equipment, when called to fight the first conflict in Europe since World War II.
ALLIED FORCE was a tough operation. We faced a determined foe with a robust, multi-layered, sophisticated air defense; very rugged terrain; and terrible weather. Each, in and of itself, posed a significant challenge. Together, they formed an operational environment less hospitable than any encountered since Vietnam. We could not have prevailed without the terrific teamwork, responsiveness, and enduring stamina of our men and women.
The teamwork among service components and with the Joint Force Commander was also commendable. Sixth Fleet planners worked alongside their Air Force counterparts for months prior to the outbreak of hostilities. The Air Component Commander, LTG Michael Short, and I co-chaired a Joint Target Coordination Board that made target recommendations to Admiral Ellis, the Joint Force Commander. With LTG Short as the lead component commander, Sixth Fleet played a strong supporting role throughout the development and execution of the air campaign. Numerous joint initiatives such as digital target folders, new collateral damage methodology, and the Flex Target Cell were developed by our inter-service team. This Sixteenth Air Force / Sixth Fleet planning alliance which formed the basis upon which the NATO effort was built, characterizes the maturity of joint collaboration and effectiveness thirteen years after enactment of Goldwater-Nichols legislation.
The heart of modern naval capability resides in our carrier battle groups (CVBG) and amphibious ready groups / marine expeditionary units (ARG/MEU). Their combined presence offers a wide range of flexible, responsive options to the theater CINC to meet any crisis or contingency. NASSAU ARG and 24 MEU were on scene in the Adriatic when ALLIED FORCE began. The THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle Group arrived two weeks into the conflict. Originally bound for the Arabian Gulf, ROOSEVELT was redirected to Operation ALLIED FORCE when it became clear the initial air strikes were not going to force Milosevic to the bargaining table. This diversion was not without cost, as it resulted in USS KITTY HAWK being ordered on short notice to fill the U.S. Navys carrier commitment to CENTCOM. The redirection of ROOSEVELT and Carrier Air Wing Eight to the EUCOM theater reflects a fundamental element of naval readiness: our forces have to train, and be ready on arrival, for multiple theaters and missions. For the moment, I am confident our deployed naval forces are sufficiently ready. Should, however, we lose the integrated live training of the Vieques range, without identification of an equivalent substitute, we will lose our ability to be ready on arrival. Not being ready does not carry with it an option to not do the job: we will always do the job, but at the cost of higher risk to our aviators and marines.
Readiness is essential to responsiveness. Throughout ALLIED FORCE and JOINT GUARDIAN, the Sixth Fleet applied striking and expeditionary power with an agility available only to relatively small (as compared to the totality of effort), self contained forces. The Joint Force Commander and Air Component Commander relied on this maritime responsiveness to meet the most demanding tactical timelines.
1. In mid April, CINCEUR became concerned over the possibility of a Yugoslav air attack against Task Force Hawk in Albania. The source of the threat, Podgorica Airfield, was only 30 miles from the Albanian border. General Clark ordered an attack that day. To meet the tasking, LTG Short assigned Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) aboard THEODORE ROOSEVELT. The carriers proximity to the Albanian coast, and self-sufficiency in support and strike planning, enabled the attack to occur well inside the Air Tasking Order planning cycle. In fewer than eight hours, Air Wing Eight and ROOSEVELT planned the strike, uploaded ordnance, briefed the aircrews, launched forty-eight aircraft and conducted a devastating strike against Podgorica airfield; destroying key facilities and more than two dozen aircraft in underground hangars.
2. The NASSAU Amphibious Ready Group and Marines of 24 MEU offered NATO immediately available ground forces from the conflicts outset. TWO FOUR MEU was first called upon to provide security at refugee camps in Macedonia. Their SEAL detachment next teamed with the deployed Marine FAST platoon to secure our embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, within hours after it was ransacked on 25 March by demonstrators protesting the NATO bombing. As the refugee flow shifted to Albania, the ARG/MEU moved from the Aegean to the Adriatic and commenced AV-8B strike sorties into Kosovo. Simultaneously, 24 MEU Marines teamed with MH-53 helicopters from USS INCHON to distribute supplies and help build refugee camps in Albania. In mid-stride the NASSAU ARG/24 MEU was relieved by the KEARSARGE ARG/26 MEU.
When President Milosevic capitulated, the ARG/MEU swung back to the Aegean and in 48 hours inserted two thousand Marines through Greece and Macedonia into Kosovo. Fully integrated into the NATO command structure yet self-sustaining, the MEU performed flawlessly as the U.S. contribution to the Initial Entry Force and graphically demonstrated Navy and Marine responsiveness and flexibility.
Essential contributors to effective force employment were theater-based ordnance, maintenance, and fuel.
While we met all our TLAM mission requirements during ALLIED FORCE, this and other recent combat operations have eroded already low stockpiles, necessitating routine cross decking between deployed ships. Since October 1998, we have moved significant numbers of TLAM among 17 ships and submarines to meet minimum requirements in both the European and Central Command regions. Because TLAM transfers can only be conducted in port, the evolutions are subject to host nation approval. Our experience indicates that even with our closest allies, such approval is not guaranteed.
High expenditure rates of air to ground precision ordnance during ALLIED FORCE exposed shortfalls in our stocks of laser-guided bombs and assemblies. While pre-positioned munitions ships provided timely re-supply, and cross-service lateral support offered stop-gap availability, we could not have continued much beyond the end of the campaign without replenishment from stocks belonging to other CINCs. On the final day of the air campaign, reserves from the Atlantic and Pacific Commands were being readied for immediate shipment to Europe.
Navy and Marine Corps units were universally in top material condition throughout the conflict. Organic repair capability in our CVBGs, ARGs, and MEUs is of high quality. Recent investments in CVBG and ARG intermediate maintenance capability are serving us well. Theater logistics infrastructure is as good as ever and repair part delivery from CONUS is timely.
Our existing, organic fuel storage and distribution capability provides quality support during routine operations and proved essential during ALLIED FORCE. As a result of recent shore based fuel stock and infrastructure drawdowns, two prepositioned fuel ships were required to provide critical aviation fuel during the initial phases of the air campaign. Without the partnership of the Military Sealift Command and Sixth Fleet Combat Logistics Force, joint air operations would have been impacted while emergency commercial fuel contracts were being put in place.
The day ROOSEVELT arrived on station in the Ionian Sea, only 10 days after beginning her regularly scheduled deployment, Air Wing Eight began dropping bombs. During the operation, 56% of CVW-8 sorties achieved a confirmed hit on assigned targets (as defined by sorties with confirmed hits divided by sorties that were assigned a target). Given the weather, terrain and lethality of Serbian air defenses, this is a remarkable record of achievement. Even so, the first days went less well than we had hoped. Inexperience in live ordnance delivery, insufficiency of pre-deployment laser guided bomb training, shortfalls in end-to-end ordnance systems testing and training, and operational area unfamiliarity all contributed. The rapid improvement in CVW-8 effectiveness is a tribute to their tenacity and professionalism, and to the high overall quality of our people.
In addition to the seamless integration of Navy and Marine Corps tactical aircraft into the Allied Air campaign, TLAM played a key role. For the first time ever, and largely through the initiative of a Navy-led joint strike planning team, TLAM was used as a tactically responsive weapon. Whether it was an urgent counter-IADS attack requested by the Air Component Commander or a key facility in downtown Belgrade, TLAM was responsive, accurate, and effective. At key times, when weather precluded effective laser guided munitions delivery, it was the few TLAM platforms that kept the air campaign moving.
A true 24-hour a day, all weather weapon, Tomahawk accounted for nearly 50% of the key fixed targets, such as leadership headquarters and electrical power distribution sites, destroyed in Serbia and Kosovo. Tomahawk was also effective against mobile targets -- aircraft, re-locatable SA3 sites, and early warning radars. Eighty five percent of the mobile targets attacked by TLAM were damaged or destroyed; a remarkable testimony to this weapons utility and effectiveness.
Not long ago, the timeline from TLAM planning to missile launch was measured in days. During ALLIED FORCE, the process was condensed to as little as a few hours. This significant increase in timeliness, a result of enhanced connectivity and improved planning procedures, essentially provides the Joint Force Commander and Air Component Commander a 24-hour on-call strike capability.
Local Air Superiority
Despite a concentrated and sustained effort, the Yugoslav Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) remained functional throughout 79 days of combat air operations. Fortunately, integrated employment of enemy air defense suppression, altitude sanctuaries, and precision standoff weapons allowed us to create enough local air superiority to consistently achieve our targeting objectives.
The majority of strikes were conducted by tactical aircraft delivering laser-guided bombs. Sanctuaries were created for these aircraft through the use of tactics designed to suppress air defense systems. Key was the EA-6B Prowler, our nations only stand off jammer, which was required for all manned strike missions over Yugoslavia. While our dedicated jammer force performed brilliantly, high demand has degraded the Prowler community with respect to aircrew training, scheduled airframe maintenance, and PERSTEMPO. In the future, our dependence on limited numbers of EA-6B aircraft may be reduced through the increased use of GPS-guided and standoff weapons. Even so, the requirement will not disappear, and this critical jamming capability must be sustained.
While, in this conflict, laser-guided bombs were the most often employed weapon, standoff GPS-guided weapons, such as TLAM, CALCM, JDAM, and JSOW, provided another form of local air superiority through the benefits of distance, altitude, and all-weather delivery. The increased deployment and integration of these weapons offer the Joint Force Commander a greater range of employment options for precision engagement, at reduced risk.
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
The contribution of Navy intelligence and surveillance assets to the joint effort was substantial. With only 21% of the SIGINT platforms, Navy EP-3 aircraft flew 36% of the missions, providing vital tactical intelligence to operational forces. EP-3 aircraft were integral to the success of strike operations as well as the rescue of our two downed airmen. P-3C aircraft conducted continuous armed surveillance of the Montenegrin coast, pinning down the Yugoslav Navy in their own ports. Backed by surface combatants and attack submarines, they protected Adriatic shipping, the sea movement of Task Force Hawk sustainment, and the coast of Italy.
Interoperability and Connectivity
Inter-service cooperation and joint interoperability are among the most significant success stories of ALLIED FORCE. We shared planning, execution and sustainment responsibilities from the outset.
Key to effective teamwork was the quality, availability and reliability of joint connectivity. The secure video-teleconference system, Secure Internet Protocol Routing Network or SIPRNET, and common commercial presentation tools (each a breakthrough technology) were widely used. None existed during the time of Desert Storm. ALLIED FORCE was essentially planned and directed using secure video-teleconference and email. Through these new mediums each operational commander was able to contribute to and benefit from a common operational perspective. Effective connectivity allowed us to reach any area of the globe to collaborate across service and organizational boundaries.
Though joint doctrine calls for the component commanders to be co-located with the Joint Force Commander, none of us was. Modern technology allowed us to position wherever it made the best tactical sense. We communicated effectively and continuously via video teleconference, email, and secure telephone. ALLIED FORCE moved us close to the Navy vision of Network Centric Warfare. Clearly, global collaborative planning and distributed joint fires hold great promise for the future