Monday, November 18, 2013

US Navy deployments... Iran?

At present, the Nimitz and Truman CSGs are underway in the 5th Fleet area of operations (Arabian Sea/Persian Gulf locale). The Nimitz CSG has now been deployed for eight months (a standard deployment is 6/7 months). Taking into account the fact that the Reagan and Bush CSGs are also operating in the Atlantic (a relatively short sail to the 5th Fleet AO), I think it's pretty obvious that the Pentagon is working to stack substantial military assets in the region. It's certainly interesting that over half the US Navy's total carrier force is at sea.

From my perspective, it's almost certain that escalating tensions between Iran and Israel are the motivating cause for this deployment structure (the Obama Administration is keen to cool US-Iranian tensions so the deployments are unlikely to mean deliberate US gunboat diplomacy). While the US is hopeful that Wednesday's recommencement of the P5+1 negotiations will bear fruit, the Obama Administration is simultaneously aware that their influence over Netanyahu is inherently limited... that Israel may attack Iran at any time. It's also worth noting that in the context of the sequester, these fleet deployments represent a major drain on scarce Defense Department resources. No longer does the US flex our military power without carefully weighing corollary cost considerations. That fact alone gives credence to the notion that Obama is worried.

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