General McKenzie’s request, navy officers stated, asks for 24-hour assist from a provider, with its attendant fighter squadrons, and is being considered as a selected reference to the Eisenhower, which left its residence port in Virginia in February and headed to the Mediterranean Sea. There, it took half in workouts with Italian and Moroccan naval forces. The Eisenhower is now within the Arabian Sea.
Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for General Milley, declined to touch upon the provider request. Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, additionally declined to remark. The Pentagon press secretary, John F. Kirby, stated on Wednesday that Mr. Austin “has made clear that we will execute the drawdown in Afghanistan in a safe, orderly and deliberate manner, and that we will do everything possible to protect our troops in the process.”
He, too, declined to debate the request, saying that “for operational security reasons, we will also not preview specific force protection measures being planned.”
Current and former senior Navy officers stated quick navy missions might demand that warships’ deployments be prolonged. But when this repeatedly occurs, the long-term well being and readiness of the fleet can erode, jeopardizing the Navy’s skill to fulfill future missions.
“We have these national assets like aircraft carriers to be available in times of crisis, especially when they’re needed to protect the lives of troops on the ground,” Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, a retired Fifth Fleet commander, stated in an interview. “But you don’t want this to be a routine thing, and that’s what’s happened in the past.”
Aboard the Eisenhower, some sailors had been already apprehensive about their deployments being prolonged, notably if the provider finally ends up offering air operations all through the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which Mr. Biden stated have to be accomplished by Sept. 11.
A Defense Department official stated this week that it remained an open query whether or not American troops must struggle their means out of Afghanistan or whether or not the withdrawal can be peaceable. He spoke on the situation of anonymity to talk publicly concerning the matter.