Any American military operations in Iraq will require the movement of lots of fuel and ammunition to the Persian Gulf. This is already happening, judging from the amount of shipping activity the U.S. Department of Defense has set in motion. The Department of Defense orders fuel via commercial suppliers and the increases in fuel orders associated with the campaign in Afghanistan have not declined, even though air operations over Afghanistan have. The additional fuel is apparently intended to Iraq operations. The Department of Defense's Military Sealift Command (MSC) has also been hiring additional merchant ships to move ammunition from the United States to ports in the Persian Gulf. One recent order was for a ship to carry 550 cargo containers of ammo and explosives. These containers were loaded in U.S. ports on October 31st, for delivery to Persian Gulf ports between November 19 and December 3rd. Only container ships with special ventilation, temperature control, fire-fighting equipment and other additional safety equipment carry explosive material. The MSC also sought ships to carry some 500 trucks and combat vehicles from northern Europe to the Persian Gulf in November. The MSC is also hiring ships to move containers of munitions between ports in the Persian Gulf. All this is only the tip of the ice berg, because the MSC also owns or controls dozens of large ships for moving combat vehicles and ammunition.