Most of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s ground forces have been pushed into the cities of Ajdabiyah, Misurata, and Zintan, along the country’s northern coast, said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Joint Staff director, Thursday during an update for reporters on Operation Odyssey Dawn. However, the current rules of engagement prevent coalition forces from bombing inside of cities in an effort to reduce or eliminate civilian casualties, said Gortney. As long as coalition forces continue to cut off the supply lines of Qaddafi’s troops, “they won’t be able to sustain their efforts” in those areas, he said. So far, there have no reports of the coalition causing civilian casualties, he noted. Gortney said the coalition’s message to Qaddafi’s forces is clear: “Stop fighting. Stop killing your own people. Stop obeying orders from Col. Qaddafi.” If you don’t, he added, “We will continue to hit you.” (Gortney transcript)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.