Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Saturday that he ordered the deployment of a second aircraft carrier and its strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean to show support for Israel amid its bombardment of Gaza.
Austin said the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower will begin moving toward the region to “deter hostile actions against Israel or any efforts toward widening this war following Hamas’s attack on Israel.” He said the deployment demonstrates the US’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.”
The Eisenhower’s strike group also includes the “guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), guided-missile destroyers USS Gravely (DDG 107) and USS Mason (DDG 87), and Carrier Air Wing 3, with nine aircraft squadrons, and embarked headquarters staffs.”
The Eisenhower will join the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which arrived in the region earlier this week. The US has also increased its presence of fighter jets in the Middle East in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.
The massive US show of force demonstrates that the US is ready to directly enter the war if it chooses to do so. US officials have stressed the purpose of the deployments is to deter Hezbollah or Iran from entering the conflict.
Besides the deployments, the US has also backed Israel’s onslaught on Gaza by shipping military equipment, including munitions and Iron Dome interceptors. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the White House plans to push Congress to approve new military aid for Israel and Ukraine. The package could also include funding to arm Taiwan.