Top Pentagon officials applauded President Donald Trump's call to 'shoot down and destroy' harassing Iranian gunboats but said decisions to open fire would still be left to the judgment calls of ship commanders.
'I would have to be the captain of the ship in order to make that determination' on whether to respond with lethal force, said Air Force Gen. John Hyten, vice commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 'It depends on the situation and what the captain sees.'
At a Pentagon briefing, both Gen. Hyten and Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist indicated that they viewed Trump's tough talk as an enhanced warning to Iran to avoid encounters with Navy ships that could quickly escalate into open conflict.
Deadly force, use of force that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to another person.
A military engagement which happens by chance.
Iran acknowledges Islamic Revolutionary Guard has encountered with US military during Persian Gulf drill.