U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The announcement came just after Austin completed his visit to Israel where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
In a statement, Austin said that this is being done “as part of our effort to deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts towards widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.”
The Strike Group includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea, guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely and USS Mason, and Carrier Air Wing 3, with nine aircraft squadrons, and embarked headquarters staffs.
The Eisenhower CSG will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which arrived earlier this week. The Ford CSG includes the USS Normandy, USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney and USS Roosevelt. Earlier in the week, the U.S. Air Force announced deployment to the region of squadrons of F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft.
“The increases to U.S. force posture signal the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and our resolve to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war,” said Austin.
The nuclear-powered Eisenhower is one of the U.S. Navy’s 10 Nimitz-class carriers, while the Ford is the first of its class.