Great article in the Wall Street Journal today: “The Terrorist Threat Beneath the Waves” (behind a paywall, I’m afraid). It discusses how our “undersea economy” — in particular our offshore oil rigs, etc. — are incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attack, especially as submarine technology is now amazingly cheap.
The idea isn’t attacking with a submarine equivalent to on of America’s underwater “bad boys,” which are out of the reach of most nations. Rather, the article points to the sort of “cheap” submarines being used now by drug cartels and even smaller, remote control vehicles which are more and more common and which can go “all the way down,” as it were.
I admit that I haven’t given this idea much thought, but I think that the author — president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Andrew Krepinevich — makes a good case. Right after 9-11, there was a great deal of talk about hardening America’s numerous soft targets, but the impetus seems to be gone these days. However, should we become entangled in an overt conflict with Iran or Syria — which means at war with their terrorist proxies, as well — reminders of the vulnerability of such soft targets may arrive uninvited.