Political Science 378

Fall 2013

Assignment 3. Due: Wednesday, December 18 @ 4:00 PM


In this assignment, your group will consider a number of issues related to intervention. This will involve reading the book by Richard Haass, Intervention, and using it to develop a better understanding of issues relating to a potential situation involving Iran (note: the parts of the Haass book you read for this assignment are considered fair game for questions on the final exam).

Assume that the following scenario takes place.

On November 24, Iran and the P5+1 countries (United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) signed an interim agreement on Iran's nuclear program. It involves a short-term freeze on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for decreased sanctions on Iran. The interim agreement is supposed to lead to a comprehensive solution that would trade removal of the economic sanctions on Iran for permanent restrictions on Iran's nuclear program.

Your group is to take on the role of military planners. Your task is to design a plan plan to take out Iran's nuclear facilities (and possibly other targets). You goal is to give the President a military option to reduce or eliminate Iran's nuclear program if the negotiations fail. To be clear, the assignment does not assume that negotiations will fail, and even if they do, that the United States would attack. But it is the responsibility of the military to be prepared to carry out the decisions of the President including one in which he orders an attack on Iran to destroy their nuclear facilities.

Specific Tasks

The assignment consists of completing the following tasks (note: the references are to Haass' book Intervention):

  1. Conditions that should be present for the use of force. [10 points] As noted in chapter 1, in recent years a number of individuals have proposed criteria and/or conditions that should be present for the US to use military force. Read the conditions advocated by Caspar Weinberger (Appendix C). Go through each condition and indicate whether the condition applies to the situation described in the scenario. If you feel that a condition is inappropriate, indicate why.
  2. Haass' guidelines for whether to intervene. [10 points] Now go to chapter 4, "Whether to Intervene." Look over each guideline proposed by Haass (these are the section headings such as "Interests are only a guide," and "The Adversary's response must be anticipated"). For each guideline, in a paragraph, explain whether it applies to the situation presented in the scenario. If you feel that a guideline is inappropriate, indicate why.
  3. Haass' guidelines for how to intervene. [10 points] In chapter 5, "How to Intervene," Haass provides another set of guidelines (i.e., the section headings). For each guideline, consider what is implied for US intervention in the crisis. If you feel that a guideline is inappropriate, indicate why.
  4. Forces, Mission, and Rules of Engagement. [20 points] Your plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities can only include Air Force units and Naval aviation units that are part of Central Command. Basic information on the forces you have available and the targets are contained in the websites listed below. You will have to decide which units to allocate to the targets.

    You also have to decide on the rules of engagement. Rules of engagement specify the conditions under which US forces can use force. Understand that if this strike was authorized, the President wants the nuclear facilities destroyed but does not want to instigate a war with Iran. Given these goals, you must choose between the following rules of engagement:

  5. Length. The assignment can be no more than 10 double spaced pages in length. This does not include a title page, reference page(s), and any maps that you might care to include.

Information on Iran's Nuclear Facilities

US Forces Available to Attack Iran

The Goal of the Assignment

The goal of this assignment is for you to apply the arguments and insights of Haass to a potential situation in which the US may have to use military force. I hope that you will learn some things in the course of doing this assignment. But please remember to answer the questions. You may have some very strong feelings about the situation. That's fine; nothing about this assignment or this course is designed to influence your feelings on this subject. But remember this is an analytic exercise. Answer the questions in the most straightforward fashion. I will not infer from your answers or conclusions what your feelings are about this situation (that's actually none of my business).

Note your assignment should contain complete references to all the sources you use including any materials from the course (eg., the Haass book, websites listed in this assignment). Incomplete or missing references can mean that you have committed plagiarism, which is an Honor Code violation.

The Pledge

The assignment is pledged. You may not consult class members outside of your group. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.