Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BOMB IRAN: Updated USAF basics on counterforce strategy vs. WMDs

Bomb Iran

The graphic comes from Air Force Doctrine Document 2-1.8, Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operations. It was made available through Steve Aftergood's Secrecy Blog today and you can find it here.

Your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow believes the left half of the artist's rendition accurately represents how the USAF has planned to deal with Iran. In fact, it looks just a little bit like Iran in its desert tone with large southern body of water in which floats an Aegis missile cruiser.

Note the B-2 stealth bomber dealing with infrastructure and the cruise missile in flight.

The USAF calls this counterforce, the elimination of chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear threats through kinetic action. In this paper it is also tied to preemption. This is part of "a comprehensive approach to defeating WMDs," the Air Force writes.

"Counterforce refers to offensive operations to strike adversary CBRN weapons and associated production, transportation and storage facilities prior to use...One unique aspect of this pillar is that it may be executed by a preemptive military strike."

"As we have seen in previous conflicts preemption requires close coordination with friends and allies, as well as the American people, in order to be accepted and effective," writes the Air Force genially. "From a tactical perspective, pre-attack intelligence and precise target location are crucial."

Counterforce strategy, states the document, would also lead to a "rollback of the adversary's CBRN capabilities..."

And quoting from another's book on bombing Iraq in Desert Storm, the Air Force flashes a bit of literary flair on the smoke of battle:

". . . F-117A's proved particularly devastating, for unlike [cruise missiles], they could destroy hardened targets. Laboratory, research and production facilities staggered under stealth-dropped smart bombs; video subsequently showed blasts sending destructive ripples through buildings like some parody of waves crashing on the beach."

Waves crashing on the concrete beaches; the odor of rubble and dust in the air at dawn -- the smell of victory!

Uh, excuse me, got carried away there for a moment. To transpose from Herman Wouk in War and Remembrance: "Enemies [like Iran] should ponder it."

"Target hardness and/or collateral damage considerations may make direct attack against WMD or related facilities impossible or undesirable, but an effects-based approach to targeting may result in alternatives that prevent the adversary from gaining access to ... WMD."

Translated: So, you've dug deep holes and poured thick concrete! How good are your shovels?

"Operations against production facilities provide another option for degrading or destroying an adversary's CBRN capability," it is written. "While the effect of the operation may be temporary, strikes against production facilities represent a relatively low risk option ... especially if the enemy has not yet achieved an operational CBRN capability."

It is difficult to find any fault or argue with the logic of the air force document. It is easy for laymen to read and understand.

The only quibbles DD has with it were the inclusion of only semi-relevant box quotes attributed to George W. Bush and an info-box on the Aum Shinrikyo. With regards to the former, GWB is not going down in history as a perceptive commander-in-chief. Leave him out in the next revision, fellows. As to the latter, see here:

Having taken the liberty of correcting the graphic, no spectroscopic or hard chemical evidence has ever been presented that Aum Shinrikyo produced VX. The material is difficult to synthesize and word of it in the hands of Aum Shinrikyo is tenuous, existing only in testimony.

The group also never produced botulinum toxin and as to anthrax, it cultivated a vaccine strain of Bacillus anthracis, one that could never have produced disease. See here.

No charge for the help, gents.

Related: Operation Radiating Rubble -- the computerized wargame of preemptive USAF/USN counterforce vs. Iran, developed through use of military data sets from GlobalSecurity.Org.

Ah-ha! Armchair Generalist does find fault with the Air Force's use/misuse of old Cold War language and explains the semantic and syntactic shenanigans here.


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