WASHINGTON (May 2, 2016) —
While the 30-day extension of the USS Harry S. Truman
aircraft carrier strike group’s presence in the Arabian Gulf is
critical to the campaign to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant, it also provides a broader maritime security in what also is
known as the Persian Gulf, the chief of naval operations said today.
Navy Adm. John M. Richardson told reporters at the Pentagon that the
continued presence of the Truman -- which he said contributes 20 percent
to 25 percent of total airpower there -- is aligned with President
Barack Obama’s acceleration of the campaign to defeat ISIL.
The Truman offers broad maritime security by lending greater stability to the region, in addition to its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance component and assurance to U.S. allies in the region, he said.
Navy officials said the Truman has wide-ranging and flexible
mission capabilities, including maritime security operations,
expeditionary power projection, forward naval presence, crisis response,
sea control, deterrence, and counterterrorism capabilities. Its
embarked air wing can project tactical air power over sea and inland,
and provide sea-based air, surface and subsurface defense, they added.
‘Not Just About Sorties’
Richardson said the Truman’s extended presence in the Gulf
should not be viewed only in terms of sorties, noting that the strike
group and all of its assigned forces are playing a critical role, “not
only in that particular fight, but in terms of the broader maritime
security in the Gulf.”
“We’re very … respectful and grateful to the sacrifices being
made -- not only by the [Truman’s] sailors, but also by their families
back home,” the admiral said, adding that family members are supportive
of the 30-day extension and realize the importance of the mission and
the contributions their sailors are making.