And “time works both ways,” said Dempsey. US intelligence assets focused on Syria have been able to learn a lot about what the regime has, and where that stuff is stored, as fear of US munitions has caused a flurry of hasty activity. Right now the Syrians don’t know how much targeting information the US has.
“I’m confident in the capabilities we can bring to bear to deter and degrade. And it won’t surprise you to know that we will have not only an initial target set but subsequent target sets should they become necessary,” Dempsey told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
That said it’s still unfortunate that a US military operation, if one does occur, has taken so long to develop, say some military experts outside government. For one thing, it has given the Russian Navy time to deploy ships to the Mediterranean, giving an ally of Assad the ability to shadow US destroyers.
The Russian reconnaissance vessel SSV-201 Priazovye left the Russian Black Sea Fleet port of Sevastopol Sept. 1, bound for waters off Syria, reports the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). It should have little trouble locating the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the area, given the electronic emissions of powerful US naval radars.