"This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months."
The prospect of military action could put Washington at odds with Britain which fears that an attack would spark violence across the Middle East, reprisals in the West and may not cripple Teheran's nuclear programme. But the steady flow of disclosures about Iran's secret nuclear operations and the virulent anti-Israeli threats of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has prompted the fresh assessment of military options by Washington. The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000lb of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices. They would fly from bases in Missouri with mid-air refuelling.
The Bush administration has recently announced plans to add conventional ballistic missiles to the armoury of its nuclear Trident submarines within the next two years. If ready in time, they would also form part of the plan of attack.
Teheran has dispersed its nuclear plants, burying some deep underground, and has recently increased its air defences, but Pentagon planners believe that the raids could seriously set back Iran's nuclear programme.
My two cents?
(1) Of course the plans are being updated. It would be stupid not to.
(2) Iran is being sent a message that the US can do a lot of damage without commiting troops.