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Truman deployment cancelled because of budget, says Panetta

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posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 06:37 PM
Thanks to SaneThinking for alerting me to this. The US cancelled the planned USS Truman deployment (read about it here and many other places, citing budget issues. The idea is to "cut the carrier presence from 2 to 1 in the gulf."

However, this is really a bit of politics in action and requires a little history to understand. For many years, except in the middle of one of our wars, the US carrier presence in the Gulf area was one Carrier Strike Group. However, in early 2010 Robert Gates, then Secretary of Defense, moved to a so-called 75/25 plan whereby 75% of the time there would be two Carrier Strike Groups in the Gulf and 25% of the time there would be one. This is what we have been doing for three years until this past fall when the Pentagon surged the carrier Stennis back to the Gulf area only a few months before it had returned from deployment. In essence this was a contraction of the 25% side of the equation by sending the Stennis back early, ostensibly because Iran was heating up.

At this time the Enterprise headed home and the Eisenhower also moved to the Gulf. For a few days there were 3 groups there, and, of course, as usual, there was speculation that the Enterprise was going to be hit and/or attack Syria, depending on how far along it was in returning to Norfolk, never to sail again.

Never happened, but the Navy had a couple of problems. First, they never should have sent the Eisenhower over there because it was due for a deck overhaul, so a few weeks ago they sent it back to Norfolk to get that work done, leaving the Stennis there alone. Secondly, the Nimitz developed a severe cooling pump problem as was off line at Everett. So The Navy started prepping the USS Truman to meet up with the Stennis in the Gulf.

This pretty well matches the typical 75/25 plan, but the Navy just cancelled the Truman deployment and cited budget considerations. Now, the issue is this. Is the Navy citing budget issues while doing what they were normally going to do anyway? The idea that "policy" is that there will be 2 carriers in the Gulf at any given time is a stretch because they only stepped toward that in September when they deployed the Stennis early. It was NEVER stated that the "policy" of 75/25 was changed--just that the Stennis deployed a few months early.

Behind the scenes here we have half our carriers off line. We only have ten to begin with. Five of them are currently non-deployable, so the Navy is stretched very thin anyway. My point is that to cancel the Truman deployment "in light of budget uncertainities' is just a very convenient thing for the Navy to do right now.

I usually get my big updates on Thursday, so I will post a complete list of who's where tomorrow.
edit on 2/6/2013 by schuyler because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 07:12 PM
Looking forward to more info.

Thank you


posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 07:19 PM

the quicker we stop acting like the world police the better

bring 'em all home

posted on Feb, 6 2013 @ 07:21 PM
reply to post by schuyler

And this is why I got out of the Navy after 13 years... 6 deployments on carriers... unorganized, political BS... and I was sick of being used as a NATO/UN imperialistic pawn.

posted on Feb, 7 2013 @ 12:51 PM
OK. First I will post my current "State of the Fleet" report,, then we'll talk about it in the next post:

US Navy Carrier Strike Group Deployments: 02/07/13

CVN-68 Nimitz is in home port Everett (11/21/12). Non-deployable. Cooling pump issue.
CVN-69 Eisenhower is in home port, Norfolk (01/17/13).
CVN-70 Vinson is in home port San Diego (02/05/13).
CVN-71 Roosevelt is at Newport News for RCOH & non-deployable, Avail: late 2012.
CVN-72 Lincoln is at home port Norfolk for RCOH & non-deployable, Avail 2016.
CVN-73 Washington is in home port Yokosuka, Japan (11/21/12).
CVN-74 Stennis is in the 5th Fleet AOR (10/26/12).
CVN-75 Truman is in home port, Norfolk, VA (02/07/13).
CVN-76 Reagan is in Bremerton for DPIA & non-deployable until 2013. should be done
CVN-77 Bush is in the Atlantic for flight deck qualifications (1/16/13).
CVN-78 Ford construction at Newport News. Avail 2015, replaces Enterprise.
CVN-79 Kennedy construction at Newport News. Avail 2018, replaces Nimitz.
CVN-80 Enterprise, planned, Avail 2024, replaces Eisenhower.

RCOH=Refueling and Complex Overhaul, takes about four years.
DPIA=Docked Planned Incremental Availability, takes six months to a year.
COMPUTEX=Composite Unit Training Exercise, pre-deployment Strike Group coordination.

The above are all Carrier Strike Groups that normally travel with about 7-8 support ships including one cruiser, several destroyers (usually a squadron of 4), a fast attack supply ship, some frigates ,and a fast attack submarine or maybe two. The support ships are designed to protect the carrier. A CVN is about 100,000 tons displacement and can carry approximately 85 aircraft. CVNs are nuclear powered and run 25 years between refueling, which takes three to four years to complete.

Explanation of Areas of Responsibility (AOR)

3rd Fleet AOR – Eastern & Northern Pacific, Alaska, Bering Sea
4th Fleet AOR – Central & South America
5th Fleet AOR - The Middle East, Arabian Gulf, East Africa
6th Fleet AOR – The Mediterranean Sea, Europe
7th Fleet AOR – Asian Pacific. Indian Ocean to International Date Line

Below are the Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units. The main ship here is a "baby" carrier that is about half the size or less of a CVN, about 40,000 tons displacement. It is designed to hold helicopters and Harrier VTOL jets. These guys can pull off a minor invasion, if necessary. They usually carry a handful of tanks. Marines, by and large, are light infantry. LHA is a “Landing Helicopter Assault.” LHD is a “Landing Helicopter Dock.”

LHA-5 Pelelieu is in the 5th Fleet AOR (11/07/12)
LHD-1 Wasp is in home port, Norfolk (11/21/12)
LHD-2 Essex is in homeport, San Diego in drydock – non-deployable (11/28/12)
LHD-3 Kearsarge is in the Atlantic for training (01/24/13)
LHD-4 Boxer is in home port, San Diego (11/21/12)
LHD-5 Bataan is underway in the Atlantic (02/07/13)
LHD-6 Bonhomme Richard is underway in 7th Fleet AOR (02/06/13)
LHD-7 Iwo Jima is in home port, Norfolk (12/20/12).
LHD-8 Makin Island is in home port. San Diego (11/21/12)
LHA-6 America, under construction, Avail. 2014, Northrop Grumann, Pascagoula.
LHA-7 Tripoli, contracted Avail. 2018, HII Ingalls, Pascagoula. $2.3B

Official Status of the Navy: (This is not always accurate.)
Carrier Locations: (Usually very accurate.)

Recent decommissioned/inactivated carriers:

CV-59 Forrestal, 1955—1993, Newport, RI, Fate: scrap or sink
CV-60 Saratoga, 1956—1994, Newport, RI, Fate: scrap or sink
CV-61 Ranger, 1957—1993, Bremerton, WA, Fate: scrap or museum
CV-62 Independence, 1959—1998, Bremerton, WA, Fate: scrap or sink
CV-63 Kitty Hawk, 1961—2009, Bremerton; WA, Fate: reserve until 2015
CV-64 Constellation, 1961—2003, Bremerton, Fate: scrap or sink
CVN-65 Enterprise, 1962-2012, Norfolk, Fate: scrap
CV-66 America, 1965—1996, Fate: scuttled in live fire exercise, 2005
CV-67 John F Kennedy, 1968—2007, Philadelphia, Fate: donation hold

posted on Feb, 7 2013 @ 12:52 PM
As we discussed briefly yesterday, The Navy is running thin on carriers. The USS Enterprise just returned from the gulf and will be scrapped as theories of it being sunk in the Strait of Hormuz did not come to pass. That leaves the Navy with ten “carriers.” The new USS Ford won’t be ready for several years yet.

By carriers I mean the 100,000 ton nuclear powered CVNs with a few squadrons of F-18s on board, not the 40,000 ton “Landing Helicopter Docks” that carry a few helicopters and Harriers on board. They look like carriers and are as big as a WWII carrier, so there is often some confusion when we talk “carriers in the Gulf.” But until they get their new jets, they simply do not have the capability of a CVN. Maybe later.

Although there are ten carriers, at any given time a few are out of service and incapable of being deployed. The USS Lincoln, for example, just entered a four-year refueling period where it will be in dry dock. If it’s offline for four years, you may as well not count it. And there are those times when something unexpected happens, such as the current “cooling pump” problem with the Nimitz. A cooling pump for a nuke is probably a big deal, but the Navy isn’t talking. The Nimitz is in Everett and will be ready when it’s ready. It’s just not ready now.

The USS Roosevelt is about to come out of a four year refueling gig which was supposed to be done in 2012. It isn’t, but it looks like it’s about done. They are having sailor sleepover nights to get them used to the idea of living on a ship and there are lots of “We’re almost there” noises coming from the ship. The USS Reagan is also “about done” with a year long maintenance period at PSNS, Bremerton. It was also supposed to be done in 2012. We know they just finished a “power plant certification” which is at the end of the period, and we’re also hearing, “Almost there” noises from the ship.

The USS Vinson just came off a maintenance period two days ago and has done sea trials. They have officially declared they are done, so I’m moving them to the “available” category, though it will be some time before they are ready for a deployment—at least six months. That’s six available, four unavailable.

Now we come to the “surge ready” carriers, ones that are qualified and ready to go. This includes the USS Truman, whose deployment was just cancelled, the USS Bush, and probably the Eisenhower, all east Coast carriers with the Truman being the “most ready.” All totaled, if they fix the Nimitz, this means we ought to have nine carriers available within a few weeks with only the Lincoln out of the picture. That’s pretty significant. Of course, the Stennis will probably go into a short maintenance period when it gets back to Bremerton. Still, today, it’s crunch time with the carriers.

In my view, there is a certain amount of politics involved in scheduling and policy here. I don’t see how you can declare something “policy” if you change it every few months. It sounds more like juggling schedules than anything as lofty as a “policy change.” For many years “policy” was one carrier in the Gulf to police the flow of oil for the entire world, not just the US. We’re looking out for China and Japan, too. Three years ago Gates changed that to “2 carriers 75% of the time.” This reminds me of the sign: “This house guarded by Smith & Wesson three nights a week. You guess which three.” That’s what they were doing.

Now suddenly in September somebody got a little excited and they panicked. First they sent the Eisenhower over knowing full well it would have to be an extremely short deployment because of the deck issue. Then they surged the Stennis a few months early to close the “25” part of the “75/25” policy and have two ships there. Then four months later someone figures out this isn’t such a hot way to go. The Eisenhower has already limped home, so they “cancel” the Truman’s deployment.

Well, the Truman wasn’t supposed to go out for a few months yet anyway. What they’ve really done is “cancel the panic” to return to a “75/25” policy that has been in effect for over 3 years. Now the Pentagon is trying to play this as a budget issue. And why not? It is. Look at it from the Navy’s point of view/

Here you have an administration that can’t make up its mind. It tasks the Navy with running around showing the flag, which the Navy can barely do, but they say “Aye aye, sir!” and do it. Panetta came out here when they surged the Stennis and it was almost funny. He just about begged the Stennis to go out again so soon, praising them as the best he had, etc. Lots of upset families here that the Stennis takes the brunt of this. So now the administration says there will be budget cuts, and the Navy is saying, “Fine, but if you do this you can’t have your warships running around just because you panic. This stuff costs money.”

In my view that’s what is happening here behind the scenes.

edit on 2/7/2013 by schuyler because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2013 @ 08:05 PM
Great information!

Doing some math, 14% of the carriers should be unavailable at any one time just for the refueling issue alone. Adding in the other planned periodic maintenance would bring the total up to at least two carriers being unavailable. Adding return to home port and get ready for the next deployment and unexpected repairs and I would suggest that the Navy could only rely on 7 carriers at any given moment. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The question on my mind relates to the fact that very shortly there will be nine (90%) of the carriers available to meet operational requirements! This is at least one, possibly two more that should, under normal circumstances be ready.

That raises the issue of what is the Navy getting ready for! Is it a co-incidence or is it preparation for a major conflict or two. I am thinking of Iran and if they do go after Iran then they must be prepared for someone else (say China) to use the event to make some small scale gains such as Taiwan or the Islands in dispute with Japan.

It just seems that having 90% of your force available at a point in time to be pretty good planning.

As a further example was the 'cooling pump' issue real or an excuse to bring the Carrier in to prepare it for a particular conflict. The 'policy' changes could just be a ruse to bring the full force to battle readiness at this time.


edit on 7/2/2013 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 12:04 PM
reply to post by pheonix358

Thanks for your post. It seems like it's feast or famine for the carriers these days. After a severe crunch suddenly nearly everyone is available. I've been tracking the carriers pretty closely for a couple of years now and this is the first time I've seen us be on the verge of 9 out of 10 more or less ready. usually there are at least two and often three unavailable ships at any given time. Mind you we are not there yet, but it looks close.

But, if I'm not being too flippant here, there's "ready" and there's "ready." Many of the "available" carriers, i.e.: Not torn apart in drydock, aren't really operational. By observation you can see that it usually takes about six months to ramp up. For example, the USS Vinson just got out of a minor maintenance period. My guess is they have three major issues yet.

1. Dork around for a month or two getting "certified" meaning the brass shows up and puts them through their paces to see if they really have their act together, integrate new staff, etc.

2. Carrier qualifications, which is when the F-18 squadrons train to land on the deck. This can take a month or two of "at sea" time, usually just off one of the coasts. The USS Bush is doing that right now.

3. COMPUTEX, which is a pre-deployment integration exercise (Composite Unit Training). This also takes a month or so and is when the entire group of ships trains together. Just making a turn in a Carrier Strike Group is a complex operation where all the ships have a role, different speeds, etc. The USS Truman just finished this exercise.

According to the Navy, only the Truman and the Bush are "surge ready," meaning they can go any time. I also believe the Eisenhower could be declared "surge ready" at any time. So, here's our list:

CVN-68 Nimitz - broken, unavailable
CVN-69 Eisenhower - should be surge ready shortly
CVN-70 Vinson - 6 months out
CVN-71 Roosevelt - more than 6 months out
CVN-72 Lincoln - unavailable for four years
CVN-73 Washington - "forward deployed" in Japan
CVN-74 Stennis - deployed in the Gulf
CVN-75 Truman - surge ready
CVN-76 Reagan - more then 6 months out
CVN-77 Bush - surge ready

I agree with you that the Nimitz situation is strange. They limped home with a "cooling pump problem." It's been several months now and they are docked at home port Everett, Washington. Everett is not a shipyard; it's just a place to park. If the problem were serious, you'd expect it to be at PSNS (Puget Sound Naval Shipyard) which is about 40 miles away in Bremerton, where there is a drydock and thousands of workers. Indeed, the ONLY reason there is a carrier at Everett is because of the narrow and shallow "Rich Passage" which leads to PSNS. The Navy did not want a carrier trapped in Bremerton needing to wait a mere 12 hours for high tide. They wanted to move fast if they had to and here's the Nimitz sitting at Everett ready to move fast? I dunno. The pieces don't quite add up here, though it may simply be my own ignorance.

One last thing: They're going to have to send a carrier to relieve the Stennis within a few weeks. Deployments last about seven months at the outside. The Stennis has been gone since September. Somebody is going to have to be there by the end of next month. It will be the Truman or the Bush. There aren't any other choices.
edit on 2/8/2013 by schuyler because: (no reason given)

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