Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Global Deployments of United States Combat-Equipped Armed Forces
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
I am providing this consolidated supplemental report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of U.S. combat-equipped armed forces around the world. This supplemental report covers operations in support of the global war on terrorism, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On March 21, 2003, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, I reported that I had directed U.S. Armed Forces, operating with other coalition forces, to commence combat operations on March 19, 2003, against Iraq. Thereafter, I included information regarding the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq in reports on Iraq to the Congress under Public Laws 107-243 and 102-1, as amended. On July 2, 2004, I delegated to the Secretary of State the authority to make these detailed reports on Iraq, but I am including information about the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq in this consolidated war powers report.
The Global War on Terrorism
Since September 24, 2001, I have reported, consistent with Public Law 107- 40 and the War Powers Resolution, on the combat operations in Afghanistan against al-Qaida terrorists and their Taliban supporters, which began on October 7, 2001, and the deployment of various combat-equipped and combat-support forces to a number of locations in the Central, Pacific, and Southern Command areas of operation in support of those operations and of other operations in our global war on terrorism.
I will direct additional measures as necessary in the exercise of the U.S. right to self-defense and to protect U.S. citizens and interests. Such measures may include short-notice deployments of special operations and other forces for sensitive operations in various locations throughout the world. It is not possible to know at this time either the precise duration of combat operations or the precise scope and duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States.
United States Armed Forces, with the assistance of numerous coalition partners, continue to conduct the U.S. campaign to pursue al-Qaida terrorists and to eliminate support to al-Qaida. These operations have seriously degraded al-Qaida's training capabilities. United States Armed Forces, with the assistance of numerous coalition partners, ended the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and are actively pursuing and engaging al-Qaida and remnant Taliban fighters. United States forces also have supported the International Security Assistance Force in providing security in connection with the Afghan elections.
The United States continues to detain several hundred al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who are believed to pose a continuing threat to the United States and its interests. The combat-equipped and combat-support forces deployed to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the U.S. Southern Command area of operations since January 2002, continue to conduct secure detention operations for enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.
The U.N. Security Council authorized a Multinational Force (MNF) in Iraq under unified command in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1511 of October 16, 2003, and reaffirmed its authorization in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004, noting the Iraqi Interim Government's request to retain the presence of the MNF. The mission of the MNF is to contribute to security and stability in Iraq, including by assisting in building the capability of Iraqi security forces and institutions, as the Iraqi people plan democratic elections and as reconstruction continues. The U.S. contribution to the MNF is more than 135,000 military personnel.
In furtherance of our efforts against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, our friends and allies, and our forces abroad, the United States continues to work with friends and allies in areas around the world. U.S. combat-equipped and combat-support forces are located in the Horn of Africa region, and the U.S. forces headquarters element in Djibouti provides command and control support as necessary for military operations against al-Qaida and other international terrorists in the Horn of Africa region, including Yemen. These forces also assist in enhancing counterterrorism capabilities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Eritrea, and Djibouti. In addition, the United States continues to conduct maritime interception operations on the high seas in the areas of responsibility of all of the geographic combatant commanders. These maritime operations have the responsibility to stop the movement, arming, or financing of international terrorists.
NATO-Led Kosovo Force (KFOR)
As noted in previous reports regarding U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, the U.N. Security Council authorized Member States to establish KFOR in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999. The mission of KFOR is to provide an international security presence in order to deter renewed hostilities; verify, and, if necessary, enforce the terms of the Military Technical Agreement between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (which is now Serbia and Montenegro); enforce the terms of the Undertaking on Demilitarization and Transformation of the former Kosovo Liberation Army; provide day-to-day operational direction to the Kosovo Protection Corps; and maintain a safe and secure environment to facilitate the work of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
Currently, there are 23 NATO nations contributing to KFOR. Eleven non-NATO contributing countries also participate by providing military personnel and other support personnel to KFOR. The U.S. contribution to KFOR in Kosovo is about 1,800 U.S. military personnel, or approximately 10 percent of KFOR's total strength of approximately 18,000 personnel. In addition, U.S. military personnel occasionally operate from Macedonia, Albania, and Greece in support of KFOR operations.
The U.S. forces have been assigned to a sector principally centered around Gnjilane in the eastern region of Kosovo. For U.S. KFOR forces, as for KFOR generally, maintaining a safe and secure environment remains the primary military task. The KFOR operates under NATO command and control and rules of engagement. The KFOR coordinates with and supports UNMIK at most levels; provides a security presence in towns, villages, and the countryside; and organizes checkpoints and patrols in key areas to provide security, protect minorities, resolve disputes, and help instill in the community a feeling of confidence.
In accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, the UNMIK continues to transfer additional competencies to the Kosovar Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, which includes the President, Prime Minister, multiple ministries, and the Kosovo Assembly. The UNMIK retains ultimate authority in some sensitive areas such as police, justice, and ethnic minority affairs.
NATO continues formally to review KFOR's mission at 6-month intervals. These reviews provide a basis for assessing current force levels, future requirements, force structure, force reductions, and the eventual withdrawal of KFOR. NATO has adopted the Joint Operations Area plan to regionalize and rationalize its force structure in the Balkans. The UNMIK international police and the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) have full responsibility for public safety and policing throughout Kosovo except in the area of Mitrovica, where the KFOR and UNMIK share this responsibility due to security concerns. The UNMIK international police and KPS also have begun to assume responsibility for guarding patrimonial sites and established border-crossing checkpoints. The KFOR often augments security in particularly sensitive areas or in response to particular threats.
NATO-Led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR)
Regarding U.S. contributions in support of peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.N. Security Council authorized, in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1551 of July 9, 2004, Member States to continue SFOR for an additional period of 6 months in anticipation of the conclusion of SFOR's operations, and the commencement of a European Union (EU) mission, including a military component, in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the end of 2004. The mission of SFOR is to provide a deterrent presence to help stabilize and consolidate the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, contribute to a secure environment, and perform key supporting tasks including support to the international civil presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The U.S. force contribution to SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina is approximately 1,000 personnel. United States personnel comprise approximately 12 percent of the approximately 8,500 personnel assigned to SFOR. Currently, 20 NATO nations and 8 others provide military personnel or other support to SFOR. Most U.S. forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina are assigned to Multinational Task Force, North, headquartered near the city of Tuzla. United States forces continue to support SFOR efforts to apprehend persons indicted for war crimes and to conduct counterterrorism operations.
In June 2004 at the Istanbul Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government welcomed the offer of the EU to establish a new and separate mission in Bosnia, including a military component, and decided to establish a new NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo at the end of SFOR's operations. This NATO Headquarters, to which U.S. forces will be assigned, will have the principal task of providing advice on defense reform. The NATO headquarters also will undertake certain supporting operational tasks, including counterterrorism and supporting the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia with regard to the detention of persons indicted for war crimes.
I have directed the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in all of these operations pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. Officials of my Administration and I communicate regularly with the leadership and other Members of Congress with regard to these deployments, and we will continue to do so.
GEORGE W. BUSH
NOTE: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Ted Stevens, President pro tempore of the Senate.
George W. Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Global Deployments of United States Combat-Equipped Armed Forces Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/214244