The Continuing Threat Posed by IRGC Hostile Small Boat Tactics

ADRIDEN Global Inc. flyer on home front violent extremism. The Continuing Threat Posed by IRGC Hostile Small Boat Tactics blog post by ADRIDEN Global Inc.

A threat to U.S. interests continues to exist in the Persian Gulf from the small boat tactics and potential attacks of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) navy. 

Although, no actual hostile actions have taken place in recent years, the United States remains Iran’s number one enemy and the full resources of the Iranian military and intelligence continue to be aimed at the United States. In particular, the IRGC navy has developed and practiced specific small boat tactics for use in attacks against U.S. naval vessels. IRGC small boat commanders have traditionally been selected for their hardened support of the Iranian revolution and regime, and are rewarded for aggressive, yet non-lethal actions against U.S. and Western vessels. IRGC navy small boat tactics are also intended to test the overall response, in particular the response time of U.S. naval commanders, to IRGC naval maneuvers.  

Regardless of which party controls the White House, the IRGC naval doctrine is focused on harassing, threatening, and conducting armed seizures of naval vessels operating in international waterways. This conduct is intended to evoke a response from the United States directly. A review of such past incidents indicates that Iran my believe that it can match or surpass the United States in a limited naval confrontation in its home waters. Iranians believe in the old Soviet axiom that “quantity has a quality of its own” as their low-cost small boats, guided by hardcore Shia commanders can inflict costly damage to qualitative billion-dollar naval ships operated by the United States. The Iranian flawed thought rationale may be based on the 12 October 2000 Al-Qaeda attack in the port of Aden, Yemen against the USS Cole where a small explosive laden boat, guided by two suicide operatives, struck the Cole killing 17 American sailors and nearly sinking it.    

Given the ongoing threat posed by small boat tactics and potential attacks in the Persian Gulf area by the IRGC navy, it is essential that U.S. military continue to develop and deploy appropriate and affirmative rules of engagement to counter such attacks. It is also essential that the U.S. military and intelligence community jointly emphasize the development and deployment of human intelligence collection efforts focused on IRGC’s personnel, plans and intentions. This threat is not going away anytime soon, and we must recognize and accept the fact that the Iranian regime, will not be a “friend” to the United States no matter how much ransom we pay them.


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