Monday, April 19, 2010

Jointness – Not a Condition of Old Age

Aches and pains slowing you down? Can’t find efficient course of action for the long-term? Maybe it’s time to take Aleve-of-absence from previous strategies and pursue a new direction for a chronic case of Iran.

While many weary of the discussion surrounding Iran and its pursuit of nuclear technology, more frustrating is the lack of progress on the issue. Iran continues to ignore or scoff at US efforts to intervene in the nuclear development program, and President Obama is at a pivotal point regarding the course of action the United States will follow over the foreseeable future.

Recent reports identify a (previously) secret memo from Defense Secretary Gates to President Obama that suggests gaps exist in potential American responses to Iranian pursuit of nuclear technology. While officials affirm their readiness to respond to a nuclear Iran, there is room for innovation in addressing the situation. Perhaps the approach of Jointness is applicable here. Efforts thus far have been directed at motivating a shift in Iran’s behavior. However, advance planning should address the US response if and when Iran does develop a nuclear bomb—regardless of administration assertions that this will not come to pass.

Planning efforts should be directed toward responding to this undesirable yet possible conclusion. The concern over Iranian nuclear pursuit is clearly a security interest, not only for our allies in proximity to Iran, but also for stability in the region that affects valuable energy production and export. Jointness need not be limited to military coordination. Cooperation among the intelligence community, multinational oil companies, and governments of oil-importing nations are just a few entities that can contribute to the dialog about how to respond to a nuclear Iran.

Although this dialog and subsequent conclusions may not produce specific response plans, the United States can initiate conversations about a multilateral response to actions that Iran may take. Given that unilateral action on behalf of the United States, militarily or otherwise, may produce backlash in the international community, pursuing a Jointness-motivated approach to planning could reap reward in terms of legitimacy, if not effectiveness as well.

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