Operation Determined Force


On September 23, 1998, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1199, demanding to all parties to end hostilities and maintain a cease-fire.

The North Atlantic Council issued Operation Determined Force's Activation Order on October 13, 1998.

Due to persisting tension in Kosovo, NATO's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) was temporarily detached to the Adriatic Sea on October 14, 1998.

On October 15, 1998, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Chief of General Staff of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signed in Belgrade an agreement establishing an air verification mission over Kosovo, complementing an OSCE verification mission. And a day later, on October 16, 1998, the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) signed in Belgrade an agreement establishing a verification mission in Kosovo, including the undertaking of FRY to comply with UNSC resolutions 1160 and 1199 of 1998.

On October 24, 1998, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1203. The resolution supports NATO and OSCE verification missions and demands all parties in Kosovo to comply with the agreement.

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Chairman of NATO Military Committee met with Yugoslav President Milosevic and his Army Chief of Staff on October 25. NATO delivered a clear message pressing for immediate and total compliance with Security Council Resolution 1199 and related agreements.

On October 27, 1998, NATO decided to maintain the Activation Order for the phased air campaign and to remain prepared to carry out air operations should they be necessary.


The first phase of this multinational operation was initiated on October 13, 1998. That day, NATO's higher decision-making body - the North Atlantic Council - authorized an activation order allowing for both "limited air strikes" and a "phased air campaign" in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should Yugoslav authorities refuse to comply with the UN resolution.

The execution of these air strike options was initially set to begin not earlier than 96 hours from the authorization of the activation order, to allow time for negotiations between Ambassador Holbrooke and Yugoslav President Milosevic.

Progress in the diplomatic negotiations was largely due to pressure maintained by the NATO maintained through deployment of NATO air and naval assets in Italy and in the Adriatic sea. After nine days of negotiations, Holbrooke secured an agreement from Milosevic to comply with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1199, with both air and ground regimes to verify compliance.

In accordance with this agreement, signed on October 15, Milosevic committed to cease hostilities and withdraw mobilized forces in Kosovo. Furthermore, the agreement allows the international community to verify compliance by all parties with the provisions of UNSC Resolution 1199. This is to be conducted through NATO unarmed flights and the deployment in Kosovo of a Verification Mission provided by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As the 96 hour deadline for compliance with the negotiated settlement approached, the international community had clear evidence that Yugoslavia was still some distance from full compliance with the terms of the accord. While diplomatic efforts continued to secure full compliance, NATO decided to extend the period before execution of air strikes would begin. The extension gave president Milosevic until October 27, 1998 to comply fully with Resolution 1199. NATO additionally decided to maintain its readiness to launch air operations against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, to include continuing deployment of substantial air forces in the region.

Just prior to the end of this extension on October 27, evidence indicated that Serbian military and security forces had made progress toward the demanded restraint and withdrawal. Despite the substantial steps, NATO's objective remained to achieve full compliance with UNSC resolutions. As a result, NATO decided to maintain both activation orders in place, with execution subject to decision by the North Atlantic Council.

Despite the progress made, the crisis did not end. NATO remains ready to act. The immediate focus is to ensure the effectiveness of the verification regime. The North Atlantic Council will keep the situation in Kosovo under constant review and of they sees evidence of substantial non-compliance in the future, NATO is ready to use force. The activation orders for limited air operations and for phased air campaign remain in effect. NATO military forces remain prepared to carry out these air operations should they be necessary and to maintain forces at the appropriate readiness levels.


The mission of NATO Operation Determined Force is to implement, when ordered by the North Atlantic Council, one or several of the following courses of action:

  • Conduct limited air operations -- such as air strikes against designated militarily significant targets.
  • Conduct a phased air campaign.


The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) delegated authority for the implementation of Operation Determined Force to the Commander in Chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH), whose headquarters is in Naples, Italy. CINCSOUTH delegated control of the operation to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (COMAIRSOUTH), also based in Naples. Operational conduct of day-to-day missions was delegated to the Commander 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, at Vicenza, Italy.

Spanish EF-18
[Photo: AFSOUTH]
Spanish EF-18

Contributing Forces

Fourteen NATO countries are currently contributing to Operation Determined Force. The countries include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Depending on which of the limited air or phased air options is implemented, the sustainment of the operation would require up to 300/400 aircraft. As of October 27, 1998, over 300 aircraft are committed to this operation and many of them are already deployed forward on stand-by at various air bases in Italy and other NATO nations or on carrier vessels.

Belgium F-16

Canada CF-18

Denmark F-16

France Jaguar, Mirage 2000C/D/IV, E-3F AEW, C-135,
Super Etendard, Alise

Germany GE Tornado

Netherlands F-16A/AR, KC-10

Norway F-16

Portugal F-16

Spain EF-18, KC-130

Turkey F-16

United Kingdom L-1011, E-3D, GR-7

United States A-10, B-52, F-16, EC-130, KC-135, C-135,
V-2, F-15, C-130, MC-130, MH-53,
P-3C, EP-3, KC-10
USS Eisenhouwer