The Pentagon has ordered a second aircraft carrier strike group to be deployed near Israel to the eastern Mediterranean region.
According to US officials, the primary objective of this deployment is to prevent Iran or Hezbollah from becoming involved in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
This significant development involves the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group, which will join the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group, already positioned in international waters off the coast of Israel.
Confirming the deployment, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated, “I have directed the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to begin moving to the Eastern Mediterranean as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
Throughout the week, senior US officials have publicly emphasized the presence of the USS Ford carrier strike group in the eastern Mediterranean.
US Air Force Fighter Jets Reinforce Commitment to Israel, Deter Iran and Hezbollah
Additionally, more US Air Force fighter jets have been deployed to the region to underscore the unwavering commitment of the United States to Israel.
The goal is to serve as a powerful deterrent signal to Iran and Hezbollah, dissuading them from intervening in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
A senior US defense official highlighted, “These posture increases were intended to serve as an unequivocal demonstration in deed and not only in words of US support for Israel’s defense and serve as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah, and any other proxy across the region who might be considering exploiting the current situation to escalate the conflict. Those adversaries should think twice.”
The decision to have Eisenhower join the Ford carrier strike group amplifies the show of force, reinforcing the message of deterrence.
Furthermore, the Pentagon is actively considering the deployment of the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship closer to Israel to provide additional support if required. CNN has reported the consideration of this ship and the rotary aircraft it carries.
The USS Eisenhower strike group initially departed from Norfolk, Virginia, en route to a pre-scheduled deployment that would lead it to the Middle East through the Mediterranean Sea.
It was set to participate in exercises in the US European Command area of responsibility. Speculation arose that it might be redirected to join the USS Ford in the eastern Mediterranean.
However, the Pentagon’s official statement emphasized that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would continue to evaluate deployment plans for both carriers, considering the appropriate balance of maritime capability to support national security priorities.
The Eisenhower strike group consists of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower and the guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), along with the guided-missile destroyers USS Laboon (DDG-58), USS Mason (DDG-87), and USS Gravely (DDG-107).
The USS Ford strike group, which arrived in the eastern Mediterranean waters earlier this week, includes the cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).
Source: ABC News