Covering U.S. Military Options for Dealing with Iran
April 30, 2008
US and Iranian relations are clearly deteriorating, driven by Iran's support of Iraqi insurgents hostile to the US, by the risk of clashes in the Gulf, by contingency Iranian missile developments, and by the claim that Iran now has some 6,000 centrifuges far more advanced than the IAEA or the US NIE on Iran reported. The end result is both a revived concern that the US may use force against Iran, and a new set of stories about US preparations and war plans.
If is important to note, however, that it takes weeks to update US contingency capabilities in the Gulf, and months of contingency planning to determine what military options to use, how to move and support US forces, create effective targeting, and have a credible military option that can be used to deter and intimidate as well as to make an actual use of force. It is difficult for those who have not been directly involved to understand how complex US contingency plans can be and how often they require updating.