As part of the United States‘ rebalance strategy in the Pacific region, the U.S. Navy announced that the aircraft carrier USS Reagan will be heading to Japan to become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval services (FDNF). It will replace the USS George Washington that is currently deployed in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The U.S., Japan’s closest ally, believes that the Asian powerhouse’s contributions to peace and security in the region is crucial to the stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific. Their bilateral treaty is part of its long-term commitment to host the U.S. forces and together with its Self Defense Force, they make up the core alliance with the capability to protect the region. The current environment needs the most capable ships forward and the one with the greatest striking power to quickly respond to any perceived future threat.
The USS George Washington was deployed in 2008 to Japan, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier as part of the FDNF and the U.S.’ commitment to its ally in terms of defense capabilities. It will now proceed to Virginia to prepare itself for its midlife refueling complex overhaul. Another aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt will take the place of the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego before it leaves for Japan, although there is still no timeline for the move. There has been speculation that the USS Washington will leave Yokosuka by 2015. Most of the personnel will transfer to the Reagan so that there will be no need for a massive overhaul of the crew and their families.
[ via Pacific News Center ]