By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 11, 2008
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gave a press conference in the Pentagon on Friday morning during which he discussed the stresses on the U.S. military due to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as operations in the Persian Gulf and the situation in Pakistan.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Asked about Iran’s provocative use of small boats near USS Hopper, USS Port Royal and USS Ingraham on Sunday, Admiral Mullen said, “The incident ought to remind us all just how real is the threat posed by Iran and just how ready we are to meet that threat if it comes to it.”
Regarding the Iranian strategy in the Persian Gulf, Admiral Mullen told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has been focused “for several years” on Iran’s shift to greater reliance on small, fast boats by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has taken over patrols in the Gulf from Tehran’s regular navy.
“It’s clearly strategically where the Iranian military has gone,” said Mullen, in his first solo Pentagon press briefing. “There’s a projection they were going to do that over a number of years … That was a big concern to me because of the history and the background with the IRGC (Revolutionary Guard.) This fit that mold, as far as I was concerned.”
In Tampa, Florida, Commander of the Central Command Adm. William J. Fallon
said to an Associated Press reporter, “This kind of behavior, if it happens in the future, is the kind of event that could precipitate a mistake. If the boats come closer, at what point does the captain think it is a direct threat to the ship and has to do something to stop it?”
On rumors that the U.S. is considering putting troops into the tribal areas of Pakistan and President Musharraf’s objection, Admiral Mullen said, “Use of troops in Pakistan is clearly a decision that has to be made by the government of Pakistan.”