After only two months back at homeport, the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will depart Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Thursday for another deployment to the Middle East, the Navy announced on Wednesday.
Following the cancelation of the deployment of USS Harry S Truman (CVN-75) due to the looming budget shortfalls from the combined budget specter of a Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution and sequestration.
As part of the service’s strategy to weather the fiscal storm, the service is reducing the number of carriers in the Middle East to one. The Eisenhower CSG will relieve the CSG based around USS John C Stennis (CVN-74).
The Eisenhower CSG returned from the Middle East in mid-December three months early to undergo repairs to the flight deck of USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN-69) in the event carrier had to return quickly to the region, according to a report in the Navy Times. It will mean sailors on Eisenhower will be spend 11 months out of 13 at sea.
Responding to requests from Central Command combatant commanders, the Navy has had two carriers in the region for the past two years. The arrangement resulted in nine months of a dual carrier presence in the Middle East until the announcement of the Truman’s delayed deployment. The Truman CSG will stand by in the event a carrier needs to surge to the Middle East.