TODAY   |  August 31, 2013

Possible Syria targets include airfields, command facilities

As the White House weighs military decisions in Syria, cruise missiles await on ships in the Mediterranean Sea. The missiles have a range of 1,500 miles and can be fired off from ships with specific directions, according to military analyst Col. Jack Jacobs, who was interviewed by TODAY’s Lester Holt.

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>> what to expect. military analyst, retired army colonel is with me. colonel jacobs thank you for joining us. how will it go?

>> it's been targeted for some time. we are going to look at things we probably will strike that are high value targets. everything in red are airfields of some importance. we will take them out. the maximum extent possible. there are some tank units that may have been complicit in launching the gas on the civilians in the first place. those locations, which are to the east of damascus will be targeted. we are going to go after airfields, reduce the air capability. some units, command and control facilities. it will be difficult. a camera attack if the rebels start working on an attack and use air attack as an umbrella.

>> what is it like putting air crews in jeopardy over targets? will it be a stand off?

>> absolutely zero. we are going to use just cruise missiles that have a 1,500 mile range. they are going to go off cruisers. you can see it's got a warhead of 1,000 pounds, extremely destructive. it goes from ships in the mediterranean. there are five of them plus one, maybe two submarines.

>> will there be an effort? bill mentioned the risk of hitting chemical stockpiles. that's a risk that you can dispurse it. will they be targeted?

>> no. the likelihood is almost zero. cruise missiles don't have the capability to actually destroy the substance. instead, if we hit it, it will dispurse it. we are not going to do that. we are going to go after af fields, mobile launches.

>> we have seen in the opening days on the war in iraq and others, they have to retarget. they hit something, didn't hit it well enough and there's another barrage of attacks.

>> i think they no exactly which targets they want to hit. we have the capability of launching more than one cruise missile at one target. we probably won't have to do that. the new generation of cruise missiles can be programmed with many targets in advance, can be sent to one target, loiter off the target and go to a completely different target all together.

>> they are not infallible?

>> they are not infallible. the next generation of cruise missiles , mach 4 or mach 5. these fly very low to the ground. 25 to 50 feet.