Conflict & Justice

Aircraft carrier fleet in Persian Gulf cut back on budget worries


The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator taxies on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman December 9, 2012 in the Atalntic Ocean. The USS Harry S. Truman will not be returning to the Persian Gulf Friday due to budget constraints.


US Navy

The US Navy said it will cut its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf from two ships to one ship.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta changed the US' "two carrier policy" in the region citing budget constraints.

The USS Harry S. Truman will not leave for the Gulf on Friday as planned and will stay in port in Norfolk Virginia, said Fox News.

NBC News said that the US has kept two carriers in the region for the last two years after a directive by former defense chief Robert Gates.

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A spokesman for the Pentagon told the Associated Press that the move won't affect battle-readiness.

"This prudent decision enables the US Navy to maintain these ships to deploy on short notice in the event they are needed to respond to national security contingencies," said spokesman George Little, reported the Associated Press.

The new policy is likely a result of sequestration, or automatic spending cuts initiated by Congress in 2011.

The cuts have left the Pentagon with a smaller operating budget and more uncertainty about the future.

NBC News said that under sequestration the Navy will lose $4 billion over the next six months and is already $4 billion over its current budget.