Home » Budget Industry » UPDATED: 3 U.S. Carrier Strike Groups to Exercise for 4 Days in the Sea of Japan


UPDATED: 3 U.S. Carrier Strike Groups to Exercise for 4 Days in the Sea of Japan

Top to bottom: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USNI News Image

This post has been updated with a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

Three U.S. carrier strike groups will drill together – in the first tri-carrier operations in a decade off the Korean peninsula in the Sea of Japan, several sources confirmed to USNI News on Wednesday.

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), along with their escorts and air wings, are set to meet off the coast of Korea for four days of exercises later this week.

“These three carriers are not there specifically targeting North Korea. … This is a routine demonstration of our commitment to the region,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said last week.

Defense officials told USNI News that, since all three carriers entered U.S. 7th Fleet in October, there would be likely that at least two of the carriers conducting joint operations.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift, said in a Wednesday statement.
“Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

Nimitz is in transit to its homeport in Washington state, while Roosevelt is set to start operations in the Persian Gulf since departing last month from San Diego. Reagan has been operating off the Korean peninsula since last month.

In late May, Reagan and the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group conducted the first dual-carrier operations off of the Korean Peninsula since the late 1990s in reaction to a series of provocative missile tests conducted by North Korea.

News of the exercises comes as the Navy has seven carriers underway for the first time in years.

USNI News understands there will be international participation in the exercise, but it is still unclear which navies will join the exercise and in what capacity.

However, reports indicate the Japanese would send a ship following a separate exercise.

“A Japanese destroyer, the Inazuma, will join the armada, two Japanese government officials said, following a separate three-day exercise with the Reagan and two Indian warships in the Sea of Japan that ended Monday,” according a Tuesday report in newswire Reuters.

The tri-carrier operations will be the largest exercise since 2007, when the Nimitz, John C. Stennis and Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Groups exercised off of Guam as part of Exercise Valiant Shield.

The drills come as President Donald Trump is on a state visit to the region and against a backdrop of increasing tensions between North Korea and Washington.

Trump was in Beijing on Wednesday and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a meeting in which he was expected to discuss how to curb Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The following is the Nov. 8, 2017 statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

YOKOSUKA — The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups will commence a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific, Nov 11-14.

Units assigned to the strike force will conduct coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort.

“It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together, and even rarer to be able to train with three,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, Adm. Scott Swift. “Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex, and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.”

While at sea, the strike force plans to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training.This is the first time that three carrier strike groups have operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. Both exercises focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation. Ronald Reagan took part in VS 2006 and Nimitz took part in VS 2007. More recently, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have conducted dual carrier strike group operations in the Western Pacific including in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Philippine Sea. These opportunities typically occur when strike groups deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations from the West Coast of the United States are joined with the forward deployed carrier strike group from Japan.

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been a persistent and stabilizing presence conducting operations throughout the region. The Fleet is just as committed to maintaining those security commitments for the next 70 years.

  • NavySubNuke

    Great move by Navy. By themselves these chances don’t occur very often and doing it at a time and place where you can send a message to help deter North Korea and China while simultaneously assuring Japan, South Korea, and other allies and partners in the region is even better.
    If we do ever go to war with China our ability to safely and effectively operate multiple carriers together in a super battle group is going to be a key and necessary capability.

    • Stupid Lefties

      Agreed. Off topic… remember when obama visited China. No stairs were brought out so he had to exit AF1 through the tail section. No greeting party was there. No pomp, bands, or parade. They seem to respect President Trump.

      • Uru

        More like the Chinese realised how it easy it to to coax Trump into saying what they want: a complete flip flop about trade deficit and a reaffirmation of the one-china principle.

        Can’t see what so proud about this. China showed the world how easy it is to manipulate the president of the US by hosting lavish state reception, and scored yet another propaganda victory with Trump’s statements.

        Pre-election: recognising China as a strategic rival.
        Now: openly sucking up to Xi.

        It’s like Trump’s stance on China is made up of the fly.

        • Tech

          Trump is “schmoozing” them to get what he wants on NK. Listen to what he says…they’re kissing his behind hoping that he doesn’t freak out on them too much on trade. What he does is quite obvious for anyone who has been in high end sales. He knows exactly what he doing.

      • Mk-Ultra

        You entered the thread just to complain? Lol

      • Tech

        They didn’t like Obama and had no respect for him either. The left waxes poetic for the guy, but he had no business anywhere near the Oval Office. He wasn’t as bad as I feared but darn close. If I had to hear about Moochie’s “toned arms” while ignoring her hujass one more time, I was going to freak out.

      • vietvet1968

        China doesn’t respect DT either…they know he is easy to please and manipulate and it worked. He attacked China during the election said they were raping the US..now he loves them. Talk about a flip flop. All they had to do was give him his favorite hamburger and tell him how wonderful he was and he got suckered in. China is no dummy. They have been around a lot longer than DT. DT is worse than an amateur.

  • John Locke

    Meh, Regan is forward deployed anyway and it’s a typical Passex with the other two.

    • TransformerSWO

      4 days exercising together is not a PASSEX.

  • incredulous1

    and so, Carl Vinson CSG is not far away and could join quickly if needed. As to air stairs, and red carpets, Obama had already given everything away the Xi Jinping could ask for, so he had no incentive left to play nice at that point. that’s the way the Chinese world view works. The thing that bothers me most is that they also place almost no value on human life, which creates asymmetry and goes back to a meat grinder effect like we had in Vietnam.

  • omegatalon

    It would be interesting to see a F-35B perform a vertical landing on Japan’s Izumo heavy cruiser as that would really attract China’s attention.

  • pcman

    First, it should be made very clear that the primary mission of the weapons assets of the carrier groups is to defend the fleet from potential adversary attacks by air, space, ground cyberspace and submarine forces. Defense of the president and his staff on the ground and air is the responsibility of the Commander of PACOM or a designated joint force commander (JFC). The JFC would control all US forces that could be called upon to support the president. I am sure an operation order is in effect to cover all of the president’s activities 24/7 and all operations are coordinated jointly among all US military forces and national intelligence agencies. Out-of-theater forces can also be requested through the CJCS, and you can bet such potential forces are on 24 hour alert. Allied and coalition forces are available through combined theater commands and UN headquarters in Korea and Japan. The complications and implications of such operations are mitigated through annual operations exercises in the Pacific and Asia.

  • Ed L

    Good targets for the couple of thousand cruise missiles if they enter the south china sea

  • John B. Morgen

    Three large American aircraft carriers should not bother the PLAN or its master, just remember the number carriers we had off of Vietnam during that Cold War era.

    • vietvet1968

      Air power alone never wins wars. That lesson was learned the hard way in Vietnam…I am not sure the current crop of leaders got the lesson.

      • John B. Morgen

        Starting with Bush the Younger and Obama because it is the ground forces that wins the ground wars: airpower is a adjunct for the ground forces.

  • Marjus Plaku

    That second picture with the Teddy pier-side on that seemingly undeveloped station is very interesting. Never would have thought a carrier could dock in something like that. Also 3 CBGs is pretty impressive but in a real situation they would not all be bottled up on the Sea of Japan, but spread at the corners of the world and striking targets at will, on the move and in concealment. This is for training and show of course.