The Carrier Strike Group: examining approaches to forward presence
Elliott, Christopher H.
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With carriers reduced to their lowest number since 1942, maintaining forward presence in regions of U.S. national interest has proven difficult. The current carrier operating concept has resulted in unprecedented deployment lengths, shorter home-cycles and increasing strain on crew members and their families. By examining the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) deployment models and the various techniques for optimizing forward presence, a more efficient approach may be developed. This thesis answers the following question: How will the carrier's ability to protect U.S. national interests through a global strategy centered on forward presence and flexible response be accomplished in the future? The goal is to maximize forward presence based on current and forecast ship-building budgets and resources by identifying the CSG's utility and role in forward presence while assessing various techniques. The predicted carrier force structure of 11 is assumed while determining which technique or combination of techniques produces the appropriate level of forward presence and crisis response to deter current and future global threats. A combined approach incorporating a proportional crew swap concept with the potential to increase overseas-based CSGs will offer more options to policy-makers and leadership and increased flexibility in employing the CSG in pursuit of U.S. national interests.
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