Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., had a question Thursday for Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the Navy’s top officer. Just what investments is the Navy making to prepare for war with Iran?
Greenert, in his first appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee as chief of naval operations, seemed to be awaiting this pitch. He swung – and, at least in Lieberman’s view, knocked it out of the park:
I went through the Strait of Hormuz on the USS Stennis — and it was a nice, clear day, and I got a pretty nice view of Iranian units that come out and monitor it.
…I came to the conclusion we could do better setting the theater. I wanted to be sure, as I’ve said in my testimony, that we are ready — that our folks are proficient, they’re confident and they’re good at what they do in case called upon. And I wanted to be sure the theater was set.
We requested to improve our mine warfare capabilities in the theater, we are moving four more mine sweeps to the theater, that’ll make eight.
We are moving Airborne Mine Countermeasure helicopters — that’ll take us to eight in theater.
And then those, working with the British mine sweeps there, which we exercise with frequently, sets us up a little bit there.
I want to improve Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Mine Neutralization. There are some systems that were available and had proven subsequently to be good.
I want to be sure we have counter-swarm capabilities. So that’s improving Gatling guns and electro-optical and infrared systems so that, as we go through — go at night, go during the day — we can see and we have a really good view of that.
You know, you go through the Strait of Hormuz with a carrier, you have like a hunting rifle, and you also may need a sawed-off shotgun. Some people use that, you know, as a matter of context.
There’s an anti-submarine warfare improvements, torpedo improvements, things of that nature, and I’ll roll it up to about $250 million in ’13 that I’m requesting. And it rotates out to about $750 (million) across the FYDP.
“That,” the normally-dour-but-always-hawkish Lieberman responded, “is a very encouraging report.”