WASHINGTON — The United States has begun beefing up its approach to defending its Persian Gulf allies against potential Iranian missile strikes in advance of possible increased sanctions against Iran, officials say
The Obama administration has quietly increased the capability of land-based Patriot defensive missiles in several Gulf Arab nations, and one military official said the Navy is increasing the presence of ships capable of knocking out hostile missiles in flight.
The officials discussed aspects of the defensive strategy on condition of anonymity because some elements are classified.
The moves, part of a broader adjustment in the U.S. approach to missile defense, including in Europe and Asia, have been in the works for months. Details have not been publicly announced, in part because of diplomatic sensitivities in Gulf countries that worry about Iranian military capabilities but are cautious about acknowledging U.S. protection.
The White House will send a review of ballistic missile strategy to Congress today that frames the larger shifts. Attention to defense of the Persian Gulf region, a focus on diffuse networks of sensors and weapons, and cooperation with Russia are major elements of the study, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
One military official said the adjustments in the Gulf should be seen as prudent defensive measures designed to deter Iran from taking aggressive action in the region, more than as a signal that Washington expects Iran to retaliate for any additional sanctions.