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AIRCRAFT CARRIER BATTLE GROUP

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Our conflict with Iraq is an example of how hostilities sometimes occur in spite of attempts to settle international disputes by other means. As shown by this conflict, our carrier striking force takes prompt and decisive action to meet national objectives. Mobility is one of the striking forces’ greater assets.  It  increases  the  prospect  for  surprise attacks  from  any  point  bordering  enemy  land areas surrounded by navigable waters. Striking forces provide a wide range of weapons systems for close   or   long-range   distances.   Task   forces organized primarily for striking force operations are carrier, surface, and submarine strike forces. These forces operate independently or together as needed. AIRCRAFT CARRIER BATTLE GROUP The aircraft carrier battle group (fig. 1-1) is a vital part of the Navy’s overall ability to counter aggression successfully and to protect vital sea- lanes.  Geographically,  economically,  politically, and  culturally,  the  United  States  is  overseas oriented. Because the United States is essentially an island nation, it must have the ability to influence international  affairs  favorably.  During  conflict, the United States must be able to engage and defeat any enemy far from American shores. At the same time, it must protect the vital lines of communications. The  United  States  frequently  deploys  naval forces to areas near hostile bases and operating areas far  from  continental  U.S.    bases.  These deployments place demanding requirements upon the capabilities of U.S. naval forces. These forces must   be   able   to   counter   air,   surface,   and submarine   threats   simultaneously   when   the enemy selects more than one method of attack. The aircraft carrier serves as the key member of a powerful and mobile naval task force. It uses antisubmarine aircraft, attack and fighter aircraft, and surface and subsurface escorts. These air, surface,   and   subsurface   escorts   provide   the greatest naval power that can be assembled to counter all types of threats at sea. The carrier battle group has the mobility to operate where it can be most effective against any forces threatening the United States’ free use of the seas. It also has the sensors and weapons needed to defeat these threats. The carrier is a completely  outfitted  and  equipped  mobile  air operating base for projecting power ashore. This function requires close air support and interdiction aircraft. (Interdiction is an attack on supply lines. It is an attempt to destroy railroads, bridges, electric power plants, and so forth, to cripple  the  support  of  enemy  front  lines  with minimum effort.) These aircraft are able to defeat all  modern  aircraft;  penetrate  missile-defended targets; and conduct precision day, night, and all- weather bombing. They perform the demanding tasks of reconnaissance and surveillance. The United States must maintain a convincing peacetime presence in trouble spots of the world Figure 1-1.—USS America carrier task group. 1-5



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