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Two U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Are Patrolling Near Iran. Is That Too Many?

The U.S. Navy has deployed two of its precious nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf as part of a wider surge in forces the Pentagon hopes will deter attacks by Iran.

But keeping two of the fleet’s 11 flattops in the Gulf could strain the fleet. It’s happened before, David Larter noted at Defense News.

For two years starting in 2010, the Navy kept two carriers in the Middle East in order to keep up the pressure on Iran ahead of negotiations that ultimately led to Pres. Barack Obama’s 2015 deal with Tehran to limit the latter’s nuclear-weapons program.

The administration of Pres. Donald Trump canceled the nuclear deal, a decision that incentivized Iran to continue work on atomic weaponry and directly led to the current tension.

U.S. forces and Iranian proxies periodically have exchanged blows since Jan. 3, 2020, when an American drone assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leader Qasem Soleimani while the general was traveling near Baghdad.

An Iranian rocket attack on Camp Taji in Iraq in early March 2020 killed two American troops and one British service member

The two-carrier surge in 2010 “exacted an enormous toll on the service, with Navy leaders warning it was unsustainable,” Larter explained.

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