The Commercial Appeal

Pentagon will keep only one carrier in Gulf


The Pentagon is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, the Defense Department said Wednesday, in a move that represents one of the most significan­t effects of budget cuts on the U. S. military presence overseas.

The decision comes as Washington struggles to find a way to avoid sharp automatic spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs next month.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved keeping just one carrier in the Persian Gulf region at the request of the Navy. The U. S. has maintained two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years.

As a result, plans for the USS Harry S. Truman to deploy to the Gulf later this week have been canceled. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, brought home to Norfolk, Va., from the Gulf in December for repairs, will return later this month and stay until about summer.

The USS John C. Stennis will leave the Gulf and return home after the Eisenhower arrives.

“This prudent decision enables the U. S. Navy to maintain these ships to deploy on short notice in the event they are needed to respond to national security contingenc­ies,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said. He said the U.S. will maintain “robust military presence” in the region.

“There is great disappoint­ment, quite frankly,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander of the Truman strike group. “The crews are ready to go overseas.” occur.

It was unclear whether the delay in the vote would derail the nomination or merely postpone action on Obama’s choice to succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States