Jan 04, 2007
Kristin Roberts, Reuters
The Pentagon will send a second aircraft carrier and its escort ships to the Gulf, defense officials said on Wednesday, as a warning to
Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Bremerton, Washington-based USS John C. Stennis strike group would deploy this month. It will put 5,000 more
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier group entered the Gulf in December.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to comment, saying the Defense Department would not discuss future deployments or ship movements. But military analysts said the move was intended to demonstrate
The Stennis had been scheduled to deploy to the Pacific region. But the Pentagon agreed instead to send the carrier group to the Gulf after a request from U.S. Central Command, the military command responsible for
Senior defense officials have said that request was aimed at increasing Central Command's flexibility in a variety of operations and providing deterrence in the region.
Increased US Presence
The second carrier, while adding relatively few service members to the region, is valuable as a symbol of
Longer term, however, the Bush administration must decide if it will keep two carrier groups in the Gulf indefinitely.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates previously said the increased American presence in the Gulf was a message to the region as a whole and not a response to any specific action by
"I think the message that we are sending to everyone, not just