WASHINGTON - The chief of the US Navy acknowledged on Tuesday that preparing for a potential conflict in the Strait of Hormuz is the kind of thing he loses sleep over.
"If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it's the Strait of Hormuz and the business going on in the Arabian Gulf," said Admiral Jonathan Greenert, who became the chief of naval operations in September.
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'US would take action if Iran closes Hormuz'
The comments by Greenert follow threats by Iran last month to shut off the Strait of Hormuz -- the world's most important oil shipping lane -- if new US and EU sanctions over its nuclear program halted Iranian oil exports.
The United States has said it would not allow Iran to block the Strait,
calling it a "red line" for the US military. General Martin Dempsey, the
top US military officer, said over the weekend said that would be a
"Yes, they can block it ... But we would take action and reopen the Straits," Dempsey told a television talk show.
Greenert did not get into details about what steps the US Navy would
take to re-open the Strait. But when asked what about the Strait kept
him awake at night, he responded: "I'm an organizer, a trainer and
equipper. I'd make sure that our people have the right equipment to do
the right thing."
"Our folks that transit in and around that area, I want to make sure
that they're able to (deal) with the things that they need to deal with,
basically self-protection, counter-swarm, ASW (anti-submarine
warfare)," Greenert said.
Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz told Reuters on Monday
the Air Force would "clearly" play a role in potentially unblocking the
Strait of Hormuz, if the United States took on that job.
He said the Air Force could ensure "either localized or broader air
superiority," providing support to other US military assets and ensuring
secure communications channels through satellites.
It would also play a key role in providing surveillance data from its satellites and aircraft.