The Pentagon has issued orders for the deployment of a second aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean, near Israel. The primary aim of this deployment is to serve as a deterrent against potential involvement by Iran or Hezbollah in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, according to sources within the U.S. government.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed this critical move, stating, “I have directed the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to begin moving to the Eastern Mediterranean.” He emphasized that this deployment is part of the U.S.’s broader efforts to prevent hostile actions against Israel and any attempts to escalate the conflict following Hamas’s attack on Israel.
The decision to send the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group comes in addition to the presence of the USS Gerald R Ford carrier strike group, which had arrived in the region earlier in the week and is currently stationed in international waters off the coast of Israel.
Senior U.S. officials have made public statements emphasizing that the presence of these aircraft carriers, coupled with the introduction of more U.S. Air Force fighter jets to the region, is a clear demonstration of the United States’ unwavering commitment to Israel and a stern warning to Iran and Hezbollah against interfering in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The deployment of the Eisenhower carrier strike group alongside the Ford group is expected to amplify this message of deterrence.
Furthermore, there are reports that the Pentagon is actively considering the deployment of the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship to a location closer to Israel. This would provide additional support if needed in the ongoing conflict.
The USS Eisenhower strike group, which left Norfolk, Virginia, on a previously scheduled deployment, is now en route to the Middle East via the Mediterranean Sea. The group was initially intended to participate in pre-planned exercises within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. However, the current situation led to the decision to redirect it to the eastern Mediterranean.
The Eisenhower strike group includes the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, along with the guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), and 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 earlier, comprises the aircraft carrier USS Ford, the cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).
The combined presence of these two formidable carrier strike groups underscores the United States’ determination to uphold regional stability and protect its allies in the midst of ongoing tensions.