Review Of Operation Eagle Claw And The Risk Management Process

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Background: On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans captive. This terrorist act triggered the most profound crisis of the Carter presidency and began a personal ordeal for Jimmy Carter that lasted 444 days. President Carter committed himself to the safe return of the hostages while simultaneously protecting America’s interests and prestige. He pursued a policy of restraint that put a higher value on the lives of the hostages than on American retaliatory power or protecting his own political future. As we review Operation Eagle Claw and the risk management process, we uncover several major problems that arose before and during the operation. These factors increased the scope and complexity, as well as, the experience of all involved-- outcome of the project was a major political and military disaster. The mission was a very high risk and any efforts to mitigate the risk were completely absent. The elements of project (operational) risk for Eagle Claw went beyond the bounds of the capabilities of the team. As the scope grew, the complexity and budget grew with it, the experience was dangerously lacking, and there was never any clear solution to the problem. Early in the 1960s, the Shah announced social and economic reforms but refused to grant broad political freedoms. Iranian nationalist condemned the Shah and his U.S. supported regime and accused him of “westernizing” of Iran. Between 1963 and

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