Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


U.S. maritme forces, Iran, nuclear weapons, terrorism, strategy, Arabian Gulf, power projection, Navy

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The Arabian Gulf is of great strategic importance to the United States for several reasons including: securing the flow of oil; preventing any state hostile to the U.S. from dominating the region by maintaining security commitments to the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); preventing the terrorist threat; and minimizing nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Iran presents a threat to these key strategic interests for several reasons: Iran's proximity to the Strait of Hormuz; its continual aid to terrorist groups, the danger that it might lead to weapons proliferation in the Middle East; and its emerging nuclear capabilities. This thesis examines these issues as well as United States policy towards Iran since 2001. It concludes that, since diplomacy has been ineffective, it is time to consider other options. Then, it presents military options for dealing with Iran. Finally, this thesis recommends that a policy of power projection be put in place and provides a plan for operationalizing this strategy with regards to the United States maritime forces' capabilities.


© Shannon Brett Matlock

Campus Only