Having steamed across the Mediterranean and down the Suez Canal, an amphibious assault carrier with thousands of Marines has entered the Persian Gulf, becoming the first amphibious readiness group to enter the strategic waters this year.
Stars and Stripes reports:
MANAMA, Bahrain — The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf Wednesday, becoming the first U.S. Navy “big deck” to enter these strategic waters in 2020.
Bataan and its amphibious readiness group comprises 2,500 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the transport dock ship USS New York and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, the statement said.
While a U.S. naval officer told Stars and Stripes that the U.S. Navy deploys large warships through the strait to “reassure allies” and ensure “stability and security…” many naval analysts argue that in time of war, Iran would also want to pull an American carrier battle group as close to the Iranian coastline as possible to launch every missile it could at it to overwhelm its defenses.
Current U.S. supercarrier defenses are expected to be able to neutralize most of these attacks, but defenses from lesser carriers such as Marine amphibious assault ships might be less successful. In any case, while Iran’s missile arsenal may not pose a credible threat against U.S. carriers now, as Iran deploys more sophisticated missiles, the time may come soon when the Pentagon might decline to send any carriers beyond the Gulf of Oman, just in case.
Paul Crespo is a national security expert and communications consultant. As an officer in the US Marine Corps, he served as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at several US embassies worldwide. Paul was also an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami and a member of the Miami Herald Editorial Board. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security consultancy, and a Contributor to American Defense News.