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Source: Center for Defense Information (CDI), ‘Are We Ready: Q & A With Rear Adm. Stephen H. Baker, Senior Fellow’, 12 September 2002, http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/ready.cfm Baker Url: http://www.cdi.org/aboutcdi/sbaker.html [begin] The following interview has no intent to promote or support the initiation of hostilities between U.S. and coalition forces with Iraq. It is assumed that the more desirable financial, diplomatic and economic resources of the United Nations in concert with the United States will be fully pursued to identify, control and contain any proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that military action would be the last resort after all other possible alternatives have been exhausted. Nonetheless, the U.S. Armed Forces have to be as operationally ready as possible to be able to respond effectively to official tasking from the administration. This interview addresses questions that repeatedly have been asked concerning the U.S. military's preparations for and execution of armed conflict with Iraq. Q. How important is the factor of weather regarding military operations in Iraq? Several reports say that the summer months are too hot to consider an invasion. A. The summer months are ending soon. A severe drought does continue to plague Iraq and parts of the Middle East — the worst conditions in more than 30 years. Temperatures routinely reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the months from April through October. This fact alone would complicate and slowdown movements of armored vehicles or tanks and troops in protective bio-chemical gear during that period. Shorter days and cooler temperatures in the winter months naturally point to a more advantageous environment for U.S. military operations. Q. What critical actions have to occur for U.S. forces to be ready to invade Iraq? A. It does not make sense to conduct intense combat operations in Iraq without several strategic assets in place. Towards the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean areas can have at least six carrier battle groups on scene. The presence and flexible availability of more than 250 precision strike aircraft and more than 2,000 Tomahawk Cruise missiles coupled with two to four Amphibious Ready Groups with Marine Expeditionary Units embarked is a tremendous gathering of firepower. All would be available to support an invasion of Iraq, at sea and on call. Several squadrons of F-117A Nighthawks would also be expected to forward deploy, possibly to Incirlik, Turkey or the al Udeid airbase in Qatar that has new state-of-the-art "bomb-proof" hangers. During Desert Storm, the stealth fighters were the only coalition jets allowed to strike targets inside Baghdad's city limits. Q. Do you think the United States will act alone in these strikes, or will other coalition forces be involved in direct action against Iraq? A. When U.S. President George W. Bush appeared before the United Nations on Sept. 12, he called for all the countries that have joined the cause against terrorism to join him in his efforts to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Britain is an obvious partner, but it is clear that the administration wants to have as many countries as possible to be on board. Widespread political, domestic and international support is critical for any truly successful campaign against terrorism. This does not necessarily mean we need a massive build up of allied foreign combat troops, tanks or aircraft. The tremendous capabilities that the United States has available will suffice, but the criticality for the availability of bases in Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Diego Garcia cannot be over-emphasized. Denial of the use of these bases would vastly complicate any military operation in the area and, could be a "show-stopper". Kuwait is only 360 miles from Baghdad. Army headquarters have been updated over recent years and command and control capabilities are state-of-the-art, to include Patriot antimissile system interoperability with Saudi missile batteries and U.S. satellite warning systems. This would be a critical entry point for many of the ground forces going into Iraq. Shaikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain is 620 miles from Baghdad. The U.S. Air Force has bombers, tactical fighters and RAF Tri-Star refueling tankers in place. Assuming additional ramp space is available, an additional Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) of F-15s and F-16s is likely to be sent there. The Prince Sultan Air Base just outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is 620 miles from Baghdad. Located there is the state-of-the-art Combined Aerospace Operations Center (CAOC). The center manages the massive daily Air Tasking Order for all air operations in the region for Operation Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch over Iraq. The Air Force headquarters additionally serves as a fusion center for all intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance efforts. So far, Saudi Arabia has publicly refused to support any actual invasion of Iraq. Considering the availability of other bases in the area, this is not to be viewed as a "show-stopper"; use of Saudi airspace is still assumed available. Air efforts for operations against Iraq are likely to be run from Al Udeid in Qatar as a back up (see below). The Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar just outside the capital of Doha has the longest runway in the Gulf, (15,000 feet) and is 700 miles from Baghdad. This will be a key base for fighter/bomber aircraft, air-to-air refueling KC-10 and KC-135 tankers and JSTARS reconnaissance aircraft. The modern, $1.7 billion-dollar installation has state-of-the-art reinforced hangers that can accommodate close to 100 aircraft. Facilities at the base have been significantly upgraded to include the latest Theater Battle Management Core System communications and computer infrastructure that replicates the Command/Control and Intelligence capabilities at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. Expect Gen. Tommy Franks, U.S. CENTCOM commander, to run the war from this base. Incirlik Air Base in the southern part of Turkey is 570 miles away from Baghdad, and an extremely key strategic asset to the United States. The base already has several thousand military personnel assigned to support Air Force fighter-bombers. Britain's Royal Air Force has additional air assets at the base. Expect near 100 aircraft to be stationed there for any offensive operations into Iraq. The island of Diego Garcia, a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, is located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, south of India and between Africa and Indonesia. Expect B-1 and B-52 bombers to be based there to conduct long-range bombing operations against Iraqi targets. Jordan is strategically located very close to the Iraqi border; about 100 miles from several potential Iraqi Scud missile launch points. The availability of forward-basing in the country remains tentative. The United States has repeatedly used several Jordanian bases over the last ten years for exercises with basing and over flight permission for all U.S. and coalition forces. Special Forces are very interested in two airbases likely to be part of U.S. contingency plans - Ruwayshid, on the road from Rutbah in Iraq to Turayf in Saudi Arabia, and Wadi al-Murbah further north. Q. How long will it take to position equipment and personnel in the area to conduct an invasion of Iraq? A. The logistics network for the military has improved substantially in the decade since the war with Iraq. Strategic sealift and airlift assets, pre-positioned ordnance and aviation fuel supplies, and other logistic plans and requirements such as the massive air refueling operation that would be necessary are almost complete. Assuming base availability and a non-stop, 100 percent mobilization effort, forces could be in place a lot faster then most realize. CENTCOM should be able to deploy as many as ten tactical air wing equivalents and a minimum of two U.S. Army divisions within a couple of weeks. Additional U.S. Army Corps, Marine Expeditionary Forces and supporting air wings would follow these forces. A gradual, incremental increase of forward-deployed forces in the next several months will make logistic efforts all that much easier for future operations. Contingency plans for an operation in Iraq call for up to 200,000 tons of heavy weapons, support equipment, and other supplies afloat in the region on pre-positioning ships. These ships are in the area and are being augmented by at least three chartered commercial jumbo cargo ships. Additionally, over 350,000 tons of equipment has already been pre-positioned ashore throughout the region. (This could include pre-positioning combat equipment and air defense systems in bases supporting Afghanistan operations such as Kandahar.) The armaments are stored in 37 climate-controlled warehouses, each averaging 60,000 square feet at Camp Doha, just west of Kuwait City. The equipment includes chemical-biological suits and detection equipment, M-1A2 main battle tanks, M-2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Paladin 155mm howitzers, plus Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, armored command vehicles, bulldozers, trucks and Humvees. Currently there is at least two brigades' worth of equipment, plus some division headquarters material — enough to support about 15,000 troops in Kuwait. However, there have been low-profile equipment moves right through the past year, and thus weapons stockpiles may be higher than the confirmed figures above. About 6,000 U.S. soldiers are also stationed in the desert near the border with Iraq. It would take only a few days to bring in the soldiers to man the tanks, artillery pieces and armored personnel carriers now in place. Camp Snoopy in Doha, Qatar is the largest pre-positioning base outside the United States. A considerable amount of this equipment has been moved from Qatar to Kuwait during the last several months. Camp Snoopy has stockpiled enough equipment to accommodate a brigade set with two armored and one mechanized battalion, as well as equipment for combat service support units. The troops to use it could be airlifted and ready for action in 96 hours. Unlike Kuwait, advance parties will fly to Qatar, draw the equipment and use commercial heavy equipment transporters to move it to port to be loaded onto ships for transport to the combat zone. Q. A significant portion of his CENTCOM staff is currently moving to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Could a full-scale invasion be launched in November? Or will it take until December or January to be prepared? A. I cannot see a "full-scale" invasion happening until the critical addition of a couple more carrier battle groups to the regional force structure, and the large-scale forward deployment of U.S. Air Force fighter/bombers, to include F-117s. Certainly, the land-based aircraft can be in position by November. The carrier battle groups and their associated airwings are already in a high state of readiness and can surge forward if called upon. When you hear media reports or official announcements of events such as the Constellation and Truman battle groups getting underway ,or F-117 Nighthawks deploying from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, then you will know we are getting ready for a full-scale invasion within a matter of weeks. Currently, the schedule calls for the incoming battle groups to be in place by December and January. Anything sooner than that is an unscheduled acceleration of offensive military assets. Q. Is there a possibility of a military operation short of full-scale invasion, and could that be launched in November? A. Yes, and we could be seeing the start of such operations already to "prepare the battlefield," with the coalition strikes on Iraqi's major western air defense installation, the H-3 airfield on Sept. 5. The objective of the strike could have been to destroy air defenses to allow easy access for Special Operations helicopters to fly into Iraq via Jordan or Saudi Arabia as part of a critical primary mission to hunt down Scuds. Knocking out Iraqi radars at H-3 also would allow allied aircraft mounting major raids on Iraq a clear route into the country. This latest strike was an unprecedented event, in that all previous strikes have been against air defense sights in the southern areas of Iraq. It was followed by a Sept. 7 strike on an Iraqi Silkworm anti-missile site near Basra, in the extreme southeastern area of Iraq. That strike could have been in response to attempts by a targeting radar of the Chinese-made Silkworm anti-ship missile to lock on to a U.S. ship transferring arms and equipment from Al Udeid Base to Kuwait. American aircraft also attacked a military communications center at Al-Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. Taken together, these strikes seem like a notable escalation of operations over the no-fly zones, and there probably is more to come in the near future. Strike operations in Iraq could incrementally be expanded by the considerable forces already in the area throughout the next several months before a full-scale invasion. Q. How many forces total, and of what type, would need to be dispatched for a full-scale invasion? How soon could they get in country? A. A massive quarter-of-a-million troop effort is probably too large and a small Special Operations strike is too small to invade Iraq and achieve the required degree of force to ensure victory. A blend of the two extremes that will include an enormous air campaign and from 70,000 to 90,000 troops is the most probable force level. Current U.S. capabilities consist of as many as 40,000 American personnel already in the area. U.S. presence in the vicinity of Iraq has allegedly increased incrementally throughout the summer. As many as 8,000 troops could be in Kuwait, approximately 4,000 in Saudi Arabia, 4,000 in Bahrain, 3,000 in Turkey, and another 5,000 around the region in places such as Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Another 20,000 Marines and Sailors are on ships in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean areas. Some 200-plus land-based combat aircraft and 140 sea-based aircraft aboard the two carriers are in the area and at the highest state of readiness. 60,000 more troops and light equipment could arrive in two weeks through heavy utilization of jumbo C-5 Galaxy's and C-17's augmented by commercially leased aircraft to operating areas in theatre. (There are 126 C-5 cargo carriers and 84 C-17's in the U.S. inventory. Troop-configured C-5s can carry 300 personnel; C-17's carry 100.) The additional troops would fly from the United States to "marry up" with the Army brigade sets of equipment in Kuwait and Qatar. The pre-positioned afloat equipment at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean for U.S. Marines and Army units would also be used and moved forward to the loading areas in the Gulf and possibly the Red Sea. Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) and Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) The United States maintains the largest and most capable amphibious force in the world. The ships have an extensive command, communication and control suite with the Navy's most sophisticated SHF and EHF satellite communications equipment. Each Amphibious Group carries a Marine detachment of more than 2,000 combat-ready personnel on board. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable (MEUSOC) is already in the area. These Amphibious Ready Groups should have replacements scheduled to relieve them on station, in the area, during the December 2002 - January 2003 time frame. Army forces available that could be moved into the region are the U.S. 10th Mountain Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division (with some elements already deployed), 4th Infantry Division, 82nd and 101st Airborne and Air Assault divisions. The British 16th Air Assault Brigade will likely come into play as well. An Army division also could move from U.S. bases in Germany. The U.S. Army's V Corps headquartered in Germany are assigned Persian Gulf War contingencies. The incoming Aviation Brigade would be needed for attack aviation operations, air cavalry operations, air assault artillery operations, pathfinder operations and scout operations. The incoming Mechanized and Armored Infantry Brigades are the soldiers that would operate the main battle tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and field artillery already in position. Up to two of these brigades, (3,000 to 5,000 troops per brigade) are presently in Kuwait. Elite Special Forces will be tasked heavily, with over 1,000 involved in covert operations. They could be flown in from the Red Sea to forward operating bases established in Turkey, Jordan and Iraq itself. Special Forces consist primarily of specialized SEAL Teams and Army Delta Force soldiers. The 82nd Airborne, Special Force Green Berets and the Rangers augment them. Additional land-based airpower needed could require at least another 200 fighter/bombers and support aircraft such as additional refueling tankers, AWACS Command and Control aircraft and JSTARS reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft would deploy through a massive "air-bridge" of refueling tankers en route. Transport aircraft would carry the additional support aircrews and equipment during the same mobilization effort. These aircraft would augment (close to full capacity) the airbases in Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, (possibly Saudi Arabia) and Diego Garcia. The bottom line is that if Bush made a decision tomorrow to go to war, and the decision was made to go with massive airpower and 70,000 to 90,000 ground troops, it would take non-stop effort of about a month to build up. This would be the quickest and most efficient mobililization ever seen in military history. [end] Nathaniel Hurd 90 7th Ave. Apt. #6 Brooklyn, NY 11217 Tel. (M): 917-407-3389 Tel. (H): 718-857-7639 _________________________________________________________________ Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk