Gemunder Center Conference Call on Mitigating the Consequences of the Nuclear Agreement with Iran

On Tuesday, April 5, JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy hosted a conference call to discuss the findings and recommendations of the latest Gemunder Center Iran Strategy Council report on how the United States can mitigate the negative strategic consequences of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran. The briefing featured Iran Strategy Council co-chair Gen. (ret.) Chuck Wald and member VADM (ret.) John Bird.

The following excerpts are taken from the full audio [available below] of the call.

Maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME)

  • “We strongly recommend we continue to maintain our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East. That has to be done, and we will continue to strongly advocate for that. Currently the United States provides Israel with about $3 billion per year in defense grants. This agreement will end next year – we recommend a renewal of the agreement, increasing the funding provided to Israel to up to $5 billion per year for the following ten years.”

    -Gen. Chuck Wald

Bolstering Our Arab Allies’ Defenses Against Iran

  • “We encourage that our Arab allies create a more effective collective defense system against Iran. That group would include all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, as well as Egypt, Jordan and Israel in this case. We strongly believe that a comprehensive missile defense capability in the Middle East needs to be put in place rapidly, to include: THAAD, the most sophisticated system the U.S. military has, along with Arrow, Patriot and other integrated systems. As part of this, the United States and GCC must work together to develop an integrated command and control capability for these missile defenses.”

    -Gen. Chuck Wald

  • “We believe it’s crucial that the United States provide more advanced and appropriate weaponry and other capabilities to our Arab allies to deal with Iranian aggression, including: anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and vessels, as well as coastal defense and mine-hunting ships. When you’re dealing with an adversary like Iran that’s very adept at cheating and other covert activities, we believe it’s crucial the United States develop and share intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets with our allies. We’re talking about early warning aircraft, patrol boats, radars, communication systems and, of course, sharing of satellite imagery. It’s clear that we need really close collaboration – a collective consciousness – with our allies if we are going to mitigate the behaviors Iran is demonstrating.”

    -VADM John Bird

Restoring U.S. Credibility

  • “Military power has two real aspects to it: one is the physical capability or practical capability, and the other is will. I think our credibility is questioned from the standpoint of the president’s hesitance – evident in his interview in The Atlantic – about the redline on Syria’s chemical weapons, when we didn’t follow through and attempted to explain it away. This puts our credibility in jeopardy from the standpoint of our willingness to respond or live up to our promises. So I think our military capacity is credible, I think our military capability in terms of leadership, the people in uniform and our technology is still there and still well-respected. But I think our will and our intent is questioned, and that puts us in jeopardy.”

    -Gen. Chuck Wald

  • “I think globally the U.S.’s will and support of allies is a big question. The United States did nothing in response to the Russian invasion and takeover of Crimea, and the Russian move into Ukraine. The United States repeatedly tells China “don’t do something, don’t do something” and they keep doing it without consequence. And Iran continues ballistic missile launches, takes our sailors hostage, shoots rockets close to our carrier – all without real consequences. Same with these three shipments of weapons going to Yemen. So we have a credibility gap that is growing and getting deeper, and we need to do something to rectify it. We’re not recommending any sort of reckless activity, but if we’re going to draw redlines we need to be prepared to enforce them. And it looks like we’re changing the goalposts in favor of Iran by dropping ballistic missile limitations and now working to help Iran get U.S. dollars and even more sanctions relief. So we do have a credibility issue.”

    -VADM John Bird