Navy Carrier Battle Groups: The Structure and Affordability of the Future Force
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIV
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Aircraft carrier battle groups are the centerpiece of the Navys surface force and significantly influence the size, composition, and cost of the fleet. The annualized cost to acquire, operate, and support a single Navy carrier battle group is now about 1.5 billion and will continue to increase. As defense funding declines and defense expenditures come under increased scrutiny, attention will be focused on the size and affordability of the carrier force. GAO developed information on options that policymakers may consider when deciding on the size and makeup of future naval forces, particularly the number of carriers, required to meet our national security goals in times when defense spending is being reduced. The Navys carrier battle groups have traditionally supported the national defense strategy by providing overseas presence and a crisis response capability. Carrier battle groups consist of the carrier, its air wing of about 80 aircraft, and about 9 escort ships, including surface combatants, attack submarines, and logistics support ships. Several other ships and aircraft provide logistics and training support. At the beginning of fiscal year 1993, the Navy had seven conventional- and seven nuclear-powered carriers in its active force and an aviation training carrier. The 14 active carriers allowed for near-continuous overseas presence of at least one carrier battle group in each of the Mediterranean Sea, western Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean Arabian Sea regions. Only about 25 percent of the carriers are deployed overseas at any one time because of maintenance, training, and personnel policies.
- Marine Engineering