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PACOM: Carl Vinson CSG Can Defend Itself Against Anything North Korea Fires At It

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) transits the Philippine Sea while conducting a bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. US Navy Photo

U.S. Pacific Command commander Adm. Harry Harris said the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group can “absolutely” defend itself against anything North Korea could shoot at it, despite media reports to the contrary.

Harris, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee today, called stories – such as this Wednesday’s article by Bloomberg, which he and HASC chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) alluded to but did not mention by name – “misleading.”

“There was an article that came out this morning from one of the outlets that suggested that the Carl Vinson strike group … with its incredible capability, to include two guided-missile destroyers, the Wayne E. Meyer and Michael Murphy, and the Lake Champlain cruiser, that somehow that that carrier strike group would not be able to defend itself against ballistic missiles,” Harris told Thornberry.
“We have ballistic missile ships in the Sea of Japan, the East Sea, that are capable of defending against ballistic missiles. North Korea does not have a ballistic missile anti-ship weapon that would threaten the Carl Vinson strike group. The weapons that North Korea could put against the Carl Vinson strike group are easily defended by the capabilities resident in that strike group. If it flies it will die, if it’s flying against the Carl Vinson strike group. I’m confident in that strike group’s ability to not only defend itself but to project power, if that is the call that we receive from the president and secretary of defense.”

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and its carrier strike group have been in the news for the last couple weeks, as a miscommunication about the ship being redirected from Australia to North Korea spiraled out of control – a debacle outlined in a recent Navy Times article.

Harris took full responsibility for the confusion at the hearing, though he noted the carrier strike group did exactly what he said it would: “we pulled out of Singapore, truncated the exercise [with the Australian navy], canceled the port visit [to Perth, Australia], and then moved it north.” Many national media outlets, fueled by comments from the White House, assumed Carl Vinson would arrive on station sooner than it actually did.

“Today it sits in the Philippine Sea just east of Okinawa, in striking range, power projection range, of North Korea if called upon to do that. And then in a few days I expect it will continue to move north,” Harris said, noting that Vinson’s fighter jets could reach North Korea in about two hours if called on for a mission, given their current location closer to Japan. He called this distance “well within our capability” but added the jets would need to be refueled during the mission.

Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727) heads out to sea in 2012, US Navy Photo

Also capturing national media attention has been guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727), which has been photographed in South Korea and, breaking from tradition, the U.S. military has confirmed its location and upcoming plans.

“USS Michigan, an SSGN, guided-missile nuclear-powered submarine, is in fact in Busan, Korea, now as a show of solidarity with our Korean allies,” Harris said.
“It will be there for a few days and then it will leave port and be operating in the area. This is a show of solidarity with our South Korean allies and a flexible deterrent show of force to North Korea, should they consider using force against South Korea.”

  • Chesapeakeguy

    “If it flies, it dies!”

    By God, I like that!

    • Curtis Conway

      “If it flies it dies” was the unofficial motto of the CIC team on the USS Ticonderoga (CG-47). Had T-shirts made. The drawing was on the CIWS equipment room door. Been around a while. Showed a fly swatter smaking an aircraft out of the air, and the handle extended from the SPY array face.

      • El_Sid

        I’d imagine it was the motto of AA units in WWII at least, if not WWI.

  • Centaurus

    ” If he shoots, he poots “

  • Sarah O’Connell Lepordo


    • NavySubNuke

      Why are you screaming? Also, what are you actually trying to say? You didn’t use all the correct words so your post really doesn’t make much sense —- “there is nothing to like our planes fly too” just reads as gibberish.

      • Cocidius

        It is gibberish. Read her comments section. There’s a great many marbles rolling loose there.

        • Donald Carey

          A great many marbles? Methinks she has lost most of them.

      • Victor Barnes

        North Korean shill.

    • IVARR


    • Harold Kaat

      Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

    • TheTruth

      This is Mike Tyson vs. Pee Week Herman kind of a fight. That should put it into perspective for you?

      • Victor Barnes

        The fear is a rain of artillery on South Korea.

    • Oskar

      It’s tragic to see people boggled by the ‘caps lock’ key.

  • RobM1981

    You gotta love Bloomberg.

    Not only can the CSG defend against missiles, it can also… turn. At flank, those ships are doing a mile every other minute. What’s the flight time of one of Kim’s missiles – 3 or 4 minutes at that range? More?

    I’m pretty sure we’re watching really closely, so there are no undetected launches.

    The biggest threat to the CSG would be the missile going off track and landing unpredictably.

    • Duane

      Any NORK missile that managed to make it to terminal phase without being targeted and destroyed at long range by our AEGIS cruisers and destroyers with the SM series ABMs will then provide some good target shooting for our CIWS, including SEARAM.

      But at least attempting any attack on our CSG would provide full justification for a decapitation strike against the Fat Boy. In the long run that would be better than letting his cancerous regime continue to metastacize and threaten everyone in the region and well beyond.

      • El_Sid

        Which in turn triggers a decapitation strike on Seoul, 35 miles from the border.

        • Duane

          No – the NORKs have no such ability. They are a Potemkin Village, no match at all for the ROKs, Americans, and Japanese.

        • Oskar

          Which would have been destroyed by the South Koreans and USAF minutes earlier….

  • Curtis Conway

    I hope there are some KC-10A Extenders in Okinawa, and South Korea. All the Super Hornets need to be carrying ordinance, not gas. “…noting that Vinson’s fighter jets could reach North Korea in about two hours if called on for a mission…”

    • Oskar

      Or the USAF 8th FW is minutes away….

      • Curtis Conway

        Yes they are, and good team players they are too!

  • Curtis Conway

    Admiral Harris’ testimony about Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) was telling and pointed. It places Full Square the responsibility of keeping the US Armed Forces in the cross hairs of our potential enemies on the shoulders of the politicians, by allowing those offending entities to develop, test and employ weapon systems that are precluded from US Forces by treaty (500-5000 Kilometers). This results in China (not a signatory of INF) possessing numerous (90+ % according to Admiral Harris) where we can only develop and field defensive systems against such weapons. There is no wonder the CNO has discouraged use of the A2AD term in the US Navy, because it is an area where we are currently mandated to be vulnerable by treaty. We now find ourselves in a situation where Russia is (and has been) cheating on INF, the Chinese have never been a party to INF, and they are Allies. How’s them apples?

  • F-117_1

    North Korea has just completed another missile test, hang on…

    • Oskar

      That failed…

  • Marjus Plaku

    As always, the biggest threat comes from below. The lack of necessary attack boats and robust/dedicated anti submarine frigates/ships to escort and shadow the battle group around is something to be worried about. Only takes one Chinese sub to slip inside the bubble and or wait in ambush to cause serious damage to the carrier. Particularly when we announce in advance maneuvers and deployments and there are only so many ways to get to Korea for a surface ship. The chokepoints abound.

    • Oskar

      From what?

      The NORK’s 50’s era antique roadshow?

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    I reiterate again, a modest battle force of continental range gun cruisers to supplement the carrier groups. This can be achieved with a 250-254mm double length barrel capable of delivering a basic 50-100lb terminal package out to 2500km, for short ranges of tactical support somewhat heavier weights.
    GPS and related tech has restored the age of the battle ship, wake up, smell the coffee. Carriers are not obsolete, but they are often an overly complex and expensive way of expressing the national will.

    • Oskar

      Yeah, NO….

  • Ed L

    Didn’t know CBG carried that many munitions To defend against a saturation attack.

  • Top secret clearence

    Admiral Harris takes responsibility of the Carl Vinson being sent to the wrong places.Does he take responsibility for death of million of people ,once a nuclear war is started?On the April 1,2017 parade,6 mobile Pukguksong-3,6 mobile KN-14,6 mobile KN-8 ICBM with TEL were paraded,The solid fuel rockets has been tested but never launched in actual battle.The 6 Puksuksong-2 IRBM that was paraded was successfully launched by compress air canister from a submarine.If the US launched 150 Tomahawks at NK not knowing the missiles are nuclear arm or not,NK might launched their 150 nuclear weapons .50 for South Korea and military bases,50 for Japan and military bases,50 for the West Coast of the US.Soon NK will be destroyed by the US and occupy by China or Russia .Both do not want a hostile neighbor.They might keep arming NK with missiles and nuclear weapons like Viet Nam.We will live in a nuclear winter,The THAAD missile defense is for a hyperbolic missile not for the sharp angle missiles that NK has.Why not sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War?

    • Victor Barnes

      I have a better idea. Let’s take away the fat kids toys. Either we, China or Russia blow them up or the loon reluctantly gives them up. No one want’s the crazy fat kid to have nukes. It’s bad for business.

      • Top secret clearence

        Reply to Victor Barnes,Muammar Gaddafi (the sixth riches man in the modern world estimated to be worth 200 billion dollars)gave up the development of the nuclear bomb.For 50 billion dollars Gaddafi could have a substantial nuclear program to defend Libya..Any body that want to take on NK 150 nuclear weapons and one million men army should volunteer first. Admiral Harris is safe in Australia.NATO is the US pit bull.North Korea is China and Russia pit bull.Guess who gave the nuclear bomb and missiles to North Korea?I prefer to sign a peace treaty ending the Korean War,so I and millions of people could live another day.

        • Gen. Buck Turgidson

          Some of us already volunteered,,,you?

          • Top secret clearence

            I did volunteer for 6 years,James Dale Davidson (advisor to 4 US presidents) said the day of reckoning is coming.we can not keep printing money.China holds 1.3 trillion dollars in US treasury bonds.If we default no one wlil buy worthless treasury bonds.If China back their currency with gold,The dollar will be worthless.We are 20 trillion dollars in debt.Why not borrow the 1.3 trillion dollars to build all our infrastructures?The 6 Puksuksong-2 missiles and the 6 KN-8 missiles on top of trucks with TEL looks real to me.The KN-15 was launched from a cannister from a submarine on April 4, 2017The 6 KN-14 missiles in cannisters is to let the world knows, that the missiles can be launched from a air compression cannster.The KN-14 missiles are similar to China DF-41 without WU-14 and supersonic speed.NK is China pit bull dog,some times the dog will not listen to its master.

          • Top secret clearence

            We have 5,000 nuclear weapons, 12 nuclear aircraft carrier,12 or more nuclear submarines,6,000 airplanes 5,000 tanks,one million men in arms 400 military bases.We are in three fighting wars against a ragtag army(Afghanistan,Iraq,Syria,and supporting wars in Yemen,Somolia Lybia Each war cost us one trillion dollars a year.We are 20 trillion dollars in debt.Now we want to take on nuclear armed North Korea ,Russia and China.Is that called peace thru strength?The missile that flew on May 15 looks like the KN-08 missile in the April 15 parade.

          • Top secret clearence

            North Korea might sell the solid fuel Puksuksong-2 that was successfully launched from a submarine to Iran.or the land version KN-15 on tractor with TEL.for oil and gas.If we push NK too hard,NK might secretly sell the nuclear bomb with missiles.for oil and gas.I preferred to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War and end tension in the North East

    • Gen. Buck Turgidson

      The empty cannisters being pulled in circles around the viewing stand? stop fearing and learn to love peace thru strength

  • Top secret clearence

    I do not know of any defense ,THAAD or otherwise ,that can stop a supersonic missile. (WU-14, DF-16,DF-21D,DF-26) Congress recently authorized 170 million dollars for the study of supersonic missiles.Guess who gave NK,Pakistan the nuclear bomb,missiles and fighter jet planes.The people that dies might live in SK,Japan, the West Coast of the US and NK will be occupy by 150,000 Chinese troops from the other side of thew Yalu River.We will live in a nuclear winter .The wind blows East to West.

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    last weeks imminent Nuke war with N Korea is over thanks to trump-Comey _media,,not a word at all,,thanks folks we won,

  • Top secret clearence

    North Korea is China Pit bull dog in the North East.Guess who gave NK the nuclear bomb and the missiles.In the last three war,China loss three million men defending Korea.There is no defense for supersonic missiles,WU-14,turbo-jet planes or hypersonic YJ-18 which we do not have.If we sanction NK,They might sell the Puksuksong-2 , or the KN-08 that was successfully launched to Iran.Or they might sell secretly, the nuclear bomb with missiles to Iran for oil and gas.Why not signed a peace treaty ending the Korean War and no transfer of weapons?