In a significant move amid escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group, accompanied by cruisers and destroyers, to sail to the region to assist Israel following attacks by Hamas that have resulted in over 1,000 casualties on both sides. The deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, and its crew of approximately 5,000 sailors and warplanes, underscores the United States’ commitment to supporting its ally, Israel.
The primary objectives of this deployment are to be prepared for a range of scenarios, including intercepting potential weapons shipments to Hamas and conducting surveillance operations in the region. The move reflects the U.S. government’s determination to deter any further expansion of the conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Notably, the Israeli government formally declared war in response to the attacks by Hamas, authorizing “significant military steps” to retaliate. Preliminary reports suggest that several American citizens have been killed, with additional individuals reported missing and unaccounted for. Most of those affected are believed to be dual U.S.-Israeli citizens.
To bolster its support for Israel, the United States is not only deploying the USS Gerald R. Ford but also sending the cruiser USS Normandy and destroyers USS Thomas Hudner, USS Ramage, USS Carney, and USS Roosevelt. Furthermore, the U.S. Air Force is augmenting its fighter aircraft squadrons in the region, including F-35, F-15, F-16, and A-10 aircraft.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated, “The U.S. maintains ready forces globally to further reinforce this deterrence posture if required.” Additionally, the Biden administration has committed to providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment, resources, and munitions to support their operations against Hamas.
President Joe Biden discussed the situation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasizing the need for unity against the actions of Hamas. President Biden assured Prime Minister Netanyahu that the United States is actively working on diplomatic efforts and will provide additional assistance to Israeli forces in the days ahead.
As part of the U.S. effort to de-escalate the situation, Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, urging them to continue engaging diplomatically and emphasizing the importance of ending the attacks by Hamas and securing the release of hostages.
Back in the United States, leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives are preparing a bipartisan resolution expressing support for Israel and condemning what they describe as “Hamas’ brutal war.” This resolution is expected to be a priority once the House elects a new speaker, as House business remains at a standstill following the recent ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
As tensions continue to rise in the Eastern Mediterranean, the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group serves as a clear indication of the United States’ commitment to supporting its allies in the region and maintaining stability in the face of escalating conflict. The situation remains fluid, and international efforts are ongoing to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis.