U.S. Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, has told reporters in Washington that the Navy is adding four more mine-sweeping ships and four more CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters with mine-detection capability in the Persian Gulf to counter threats from Iran to block the Strait of Hormuz and stop the flow of oil [LA Times, 18 March].
Adm. Greenert has also said he plans to assign more patrol craft to the Gulf, possibly armed with Mark 38 Gatling guns. The same kind of guns that could be placed on ships, including carriers, to provide protection for aircraft carriers and other large ships. The guns are regarded as effective defense against any Iranian attempt to “swarm” large U.S. ships with their smaller speedboats. The Iranians are also thought to have been laying mines along the country’s coastlines.
The U.S. needs sufficient capability "to set the theater" in the gulf, Adm. Greenert added.