NORFOLK- The Navy says deployments for aircraft carrier strike groups will occur on more predictable schedules under its new The “Enhanced Carrier Presence Plan.”
It marks a fundamental change in how the Navy does business.
Under the plan, which the Navy hopes to implement in 2015, there would be one pre-deployment work-up period followed by two seven-month deployments before strike group ships would go into shipyards for overhauls.
In the past, single deployments generally lasted six months, but since 9/11, they've averaged seven and half months.
“It’s going to allow us to deploy you, train you in a much more predictable fashion,” said Navy Chief of Information Rear Admiral John Kirby is a video-taped message to the fleet posted on YouTube. “So you’ll be at sea a little bit longer than you are now, but it’ll be in a much more predictable, stable schedule."
Kirby also said the Navy will be more effective in placing ships and sailors in strategic global hot-spots.
"This is a plan we believe is going to give the Navy a far greater ability to respond to combatant commander requirements over there, while giving you and your families much more stability back here at home,” he said.
Kirby emphasized this is just a plan at this point, which must be funded by Congress.
Any carrier strike group deployment schedule change would have a big impact on Hampton Roads. Four active carriers call Norfolk home: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Harry S. Truman and USS George W. Bush.
In addition, USS Abraham Lincoln is undergoing a mid-life overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding and USS Gerald R. Ford is under construction there. It will be christened sometime in November.
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