"First of all, this isn't a NATO mission. This is a mission in which the NATO machinery may be used for command and control," Gates said in Moscow. But "this command and control business is complicated. We haven't done something like this, kind of on the fly before. And so it's not surprising to me that it would take a few days to get it all sorted out."
The Obama administration is also anxious about the costs of this undertaking and how "imprecise" its message has been about Libya, which has added to friction with some allies who were otherwise supporters of the effort.
Gadhafi shows little sign of giving up, delivering a fiery speech on state television Tuesday in his first appearance since the air strikes began.
"We will be victorious in the end … I do not fear storms that sweep the horizon, nor do I fear the planes that throw black destruction," the Libyan leader said in a speech to supporters broadcast on state TV. "This assault ... is by a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history."
"I am resistant, my house is here in my tent... I am the rightful owner, and the creator of tomorrow. I am here. I am here. I am here."
But U.S. officials tell ABC News that Gadhafi is increasingly anxious, constantly on the move and not knowing who to trust -- though he is being encouraged to stick it out by at least one of his sons.
"Gadhafi is not sleeping. He oscillates between crazy and then some sanity," a U.S. official said. "He is emotional and moving around a ton."
Clinton told ABC News there's evidence that the embattled leader, through his people, is reaching out to allies around the world exploring options.
"Some of it is theater. Some of it is, you know, kind of, shall we say game playing, to try to do one message to one group, another message to somebody else," Clinton said. "A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It's somewhat unpredictable. But some of it, we think, is exploring. You know, what are my options, where could I go, what could I do. And we would encourage that."
Despite the coalition's barrage, Gadhafi has been able to launch new military assaults on rebel territory in Ajdabiya, and to the east in Misrata, say the regime is also on the attack.
As late as Tuesday, the Libyan coastal city of Misrata was under attack from Gadhafi's troops and tanks, with residents saying sniper fire and shelling has been unrelenting as the military operation enters its fifth day.
The two U.S. Air Force personnel who ejected from their F-15E Strike Eagle late Monday are back in U.S. hands and undergoing the reintegration process.
"The aircrew are in U.S. care and are going through a reintegration process to ensure their mental and physical health," said the public affairs officer abroad the USS Whitney. "The reintegration process is standard for any military member who experiences a traumatic or stressful event such as ejecting from an aircraft and landing in a possible hostile area. The aircrew are expected to return to their unit when it is decided they are ready."
The one man who was rescued by locals was greeted as a hero by residents yesterday, even after several civilians were injured from 500-pound bombs dropped by U.S. jets.
After the ejection due to an equipment malfunction that caused the plane to crash 25 miles east of Benghazi, Libya, the two crew members parachuted down into the darkness as the plane smashed into the empty field.