Albanian Daily News - Nov 11

France Says US Worked Outside NATO

Albanian Economic Tribune
PARIS - France’s Ministry of Defense said Wednesday that the United States acted outside the framework of NATO and its procedures during the alliance’s campaign against Yugoslav forces in Kosovo earlier this year.

A report from France’s Ministry of Defense entitled The Lessons of Kosovo, said the 19-nation alliance had acted together at the political level during the Kosovo crisis.

"However, despite the imperative, recognized by everyone, of unity of command, it is necessary to note that a part of the military operations were conducted by the United States outside the strict framework of NATO and its procedures," the report said.

The report said the Kosovo campaign demonstrated that European members of the alliance needed progressively to develop "autonomous strategic capacities in terms of intelligence, transport and command.

"The Europeans have realized, in a manner perhaps clearer than before, their deficiencies in terms of military capacity," the report said.

The US army has assessed that two divisions, whose troops are involved in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, have "dropped to the lowest possible readiness levels."

The Army has assessed two of its 10 divisions as unprepared for a major war, the first time in years any Army division has dropped to the lowest of four possible readiness levels, a senior Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday.

Those two divisions each have about half of their troops involved in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. The divisions have comitted over 5,000 soldiers to the Kosovo peacekeeping mission, KFOR.

The Army and other branches of the military have long acknowledged that peacekeeping duties, such as those in Kosovo, dull the war-fighting edge of the troops involved and put a strain on training for war missions. But they have adjusted by regularly rotating troops out peacekeeping duty.

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