Ronald O’Rourke received a B.A. in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University in 1980 (summa cum laude) and an M.A. in international studies from the University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 1981 as its Christian A. Herter (valedictorian) Fellow. He has worked as a research assistant on naval integrated logistics support (U.S.) issues for American Management Systems, Inc. of Arlington, Va., and as a consultant on defense issues for then-Governor Pierre S. du Pont IV of Delaware. Since 1984, he has been a naval affairs analyst for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. He has written numerous reports and articles on naval affairs, including two articles, coauthored by Alva Bowen, then also with CRS, for the 1985 and 1986 Naval Review issues, and the CRS report, “Nuclear Escalation. Strategic Antisubmarine Warfare, and the Navy’s Forward Maritime Strategy.
Fueled by bitter religious and political acrimony, the Iran-Iraq War, one of the longest interstate conflicts of the 20th century, spread into the Persian Gulf in 1987. Forced to protect vital petroleum tankers, NATO and Soviet naval forces in the Gulf faced new and old challenges from a variety of Iranian and Iraqi threats. As the war drags into 1988, there is little prospect of either belligerent raising a white flag..
Ronald O’Rourke, Naval Affairs Specialist, Congressional Research Service