US Navy "Setting The Theater" For Iran War

Galrhan at Information Dissemination has the details of a worrisome move in the midst of escalating tensions in the Gulf.

Today, mentioned in passing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee – without a word or question on the topic from any supposedly well informed Senators – Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert told the Senate committee that the US Navy is going to deploy 4 minesweepers to the Persian Gulf (which will double the number of US Navy Minesweepers in the Persian Gulf) and also send additional mine hunting helicopters to the region. This comes following news earlier this year that the US Navy is working on the USS Ponce to deploy to the Persian Gulf to be a full time Mine Warfare Command Ship.

In other words, the Chief of Naval Operations announced to the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning specific details about preparations for war with Iran, and in response the Senators drooled on themselves in silent capitulation. The only thing missing from that scene from this mornings Twilight Zone moment in the Senate was the CNO knocking on the microphone asking “is this thing on” for dramatic effect.

When the CNO tells Senators in a public hearing that the Navy is deploying four little 1300 ton minesweepers to the other side of the world, in any context that can be described as the US Navy preparing for war with Iran. Deploying minesweepers to the Persian Gulf isn’t like a typical 6 month deployment of a Navy warship, because some big commercial vessel will almost certainly be chartered to carry the ships across the ocean. This is a big deal.

This is also what a naval buildup for war against Iran looks like.

Admiral Greenert actually calls it a way of “setting the theater” to better counter the threat posed by Iran. Given that the WSJ reports today that there are 42 US Navy vessels already in the Gulf and the Enterprise carrier group is on its way, while the Sixth Fleet is off the Syrian coast, that’s a lot of setting.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • ASW aside, what passes for a picket ship nowadays? I’s be far more worried about the missiles in the air than the mines in the water. (I’d be worried about torpedoes in the water though, I must admit.)

    Also note that the Enterprise is inbound as we speak for her “final deployment”. The tinfoil hat crowd is already calling her out as a potential false flag.

  • Mines pose the biggest threat by far to the situation in the Strait of Hormuz. They possess the potential to stop commercial maritime traffic and to hinder military naval traffic through the Strait and in the surrounding territories. Missiles are cool and definitely showy, but mines can just devastate a ship. One relatively small mine placed under the keel of a ship can break the back of the ship and cause it to tear itself apart. No missile can do that.

    Besides the minesweepers, the typical picket ship these days would be the guided missile frigates the US Navy deploys. More recently the US Navy has started deploying a ship type called the Littoral Combat Ship. These are relatively small surface ships which are intended to show the flag and go in close to shore, while the main surface action groups hove just over the horizon. Both of these types could provide some protection to the minesweepers from anti-ship missiles, but not the type of protection an Aegis class cruiser could offer.

  • A graph is worth 10,000 words. That says it all. We shouldn’t have any bases overseas. We shouldn’t get all worked up about foreign generals like Kony when we’ve got domestic political leaders threatening the entire world with their doctrine of endless war in the name of the National Security State.
    The Money Party RSS

  • Thursday 15 March 2012, the EU (at the behest of the Washington – Wall Street axis of evil) openly made WAR on Iran. Blockade and Economic Blockade are acts of war. Exclusion of Iranian banks and financial interests from world commerce is a blockade. Al Jazeera reports:

    Crucial payment hub severs ties with Tehran
    Financial group vital for oil transactions makes unprecedented move to disconnect Iranian banks blacklisted by EU.

    It is one thing to restrict businesses under your control from doing business, this restricts the ability of Iran which is not at war or in a belligerent state from normal access to their markets. This act of war will not likely have the results desired. Iran is in compliance with all their treaty obligations (totally unlike the government of the United States), no documented exception exists. This act of war will most likely see a restricted co-operation henceforth until the war escalates to open military attack. The lesson that should be noted, that the western powers are not to be trusted, their words are disconnected from meaning, commerce of any and all sort is at one’s peril – caveat actor!

  • …mentioned previously. I recall hearing about forward deployment of minesweepers when the contract for refitting the USS Ponce and the rental of the barge/other commercial vessel first came up (I don’t recall that the RFB specified a barge, but that would be the type of vessel that would most readily meet the specs that they were talking about). IIRC this was December-January when the tensions were really high. If one missed that, it would paint this movement in a different interpretive light.

    Personally, I think we’re actually seeing tensions recede somewhat from the previous highpoint. Wait and watch I guess.

    Analytically one should look to the template of the days of the mid to late 80’s when Hercules and Wimbrown VII played home to a group of interesting folks.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

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