According to officials from the Department of Defense, the United States may soon have two aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean. This would be a significant increase in the US’s military presence in the region, as the conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas militants continues to escalate.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, a large naval ship, and its accompanying vessels and planes, had already planned to leave Norfolk, Virginia this week. There is a possibility that it may be directed to travel to the waters near Israel, as reported by two anonymous officials from the Department of Defense.
According to a statement from DOD spokesperson Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry on Tuesday, the Eisenhower team has been planned to be sent and carry out operations near Europe for a while now.
According to a DOD official, the ship is scheduled to depart from Norfolk on Friday and may arrive in the eastern Mediterranean by the end of October upon command. Once there, the Eisenhower will join the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier and its strike group, which was directed by the Pentagon to the waters near Israel on Sunday in response to the unexpected attacks on southern Israel.
McGarry stated that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will continue to assess the deployment plans for both ships, taking into account the necessary balance of maritime capability in various theaters to support national security priorities.
Having two aircraft carriers, along with cruisers, destroyers, and fighter jets in the same location would send a strong message to Hamas that the U.S. military is backing Israel.
In March 2020, the Pentagon sent out two carriers to the Middle East in response to increased tensions with Iran. The Eisenhower and USS Harry S. Truman, along with their accompanying ships, were stationed in the Arabian Sea during this time.
However, the use of two aircraft carriers simultaneously has greatly strained the Navy in previous instances, prompting service officials to caution that it was not a sustainable practice. Due to the high demand for aircraft carriers worldwide, they are often deployed to various regions.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the United States is contemplating deploying the Eisenhower to Israel.