There also are questions about who should be leading the mission.
There is coordination among coalition forces, led by the United States, France, and Britain, and including a number of other European states and Arab countries — but no unified command.
U.S. President Barack Obama said the United States will transfer its leading role on Libya “within days” to ensure the burden of enforcing the no-fly zone is shared.
In Russia, Gates declined to say who might lead the operations, but said “the NATO machinery may be used for command and control” in the mission.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, meanwhile, signaled that there was as yet no consensus on whether the no-fly zone should be enforced by the alliance.
But he said the allies had decided to launch a naval operation to enforce the UN-mandated arms embargo on Libya.
Norway has said its six fighter jets will stay grounded as long as it is unclear who is running the operations.
Britain, the United States, and Italy are pushing the strongest for a NATO role, but other allies, such as Turkey, oppose NATO taking a lead role.