While the United States has been leading the charge behind the scenes, officials say, the administration deferred public action to the State Department and the United Nations in an effort to emphasize that the mission reflects a broad, international coalition, including support from Arab allies.
Gadhafi's son, Saif, told ABC News via a phone interview that the U.N. resolution is a "big mistake" and that if the United States wants to help, they should in fact help the government.
"We want to live in peace, so we want even Americans to help us get rid of the remnants of those people and to have a peaceful country, more democratic," he said. "If you want to help us, help us to, you know, to be democracy, more freedom, peaceful, not to threaten us with air strikes. We will not be afraid. Come on!"
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norman Schwartz said Thursday it could take upwards of a week to fully establish a no-fly zone and that public comments by some that it could be done in a few days are "overly optimistic."
He acknowledged there are limited Air Force assets because most of them are in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially transport aircraft.
Last week, Department of National Intelligence director James Clapper said the Libyan air force was large in raw numbers, but only a small number of aircraft were actually flying.
A Pentagon analysis of Libya's air capabilities shows the overall readiness of Libyan aircraft is poor by Western standards and most aircraft are now dated or obsolete in terms of avionics or upgrades. Eighty percent of the air force is judged to be "non-operational and "overhaul and combat repair capability is also limited."
ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Huma Khan, Jake Tapper, Kirit Radia, and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.