The military commands in both the US and Britain have sought increased funding and stepped up deployments of arms and personnel to the Persian Gulf in preparation for an anticipated war against Iran.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon, acting on the request of the Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the region, has requested the re-allocation of some $100 million in military spending to ratchet up war preparations.
The Journal cast these preparations as defensive measures aimed at countering an Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway through which some 20 percent of the world's exported oil flows. Iran's threat came in response to trade sanctions and embargoes imposed by the US and Western Europe that amount to a blockade, an act of war, as well as open Israeli threats to bomb the country.
"The US military has notified Congress of plans to preposition new mine-detection and clearing equipment and expand surveillance capabilities in and around the strait, according to defense officials briefed on the requests," the Journal reports. "The military also wants to quickly modify weapons systems on ships so they could be used against Iranian fast-attack boats, as well as shore-launched cruise missiles, the defense officials said."
Under the Pentagon's plans, US warships would be equipped with anti-tank weapons, rapid-fire machine guns and light weapons for use against the Iranian navy's small speedboats. They would be backed by increased numbers of unmanned drones.