Ship-To-Objective Maneuver (STOM) Wargame
The Marine Corps Concept Operational Maneuver From The Sea (OMFTS) was signed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in January 1996. The follow-on concept of Ship-To-Objective Maneuver (STOM) was signed in July 1997. The STOM concept of operations (CONOPS), begun in February 1999, was developed as a first step in defining the parameters of these concepts and other companion concepts. The STOM CONOPS was developed by applying the basic principles of OMFTS and STOM to an operational scenario. The scenario is of an unclassified, mid-intensity conflict set in the year 201X.
The period between 2000 and 2007 saw extreme turbulence in the country of Iran, which culminated in the ascendancy of a conservative, militantly anti-western regime. This regime exerted various pressures upon other nations within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) resulting in increased resistance to a long-term US presence in the Persian Gulf. Eventually, the US naval presence in the Persian Gulf and the North Arabian Sea was significantly reduced. Emboldened by this situation and facing increasing economic pressure, the Iranians decided to close the Straits of Hormuz and impose a tariff on oil traveling out of the Persian Gulf.
Crisis in 2015
By 2013, oil and gas prices began to drop again. The world's oil producers began to over-produce to make up for the losses in revenue, resulting in an oil glut. By 2015, with support for the US eroding in the Persian Gulf and a large number of US units involved in operations other than war (OOTW), the regime in Iran decided to make a bold move to deal with the decline of its revenues.
On S-Day (C-20), 2015, Iranian leadership decided to restrict traffic through the Straits of Hormuz (SOH). The Iranian military announced a major ground exercise near Kerman and a naval exercise in the SOH in order to provide cover for the operation. US intelligence noted Iranian forces began departing from their garrisons by S+5. This period of ambiguous warning lasted until S+20 (C-Day), when Iranian ground forces were observed arriving in the Bandar Abbas area. The US intelligence community then assessed that Iran was preparing to close the SOH. Also on S+20 (C-Day), Iranian naval vessels participating in the declared naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz were observed laying mines. Iran continued to use the pretext of a naval exercise to cover its naval activity, and minefields restricting traffic through the Strait were in place by S+30 (C+10).
The Iranians then declared that ships carrying crude from the Persian Gulf would be subject to an Iranian export tariff of $5.00 per barrel. Since Iran had been unable to get OPEC to realign production quotas in Iran's favor, Tehran saw the tariff as a means to enhance its revenue. Iran also hoped that the price of oil would rise and benefit all oil exporters, who would therefore not look at the tariff as unreasonable. Iran thought the GCC states would receive the current (or inflated) oil price, while other OPEC members could make a windfall profit be selling their oil for $5.00 over that. The big losers would be the oil importing countries.
The UN quickly passed a resolution denouncing Iran's action as a violation of the freedom of the seas, but it stopped short of approving any stronger action. Instead, a UN envoy was dispatched to Tehran in an attempt to resolve the matter peacefully. In the meantime, most ships complied with Iran's restrictions, paid the fees, and were escorted through the Straits by the IRIN and the IRGCN. A few exceptions occurred, such as a Greek tanker that tried to bypass the transit lanes and was heavily damaged by a mine, and an Indian supertanker that attempted to exit the Strait without paying the fee and was disabled and captured by the Iranians. No US-flagged vessels were immediately involved, since Gulf oil had been carried almost exclusively by non-US flagged shipping since 2005.
In anticipation of US offensive actions in the Strait of Hormuz area, the Iranians continued to flow forces into the Bandar-e Abbas area. By S+70 (C+50), the Iranians had deployed the following ground forces in and around the Strait of Hormuz: one IRIGF armor division, two IRIGF independent infantry brigades, one IRIGF independent artillery brigade, three IRGCGF infantry divisions, two IRGCGF independent mechanized brigades, one IRGCGF independent artillery brigade, one Iranian Army Aviation brigade, two IRIN Marine brigades, and two IRGCN Marine brigades. A reserve force (one IRGCGF independent mechanized brigade, one IRIGF independent Special Forces brigade, one IRIGF independent airborne brigade, and one IRGCGF indpendent artillery brigade) was also positioned north of Bandar-e Abbas to hold open the railway and highway north to Sirjan. Remaining Iranian ground forces were required to remain on Iran's borders to protect against perceived threats from Iran's neighbors. Most of these remaining ground forces were deployed on the Iran-Iraq border.
Iran's air defense is provided by a combination of HAWK, CSA-1, SA-5, SA-6 and SA-10 surface to air missiles and an array of man-portable surface-to-air missiles. Iran's coastal defenses are provided by a combination of sea mines, CSSC-3 and C-802 surface-to-surface missiles and lightly armed small boats.
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