The United States Department of Defense has announced that US Navy Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, led by USS Nimitz (CVN-68), is departing US Central Command area of responsibility and moving into the US Indo-Pacific region.
“We want to thank all the men and women aboard the ships in that strike crew and the squadrons who supported Central Command now for more than 270 days, ensuring our national security and deterring conflict in a very critical region of the world,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said on February 2.
The Pentagon said that the Carrier Strike Group can now be called upon for operations, training or humanitarian exercises in 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
The Pentagon also noted that Nimitz’s departure means there is no US carrier operating in the Central Command area of operations. Kirby noted that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III believes America has “a robust presence in the Middle East.”
Kirby said that the Pentagon chief is balancing requirements from various parts of the world, and the United States doesn’t have an unlimited number of aircraft carriers.
“Every decision that we make with military forces — air, ground or naval — and certainly, decisions that you make with respect to a capital asset, like an aircraft carrier and its associated, supporting Strike Group is a decision driven by a frank assessment of the threats in the area, and also a frank consideration of the capabilities themselves,” Kirby said. “So, absolutely, the secretary was mindful of the larger geostrategic picture when he approved the movement of the Carrier Strike Group from the Central Command area responsibility.”
Kirby also explained Nimitz and supporting ships deployment longer than what is typically required and the wear and tear on the sailors, ships, and aircraft were considered.