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"When word of a crisis breaks out in Washington, it's no accident that
the first question that comes to everyone's lips is: 'Where's the nearest carrier?

President Bill Clinton
March 12, 1993
aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt

Where are the Carriers?

Name Number Class Homeport Fleet Status
Kitty Hawk CV-63CV-63Yokosuka
as of August 1998
2-month deployment May-Jun 2000
Arrived Yokosuka 25 Aug 99
Departed Persian Gulf 15 Jul
Underway on three-and-a-half month deployment since 02 March
Constellation CV-64 CV-63San DiegoPACnext deployment March-2001
Returned to San Diego 17 Dec
Arrived Persian Gulf 28 Aug
Arrived ROK 12 Jul 1999
Deployed 18 Jun 1999
Enterprise CVN-65 CVN-65 NorfolkLANT next deployment spring-2001
carrier qualifications mid-Feb 2000
In Port - mid-Jun 99
In Med late Ap 99
Arrived Persian Gulf late Mar 99
Departed from Adriatic
Transited Suez Canal 14-Mar-99
John F. Kennedy CV-67 CV-67MayportLANT Atlantic Ocean as of 22 May 2000
Departed Arabian Gulf 19 Mar 2000
6-month Med deployment began 30-Sep-99
returned 28-Oct-1997 from 6-month deployment
Naval Reserve training
Nimitz CVN-68CVN-68NorfolkLANT Newport News Shipbuilding for a 33-month refueling and modernization overhaul - May 1998 through March 2001
Dwight D. Eisenhower CVN-69CVN-68NorfolkLANT 6th departed CENTCOM 01 Aug 2000
Red Sea as of 22 May 2000
deploys Persian Gulf 18 Feb 2000
arrived from Med 10-Dec-98
Carl Vinson CVN 70CVN-68Bremerton PAC CURRENT LOCATION
DPIA overhaul thru summer 2000
Returned ~06-May-99
Departed Persian Gulf late Mar 99
Departed homeport 06-Nov-98 for
6-month WestPac 98-99 deployment
Arrived 18-Dec-98 for DESERT FOX / SOUTHERN WATCH
Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71CVN-68NorfolkLANT CURRENT STATUS
Homeport 30-Sep-99
Departed Gulf 28 Aug 99
Arrived Persian Gulf 15 Jul 99
Departed Adriatic ~15 Jun 99
Arrived Adriatic 03 Apr 99
Departed homeport 27 Mar 99
6-month Med/Arabian Gulf
1-year DPIA overhaul complete 02-Jul-98
Abraham Lincoln CVN 72CVN-68EverettPAC CURRENT STATUS
Persian Gulf - late Sep 2000
6-mo PIA @ Bremerton til Oct-Nov 99
pierside at Everett as of 11-Dec-98,
departed Arabian Gulf 21-Oct-98
George Washington CVN 73CVN-68NorfolkLANT CURRENT LOCATION
Mediterranean Sea - late Sep 2000
Persian Gulf 24 Jul 2000
post-overhaul seatrials
Drydocked PIA Norfolk NSY
10-month overhaul 11-May-98 to 17-Mar-99
John C. Stennis CVN-74CVN-68San DiegoPAC5th CURRENT LOCATION
departed Gulf - 26 May 2000
Arabian Gulf - early-Mar 2000
Arabian Sea 26 Feb 2000
South China Sea mid-Feb 2000
WESTPAC - January 2000
Began seatrials 16 Apr 1999
first deployment in late 2000
Ronald Reagan CVN-76CVN-68San DiegoPACCommissioned in 2003
George H. W. Bush CVN-77 CVN-68Commissioned in 2009

The Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups (CVBG) consist of a carrier, its embarked air wing, and various escorts -- cruisers, destroyers, frigates, attack submarines, and attached logistics ships. Each Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) comprises a large-deck amphibious assault ship, two to four amphibious ships [transport dock ship or dock landing ship], and an embarked Marine expeditionary unit (special operations capable), or MEU(SOC). Battle Groups and ARGs may operate independently as naval expeditionary task groups, or they may coalesce into a single naval expeditionary task force (1 CVBG + 1 ARG).

At any given time, three CVBGs and three ARGs are deployed and assigned to a numbered-fleet commander in an overseas area:

A carrier homeported in Japan provides further full-time presence in the Western Pacific. The Navy deploys a CVBG and an ARG about three-fourths and four-fifths of the year, respectively, in the Mediterranean Sea; about three-fourths and one-half of the year, respectively, in the Indian Ocean; and on a nearly continuous basis in the western Pacific. During periods when neither a CVBG nor an ARG is present in a theater, one is located within a few days� transit time of the region.

In its 1993 Bottom-Up Review, DOD concluded a force of 10 aircraft carriers could meet the military's war-fighting requirements, but it retained 12 carriers (11 active carriers plus 1 deployable training carrier) to meet the larger peacetime forward presence requirements in the three principal overseas theaters. The May 1997 Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) differed from the major regional conflict building blocks developed in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review. The FY 1999 budget funded 12 carrier battle groups (CVBGs), 11 Navy carrier air wings (50 fighter/attack aircraft each), 12 amphibious ready groups, 116 surface combatants, and 57 attack submarines.

Since the Bottom-Up Review in 1993, the Defense Department routinely categorized the aircraft carrier force structure as consisting of 11 active carriers and one operational reserve/training carrier. In response to Quadrennial Defense Review analyses and a six-month deployment in 1997 with an active air wing, DoD reevaluated the concept of employing the John F. Kennedy (CV-67) primarily as an operational reserve/training carrier. As a result, this carrier was fully integrated into the active fleet�s deployment schedule, while still functioning as a reserve and training asset when not operating in forward areas.

During their service lives, aircraft carriers progress through a maintenance cycle of alternating operating intervals and depot-level maintenance periods. An important constraint that bounds the ability to employ carriers in support of forward presence is Personnel Tempo of Operations (PERSTEMPO). The Navy initiated the PERSTEMPO Program in 1985 to balance support of national objectives with reasonable operating conditions for naval personnel, coupling the professionalism associated with going to sea with a reasonable home life. The Program is built around the following goals:

Ships returning from deployment can be retained for a period in a surge readiness status to meet contingency requirements. The interdeployment training cycle cycle progresses through three phases of training -- unit, ship and air wing, and battle group. The cycle also includes other activities such as in-port periods and preparation for deployment. Since fiscal year 1984 interdeployment training periods of conventional carriers have averaged 9.8 months while those of nuclear carriers have averaged 10.6 months.

If a carrier is required in an emergency, maintenance periods can be shortened by varying degrees, depending on the stage of the maintenance being performed. A conventional aircraft carrier can be surged out of an ongoing Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) and a nuclear aircraft carrier can be surged out of an ongoing Phased Incremental Availability (PIA).

In addition to the normal depot maintenance periods, nuclear-powered carriers must complete a refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) midway through their service lives. While the conventional carriers do not have a similar requirement, during the 1980s and early 1990s, six underwent modernization, five of which had their service lives extended through the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). One conventional carrier was nearly continuously in SLEP while that program was underway. As the nuclear carrier fleet ages into the 21st Century, a similar situation will exist from a refueling overhaul standpoint.

Sources and Methods

FAS | Military | DOD 101 | Systems |||| Support FAS

Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Saturday, October 14, 2000 7:08:18 PM