Sanctions and cyber espionage, such as the Flame and Stuxnet computer viruses, don’t seem to be deterring Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, several outside policy experts told the House Armed Services Committee last week. Accordingly, preparing a military option is advisable, they said. “A peaceful, viable negotiated solution has always been, in our judgment, in the United States’ best interest,” said former Virginia Democrat Senator Chuck Robb, one of the witnesses at the June 20 hearing on understanding military options against Iran. He continued, “But the dual approach of diplomacy and sanctions simply have not proved to be enough. We need a third track—and that is credible and visible preparations for a military option.” Robb, now co-chair of the National Security Project task force at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., said this could include strengthening Air Force capabilities across the region for an “effective strike, including expediting production and deployment of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.” MOP is the Air Force’s new bunker buster. Robb said augmenting Israeli offensive and defensive capabilities by selling them KC-135 tankers and GBU-31 bunker busters also would help. (Robb’s prepared testimony)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.