Monday, August 29, 2016

Held Up In the Shipyard, Carrier Bush Is Under The Gun To Deploy On Time

The USS George H. W. Bush, newest of the fleet’s operational carriers, is under the gun. The ship emerged from a shipyard in late July five months late – seven if compared to the original schedule. It's facing a planned deployment later this year that needs to be on time if the Bush is to relieve another carrier already operating on the far side of the world. With a compressed training schedule, Norfolk-based Fleet Forces Command (FFC) is wrestling with how to get the ship, its air wing and supporting strike group fully ready to deploy to a combat zone, a situation its Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) was conceived to handle.

Dealing with the Bush’s situation crosses a lot of Navy bailiwicks, including Naval Reactors and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington – the latter also overseas Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where the Bush’s overhaul was performed – to Fleet Forces Command to the Pentagon’s joint planning offices, where the global disposition of the fleet’s carriers is decided. And out in the Persian Gulf, the crew of the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower is hoping the Bush arrives around the first of the year, in time for Ike’s strike group to return home after seven months on deployment.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, addressed the issue in remarks to Defense News