The foreign policy expert strikes again.
Via Defense News:
The Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group chopped out of the European theater of operations Dec. 26, headed home to Norfolk after months of operating in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, where the strike jets of Carrier Air Wing 3 flew hundreds of missions against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. The homecoming is set for Dec. 30 – two days shy of the Navy’s stated goal of bringing the group home in seven months.US carrier groups regularly relieve each other in theater, often handing off duties within sight of the other in the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea. But this time, no carrier is in the Eisenhower’s wake.The relief ship, the carrier George H. W. Bush, has yet to leave Norfolk – and is unlikely to do so before the Jan. 20 inauguration of the Trump administration, according to a Navy source. The gap could last as long as two months, sources said, between the time the Eisenhower left the combat theater and the Bush arrives.And that gap comes at a particularly inopportune time. Numerous media reports indicate intelligence organizations and analysts are on the lookout for provocative actions by potential antagonists – in particular Russia, China, North Korea, Iran or ISIS. Terror alerts, according to media reports, are high in many regions, including Europe, the Mideast and North America, due to a confluence of factors – the new year, ISIS’ diminishing power in the face of counterattacks in Iraq and Syria, and a natural tendency to test a new administration. […]The Bush is not alone in experiencing delays. The Eisenhower herself missed a deployment due to shipyard and maintenance issues, and had to be spelled in 2015 by the carrier Harry S. Truman. Chronic problems in the Navy’s four shipyards, which perform the majority of heavy maintenance work on the carriers, has meant that most recent carrier overhauls are running long. Naval Sea Systems Command has acknowledged these problems and is working to restore and improve the work forces in the yards.But it is not clear why Fleet Forces did not have a training plan in hand even before the Bush returned to the fleet. The ship and its strike group completed their last major pre-deployment exercise Dec. 21, but Navy officials expect another month to go by before the Bush deploys.