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I’m working on a Science exercise and need support.

From our reading this week, the U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Policy and Strategy defines national interest as, “Desired end states based on values and strategic analysis. Expressed as policies.” Reaching a desired end state requires a strategy implemented using a nation’s instruments of national power. While attending the Senior Enlisted Academy at the US Naval War College, a significant portion course work was dedicated to analyzing these five elements, Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME), and how strategic, theater, and tactical level military strategy and operations support national policy. A key take away was that our national interest, and thus policies, evolve over time, requiring each element of DIME to evolve as well. Broadly speaking, the military’s role has not changed in the last 50 years; it is still an essential element of national power used to achieve our national interest. However, how we are employed and how we operate as a force has changed to ensure we remain an essential element of national power.

The US relationship with Iran is a good example of changing national interest, the role the military plays in achieving the desired end state, and the military’s evolution based on changing policies and the actions of the enemy. In the early 1950’s America’s national interest included maintaining a relationship with Iran for it’s oil. To this end, the US helped facilitate a coup in 1953, ensuring a western friendly Iranian government. This move was countered by an Iranian revolution in 1979, which led to the Tehran Embassy hostage situation that same year. America’s interest shifted to the recovery of the hostages and the military was engaged to that end. Operation Eagle Claw, the attempt to recue the hostages, failed due to joint planning and operation problems and aviation support issues. To fix these issues and adapt to new operational requirements, the US Special Operations Command and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment were formed shortly after. The 1980’s Iran-Iraq War targeting of oil tankers threatened the flow of oil again. The US Navy was employed to as an escort force in support of national interest. After the USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (FFG-58) struck an Iranian naval mine in 1988, the US Navy shifted to an aggressive role; actively hunting and eliminating Iranian surface units in response to the mining. As national interest shifted to sanctions enforcement in respect to Iran, US Navy and Marine Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) teams were formed and used to find and prevent sanctioned goods from entering and/or leaving Iran.

This short history shows that despite national interest fluctuation, the military has continued to be used as an element of national power to reach America’s desired end state. However, to achieve mission we have had to adjust tactics, technics, procedures, and be able to shift roles quickly based on policy changes and enemy actions.

Personal note: VBSS is not as fun as it sounds. I do not miss crawling around dhows in the middle of a Gulf summer or climbing up the side of tankers.

Frazee, G. (2020, January 13). A timeline of U.S.-Iran relations. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/a-timeline-of-u…

O’Rourke, R. (2019, September 6). The Tanker War. Retrieved March 30, 2020, from https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1988/ma…

Peniston, B. (2015, May 22). The Day Frigate Samuel B. Roberts Was Mined. Retrieved

March 30, 2020, from https://news.usni.org/2015/05/22/the-day-frigate-s…