Defense

July 16, 2012

Panetta accelerates Stennis carrier strike group deployment

Tags:
by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Navy Airman Matthew Fulks observes flight operations as an F/A-18C Super Hornet launches off the flight deck of the USS Stennis July 6, 2012.

The Navy will deploy the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and its strike group four months early and shift its destination to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, DOD officials said July 16.

The deployment late this summer is in response to Central Command’s requirement for an extended carrier presence, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said. The move affects 5,500 sailors aboard the Stennis and the Aegis cruiser USS Mobile Bay.

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta approved a request from Central Command commander Marine Corps General James N. Mattis to accelerate Stennis’ deployment. “The decision will help support existing naval force requirements in the Middle East and reduce the gap caused by the upcoming departure of the USS Enterprise Strike Group,” Little said. “It is in keeping with our long-standing commitments to the region.”

Aircraft carrier strike groups provide commanders with ample and flexible air assets to enhance interoperability with partner nations and maintain strong military-to-military relations as well as respond to a wide variety of contingencies, Little said.

The Bremerton, Wash.-based Stennis strike group was due to deploy at the end of the year to U.S. Pacific Command. The group returned from duty in the Middle East in March.

The accelerated deployment to the Central Command area of responsibility is not aimed at any specific threat. “In keeping with Centcom’s requirements, this is a very important region for our defense strategy,” Little said. “We’ve had a presence in the region for decades and we have a range of interests that this extension of our capabilities will support.”

Nor, he said, is the deployment a direct response to tensions with Iran. The U.S. military is “always mindful of the challenges posed by Iran, but … this is not a decision based solely on the challenges posed by Iran,” Little said.

Currently the USS Enterprise and USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups are deployed to U.S. Central Command. The USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is due to relieve the Lincoln group shortly. The Stennis group will relieve Enterprise.

The Navy continues to operate at a high operational tempo in order to meet U.S. security needs around the world,. “Our deployment strain is as great as or greater today than it has been at any time in the past 10 years,” a Navy official said.

Sailors and their families have been informed of the change, Little said. Navy officials looked at a wide range of options to ensure Navy commitments and combatant commander mission requirements are met and to lessen the impact of schedule changes.

The carrier strike group will be ready to deploy even given the accelerated timeline, Little said. “The U.S. Navy is well-equipped to ensure our sailors are trained and ready for this deployment,” he said.

Navy leaders understand the operational and personnel impacts this accelerated deployment will have. These include training cycle adjustments, crew and family uncertainty and reductions to quality of life port visits.

As more information becomes available, the Navy will release it, officials said, noting defense leaders are “committed to keeping sailors and their families informed about current and future deployments to the best of our ability.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, takes flight July 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-3...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

Navy photograph The Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18 after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman’s California facility.   The M...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano

F-16 collision-avoidance system could save lives

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano The Air Force Research Laboratory Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System will automatically take over an aircraft’s flight controls if a crash is imminent. The technolo...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>