ACIBC Fact Sheet: National Security

ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 8, 2014) USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) prepares for flight operations. Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 8, 2014) USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) prepares for flight operations. Carl Vinson is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

  • A United States Navy aircraft carrier is a very modern, very mobile U.S. military base complete with airfield, hospital and communications systems from which the United States can strike at its enemies.
  • For over 70 years, U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have been vital to defending America. Aircraft carriers have been employed in every major and many smaller conflicts including Vietnam; Grenada and Lebanon; Libya; Operation Desert Storm; and most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • The United States Navy has the world's largest carrier fleet, with eleven in service and two under construction.
  • A carrier's air wing can typically support 125 sorties a day at a distance of up to 750 nautical miles.
  • Carriers also operate as hubs in the strike group's command, control, communications and intelligence networks, playing an increasingly larger role in controlling the battle space at sea.
  • Over 90 percent of world trade is moved by sea, including much of the world’s gas and oil supply. Aircraft carriers and their strike forces are constantly on patrol in vital regions of the world to keep shipping lanes open and protect the interests of the United States and its allies.
  • Carriers can rapidly transport large, powerful forces to any region in the globe, and engage in several missions simultaneously.
  • Modern carrier capabilities save American forces from having to comply with the arbitrary requirements of other nations. In 2001, it took months to negotiate aircraft basing permission from the countries surrounding Afghanistan. Carriers stationed in international waters can provide the infrastructure, equipment and staff to enable forces to undertake their missions without delay.
  • In June 2014, after Islamic State fighters rolled south into Mosul, Iraq, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) to move from the North Arabian Sea into the Arabian Gulf. Within two days, the aircraft carrier was sending surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Iraq and Syria. With it strategically re-positioned, George H. W. Bush launched the first air strike against ISIL in August. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus praised the forward presence and capabilities of Bush, stating, “We could move almost instantly when the president gave the order [to launch strikes].” Bush’s deployment lasted nine months and covered more than 73,000 miles.

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