Changing Assumptions in the Persian Gulf

With the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should re-evaluate its strategy for operating in the Persian Gulf, asserts a new Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report. The proliferation of Iran’s anti-access and area-denial capabilities threatens long-held assumptions that the United States will continue to “enjoy unfettered access to close-in bases, US battle networks would remain intact and secure, and neither the Soviet Union nor a regional power would pose a serious threat to air or sea lines of communications,” reads Outside-In: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threat, which CSBA released on Tuesday. CSBA senior fellow Mark Gunzinger argues in the report that the United States should develop a new Persian Gulf operational concept. It should assume “that close-in basing may not be available, all operating domains will be contested, and Iran may threaten terror and [weapons of mass destruction] attacks, including the use of nuclear weapons, to deter or prevent a successful US military intervention in the Persian Gulf,” he wrote.