Investing For Iran

The US military needs to “rebalance” its forces to adapt to an increasingly well-armed Iran, said Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, on Tuesday. US forces are too heavily weighted toward short-range systems and those unable to survive in the worst anti-access, area-denial conditions that would prevail in a conflict with Iran, he said during a presentation sponsored by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies in Arlington, Va. “Too many of our [remotely piloted aircraft] are optimized for a permissive environment,” said Gunzinger, arguing for more stealthy and long-ranged robotic aircraft. Because Iran’s missiles are gaining in range and accuracy, US forces will have to operate from greater distances to have operating sanctuary, he noted, and that demands longer range aircraft, such as the Air Force’s planned new bomber. Since budgets will not allow a “buy everything” strategy, Gunzinger suggested investing less in large ground forces in favor of smaller, more agile units that can quickly seize Iran’s missile operating areas. He also advocated increased investment in cyber capabilities and directed-energy systems to defeat missiles, rockets, and mortars that Iran could use to bully regional American allies.