Obama Withdraws Aircraft Carrier Support From Middle East Just As Russia Unveils Its Syrian Airbase

Tyler Durden's picture

One glance at the map below, showing the current distribution of U.S. naval assets, reveals something that has almost never happened at any time in the past decade:


As the map shows, US aircraft carrier, CVN 71 Theodore Roosevelt is currently on its way out of the Persian Gulf, leaving just the LHD-2 Essex Amphibious Warfare ship group to defend the Persian Gulf and more importantly, leaving the hotly contested middle east without U.S. carrier-based air support for the first time in years.

How did this happen?

According to USNI News, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group left U.S. 5th Fleet on Tuesday with no public timeline for when its replacement will reach the Middle East to continue U.S. air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq in Syria (ISIS) targets. While the CVN 71 The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is slated to be the next CSG bound for the Middle East, but the Navy would not specify a deployment time other than later this year, a service official told USNI News on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to talk to future operations,” the official said.

That said, the redeployment of the Roosevelt is not a surprise: two months ago the CNN Pentagon correspondent warned that this was coming:

The U.S. Navy will not be able to keep an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf for much of the fall season, according to a Navy official.  The official said that's because the Navy has to schedule needed maintenance after years of extended deployments and because of reduced spending due to mandatory budget cuts.


While there have been so-called "carrier gaps" in the Persian Gulf before, this one will leave the Navy without the presence of a high-profile aircraft carrier just as a proposed nuclear deal with Iran is at center stage. It also comes as Iranian naval forces have conducted low-level harassment of U.S. and other shipping in the region.


U.S. military officials insisted that there would be no impact on U.S. operations in the gulf because the Air Force can briefly send additional, land-based aircraft to the region if needed. Airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria are also largely undertaken by the Air Force. The Navy accounts for only about 20% of the ISIS strike missions.

Whatever the reason, the Roosevelt is out of there, and the ship is now said to be bound for its new homeport at Naval Station San Diego, Calif.

While in 5th Fleet, the Roosevelt CSG was the largest symbol in the U.S.-led anti-ISIS collation responsible for "1,812 combat sorties totaling 10,618 combat flight hours, taking on 14.5 million gallons of jet fuel and expending 1,085 precision-guided munitions," as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, according to a Tuesday statement from the service.

Which probably does not explain why in over a year, the US did less damage to ISIS then the Russian airforce has achieved in less than a month.

As for the reason why suddenly the Persian Gulf has an unprecedented US carrier support gap in the middle east - one which could last for two months or well longer - it is because the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which is slated to be the next CSG bound for the Middle East, has been delayed and the Navy would not specify a deployment time other than later this year, a service official told USNI News on Tuesday.

Earlier this month the Truman CSG completed its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the complex training exercise that certifies the strike group for deployment.Previous CSG and three-ship Amphibious Ready Group deployments were often extended to meet the demand of U.S. geographic combatant commanders (COCOMs) at the expense of maintenance setbacks and crew fatigue.

Furthermore, this may be just the beginning of key US naval "gaps" across critical geographic regions:

As the Navy continues to implement stricter deployment tenants, more gaps in Middle East carrier presence may emerge, several service leaders told USNI News in September. Last month Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, assistant deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy (OPNAV N3/5B) told the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) that it would take a directive from the Secretary of Defense to the Navy to extend the deployment of a carrier to longer than seven months.


While extending a carrier is always an option, another option would be “to reduce our global input as to what we can provide [to the combatant commanders] for a designated period of time, and mitigate that presence, that carrier presence, in some other way using our joint partners, using joint aircraft to cover a gap in time in which we may not have a carrier present,” Harley told the panel.

Whatever the future of US naval "gaps" may be, one thing is clear: the departure of the Roosevelt comes at a particularly awkward time - just as Russia is setting up its own aicraft base in Syria.

As we reported yesterday, "The start of Russian airstrikes in Syria has given new hope to loyalist forces in their battle against a host of rebel factions, including the Islamic State. Now Russia may expand these operations into Iraq if requested to do so by Baghdad. Indeed, from its position in Latakia, Russia has the range to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq, although further deployment of resources may be required to do so effectively."

More importanly, Russia can now also reach the all important global "choke point" of the Suez Canal within minutes, not to mention Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and - if propertly equppped - Bahrain, the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth fleet.

In conclusion ,we take one final look at the map up top, and ask if on its way back to San Diego the Roosevelt will be the ship that Obama uses to send China a message as he has threatened to do, by sailing around the contested islands in the South China Sea, a move which China has warned twice it will be forced to retaliate against. Recall that yesterday China's Global Times said that should Obama carry this out, it would be a "breach of China's bottom line".

"If the US encroaches on China's core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it," the paper warned.

In light of this upcoming showdown, one hopes that the USS Rosevelt won't be known in history as the second coming of the USS Maddox.

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Bumpo's picture

Maybe he doesn't want the embarrassment of having it sunk

Deathrips's picture

He tucks reggies balls in his mouth and runs...good. Bring all troops home defend the borders.



quintago's picture

This is all smoke and mirrors. We were not caught off-guard, and knew exactly what Russia was going to do. It was obvious as soon as both the US and Germany pulled out Patriot missiles and other SAM assets out of Turkey weeks before Russia announced they were going in. Just look at the excuses they used to pull the assets out and you knew what was coming.





Deathrips's picture

" All right troops, pack it up. Operation freedum was a sucess. You didnt win that."




Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) Deathrips Oct 16, 2015 11:49 AM

Bait.  Doubt if Russia bites.

knukles's picture

Ain't like none of this shit planned is it?
Regardless of my economic, political and social views, this guy couldn't do a better job of fucking up Western Culture.
Allah Ackbar!

Fill disclosure... Methinks all US troopies should be brought back home, but what the fuck do I know?
The Swiss do very well for themselves just minding their very own business.

FreeMoney's picture

Now we should withdraw all the rest of troops, ships, and foreign aid.

Deathrips's picture

"Forward, to defend the white house from homeland extremists! National Security!!"

Ignatius's picture

Aircraft carriers are launching platforms to beat the fuck out of countries who can't fight back.  In the missile age they're dinosaurs.

Tom Servo's picture

Is this the group that is going to roll through the "contested" waters in the Spratley islands?


The Limerick King's picture



An ode to the South China Sea /  And Events that could start World War 3 /  The Roosevelt group /  On Spratly may snoop /  The group may end up as debris
Bastiat's picture

Obama has more flexibility in his second term.

macholatte's picture


Fundamental Transformation

Change You Better Believe In.

Tall Tom's picture

Carrier Groups cost MONEY




The forecast is that the US Government runs out of cash in less than FOUR WEEKS.


If you had bothered to take a really good look at that map...MOST TASK GROUPS are in their HOME PORTS presently.


The US Government is RUNNING OUT OF MONEY.


That is what this IS ABOUT. It is nothing more than that.

Overfed's picture

Do not worry. The Fed will be happy to loan them more.

Tall Tom's picture

They cannot borrow MOAR unless there is legislation which allows for it.


I am not too worried about that...at all.


Got Gold?

carlnpa's picture

TT Possibly.

Another thought might be that the naval "assets" and their leadership may not be fully onboard with a planned future "event".

I see this as reigning in possible resistance to that "event".

Too many boats in port right now.

Just leaves the boomers out there.


newbie vampire's picture

"The US Government is RUNNING OUT OF MONEY."

Hmmm..... that being the case, perhaps King Obammy should pick another time WHEN he's got the funds to pick a fight with the Chicoms.

researchfix's picture

Makes sense to send a carrier there, which is up to big maintenance. Could save some money if it´s lost.

JRobby's picture

There are many intricacies in setting up a false flag event. Sometimes months in advance. Sometimes weeks.

toady's picture

...to defend the Persian Gulf ...

...to attack the Persian Gulf ...


why keep attacking them when the Russians are spending their money to attack them? save a buck (or a trillion)

newbie vampire's picture

"why keep attacking them when the Russians are spending their money to attack them? save a buck (or a trillion)"

Yeah, thats all well and good.  But who's gonna be protecting our CIA assets ?   Dem throat-slitters are shaving off their beards and runnin for dem fookin hills.

Muddy1's picture

"Tell Vlad that after the election I'll be able to work more closely with him."



This is Barry.  The Middle East is all yours.

DanDaley's picture

Exactly. Remember how Obama was seen reading The Post-American World upon his first selection...well, he's getting his wish.

waterwitch's picture

If you like your pipeline, you can keep your pipeline.

slammin_dude's picture

Ya especially for fucking israel....Trillions of dollar$ and free shit, israel is our true FSA....

338's picture




I guess your not looking for the isreal first vote when you run for the house of thieves???


USS Liberty

all I ever needed to know about allies in the middle east.



Winston Churchill's picture

Knuks, anyone including me, thats been watching the carrier rotation get strectched beyond

its limits, knew this was coming.I'm sure the Russians did.

Shit breaks, or wears out fast, on a carrier.You have to tear the bitch apart to replace those things..

Penny wise, dollar foolish writ large.Instead of keeping eight operational at all times, four looks

more likely in a couple of years.

El Vaquero's picture

In my expected lifetime, I'd say there will be a day that zero are operating. 

Winston Churchill's picture

Next year is the 100 year anniversary for operational carriers,.longer than battleships lasted,

and just as much an anocrinism now,

El Vaquero's picture

However, pungi sticks and similar things are still effective.  They played a role in wearing the US out and they played a role in defeating the Mongols. 

monk27's picture

... longer than battleships lasted...

That's only because they haven't been tested in any real battle for the last 50 years. If I remember properly, the true end of the battleship was the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in 1941, after a quick engagement by the Japanese planes. That's when the Brits realized that their naval military "investments" of 20 years, didn't pay off...

Winston Churchill's picture

Close, but no banana. That was the final nail.

5 months before Pearl Harbor, RN carrier aircraft sank  the Italian fleet in its home port,

in full wartime conditions, not a 'surprise" attack.The battleship died then, but admirals were slow

to realize it.Various sub and mini sub attacks into 'submare proof' harbors followed.

The flag quarters on pigboats don't befit the lifestyle admirals wish to lead.

Wars are lost for less.

TheObsoleteMan's picture

Battleships armed  with large bore guns as their main armaments is obsolete. But replace those turrets  with missile cell launchers and now you have quite a different animal. As for carriers, they are still effective, just not in the configuration that the USN has them in. You don't have a dozen or so "super" carriers, you have forty "jeep" carriers like the USN had in WW2. There will be a high attrition rate, that is why it is better to have many. And because of their smaller size, they will have a much smaller sonar signature. Super carriers are great as long as your opponent doesn't have a modern navy, something the USN hasn't had to face since 1945. As for your Italian Navy mention, what did you expect from a country that had it's hands full with such a backward country as Ethiopia? They had beautiful ships. The last place they belonged was holed up in port during wartime. Italians are for loving, not fighting!

monk27's picture

That would work only if your "jeep" carrier will end up being cheaper to build than 50 high speed missiles intended to kill it. Somehow, I doubt that the price between the two will ever get close...

Abbie Normal's picture

That's when the Brits realized that their naval military "investments" of 20 years, didn't pay off...

Then they must have forgotten that lesson during the Falklands war.  A $100,000 Exocet missile takes out a $100,000,000 destroyer, both borne of NATO countries.

monk27's picture

A country with a half decent military would have had sunk at least half the British ships in Falkland. You won't believe how many Argentinian bombs hit their intended target without exploding...


HardAssets's picture

Isn't it amazing that the carrier named after a gas bag warmonger who helped put the US on the road of imperialim, is high tailing it out of there ? Yes, that was Teddy Roosevelt.

daveO's picture

Yea, there's more to the story. Provoking China probably up next.

Renewable Life's picture

Interesting how all the Naval air and Marine assets are coming back home, just in time for what major announcement or development????

I wonder??

All I do know is this, the debt math doesn't add up, the dollar is no longer the Sole WRC, and 2/3's of this Country is unemployed or under employed and living day to day with no savings (and armed to the teeth)

The short term horizon in America doesn't look good to put it mildly!!

I'd be getting those billion dollar toys back close to home if I where in charge of this socialist oligarchy too!

jcdenton's picture

all the Naval air and Marine assets are coming back home



Who is the new CJCS? And only the second of his branch at that post?

Me thinks, we are beginning to see practice of the [Smedley] Butler Doctrine ..

Have you read War is a Racket?

LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct, the global oligarchs do like to put on one hell of a show though.

roccman's picture


More global 2 step.

All on the same side. All of them.

No-one knows the names of the true power brokers. Only their slaves.

Motasaurus's picture

Are you suggesting that the Red Shield family is working for someone else?

Perimetr's picture

Maybe it might not be so bad to cut the defense budget and start rebuilding our infrastructure?

They can have the Middle East as far as I'm concerned.  After all, we have already destroyed much of it.

Plus maybe it's not a bad idea to avoid a direct military confronation wtih Russia that could lead to, you know, nuclear war?

Socratic Dog's picture

As for the oil, there's not a lot you can do with an excess, outside of selling it.  We'd get it a helluva lot cheaper if we did bail out of the ME, when you add in the costs of the empire.

Jack Burton's picture

Excellent catch! I missed that one totally.

daveO's picture

A statement issued by the US Embassy in Ankara from the American and Turkish governments said the Patriots would be sent back to the United States for "critical modernisation upgrades".

Reminds me of the Aegis jamming rumors about the Roosevelt.

CheapBastard's picture

He's too busy detroying the mdidle class at home, making illegals comfortable in the "Safe Zones" and inviting thugs over "for a beer" to be bothered with trifles like world politics.