While a very active debate continues over whether military force should be used against Iraq, military contingency planning is underway. This report focuses primarily on these contingency preparations, notably potential military options available and the military preparations that have been undertaken. It addresses elements of the over-arching political debate only when immediately relevant to military planning. (For further information, see CRS Report RS21325, Iraq: Divergent Views on U.S. Military Action) Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, together with long-range missile development, and alleged support for terrorism are the justifications put forward for military action. Though initial emphasis was on the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the Administration has more recently pointed to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) disarmament as its prime objective. The report of the U.N. arms inspectors, due January 27 to the United Nations Security Council, is being viewed as a key element in any decision to initiate military action. This report will be updated as events warrant.
CRS Report for Congress, RL31701