U.S. Carrier Fleet In Persian Gulf Cut In Half Because Of Budget Strains

WASHINGTON (February 6, 2013)--Budget strains will force the Pentagon to reduce its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area from two carriers to one, officials said Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has formally approved a plan to keep just one carrier in the region where two aircraft carrier groups have been on station for most of the last two years, officials said.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the Gulf but was brought home in December for maintenance.

It will return later this month, but plans for the USS Harry S. Truman to deploy to the Gulf this week have been canceled.

The officials discussed the cuts on condition of anonymity, because the announcement has not been made.

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