USS Harry S. Truman to return to Norfolk Saturday as U.S. defense strategy shifts

NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy says select units from the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will return to Norfolk on Saturday.

The Norfolk-based aircraft carrier as well as the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Forrest Sherman are all scheduled to return to Hampton Roads.

The move, just three months after deploying, is part of a shift in defense strategy that is focusing on putting more unpredictability in deployments.

Admiral Christopher Grady, Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, says the Truman CSG has enjoyed a successful three months overseas and accomplished all objectives established for its crew. That included striking ISIS in Syria and expanding partnerships and exercising with allies.

Admiral  Grady said "all returning units are 100 percent mission capable and will remain in the sustainment phase of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan, which means they will sustain warfighting readiness and be ready to surge forward or redeploy when called upon."

The Truman left Naval Station Norfolk on April 11th. The next day, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified before the House Armed Services Committee and talked about the shift in strategy.

"We ensure that preparations for great power competition drives us, not simply a rotation schedule that allows me to tell you three years from now which aircraft carrier where in the world. That’s a great way to run a shipping line, it’s no way to run a Navy," he said.

"We keep our joint force ready and then when we send them out, it may be for a shorter deployment. There will be three carriers in the South China Sea today and then two weeks from now there’s only one there an two of them are in the Indian Ocean. They’ll be home at the end of a 90 day deployment, they will not have spent 8 months at sea and we are going to have a force more ready to surge and deal with the high end warfare as a result, without breaking the families, the maintenance cycles or reducing, we will actually enhance the training time," he continued.

When the Truman returns to Hampton Roads, routine maintenance will be conducted on ships, aircraft and equipment, and Sailors will also be given the opportunity to continue advanced training, maintain warfighting certifications and spend time with their families.

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