The purpose of this article is to provide a strategic framework for a possible US course of action regarding intervention in Syria.  The strategic-level framing was used in order to provide readers with the most all-encompassing perspective; while tactical-level knowledge may be useful for understanding various actor TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures), it does little to broaden readers’ perspective and relative context of the overall situation.

Situation and Context

Extensive global media coverage on Syria has circulated vast quantities of talking papers, editorials, and analysis surrounding possible solutions and courses of action available to the select Gulf, Arab, and Western nations interested in providing some measure of direct military support to the Syrian Opposition in their struggle against the Assad Regime.

The US, as the strongest nation with the most resources and experience suited for direct military action in Syria, will undoubtedly play a large role in achieving the objectives identified by the ‘coalition of the willing’ should Congress approve President Obama’s recent request for direct US involvement.  Other nation involvement has yet to be determined, aside from France emerging as the only current potential US partner to direct military action.

Generally, the more complex the solution to Syria, the “more time [the conflict] will take, the more of a leading role the US will have to assume, and the more obvious [any] force buildup will be.” This fact will become further apparent given the multi-faceted approach necessary to achieve desired short and long-term objectives in Syria.  As chief participant in direct military action in Syria, the US must approach the conflict with a solution that encompasses a combination of both soft and hard power mechanisms, employs a variety of assets to achieve a balanced end game, and will produce both short and long-term benefits to US national security in the region.