(The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama off the coast of Cherbourg, France)
Earlier this evening, Assistant to the President-National Security Advisor (APNSA or NSA) John Bolton issued the following statement:
So what exactly is actually going on with US Naval deployments in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR)? Fortunately, the US Naval Institute has a Fleet Tracker. The most recent update is from 22 April 2019, it tells us the following:
Carrier Strike Group 12 (USS Abraham Lincoln/CVN 72, Carrier Air Wing 7/CVW 7, Destroyer Squadron 2/DESRON 2, and USS Leyte Gulf/CG 55):
deployed from Norfolk on April 1 and is now operating in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility in the central Mediterranean Sea. Last week, the CSG stopped in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on April 15 and departed April 20.
They join the USS John C Stennis Carrier Strike Group (USS John C Stennis/CVN 74, Carrier Air Wing 9/CVW 9, Destroyer Squadron 21/DESRON 21, and USS Mobile Bay/CG 53), which:
transited the Suez Canal on April 20 and is now in the Mediterranean Sea in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. Last week, the CSG exercised operations with French Navy aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) in the Red Sea.
Finally, the Kearsarge Amphibious Group – USS Kearsarge/LHD 3 with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Fleet Surgical Teams 2 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, and Tactical Air Control Squadron 21; USS Arlington/LPD 24 (amphibious landing dock); and USS Fort McHenry/LSD 43 (dock landing ship) is in the Persian Gulf.
Despite Bolton’s statement there is no additional Naval or Amphibious deployment. The Abraham Lincoln and the other vessels and units in its carrier group where already in the CENTCOM AOR and have been for some time. Almost as important is this simple reality: the Iranians know this! They know where US forces are deployed in relation to Iran. All Bolton has done with this announcement is make a lot of noise to hear himself make a lot of noise.
Thank you for joining us for this special first Sunday in May edition of John Bolton’s mustache’s saber rattling kabuki theater.
* There is not, unfortunately, a similar tracker for US bomber task forces, but I expect the bomber task force was already either on station or scheduled for deployment to CENTCOM’s AOR.