by Graham Allison
This article is the memorandum for a case study used in Graham Allison's class, "Central Challenges of America's Foreign Policy ". The memorandum used in this case study requires students to "red team", or to assume the role of an adversary.
This case study focuses on the December 2007 NIE regarding the projected status of Iran's nuclear program. The scenario is this: National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, tasked with assessing Iran's future goals and strategy, has asked his analysts to approach the question by assuming the role of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his advisers in evaluating their options.
To maximize the efficiency of the analysis, Hadley has (hypothetically) tasked each of his red teams with a slightly different job. In this case, the analyst is to assume that Khamenei has decided to pursue nuclear weapons and that he is actively seeking to acquire three or more nuclear weapons in a relatively short period of time (by December 2009), without provoking other countries, prompting an attack on its nuclear weapons program. The assignment is to provide the National Security Adviser with a "red team" memo providing three strategy options that the Supreme Leader may likely choose.
Analysts are to place themselves in the position of an Iranian foreign policy expert and close adviser to Khamenei, operating under his previously articulated top national interests:
1. Survival of the regime as an Islamic republic with its fundamental institutions and values intact;
2. The stability of Iran and its territorial integrity;
3. Prevention of a military attack upon Iran;
4. The enhancement of Iran's power, first within the region, and in time beyond.