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No Carrier in Far East For Four Months in 2015
By Harold Hutchison

The Obama Administration’s strategy to “pivot” to Asia may lack crucial assets to carry it out, as there will be no carrier in the region for four months in 2015. The reason? Defense cuts, including the premature retirement of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in December, 2012.

USS George Washington (CVN 73)
U.S. Navy photo

According to a report by The Hill, next year, when the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) returns to the United States, there will be a four-month gap in carrier coverage until the carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) arrives to be forward-based in Japan.

“We really need two or three carriers there,” Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA) told The Hill. The carrier force, which by law was supposed to be at 11 carriers, was reduced to ten under a temporary exemption passed by a Democratic Congress in 2009.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Official portrait

In recent months, the ChiComs have become more aggressive in the South China Sea, where there are maritime territorial disputes between the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. A maritime dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea has also heated up.

Republicans in Congress have been trying to roll back some defense cuts, including keeping the George Washington in service and also continue production of the Littoral Combat Ship.