Carrier strike groups are tasked to accomplish a variety of wartime missions, as well as a wide variety of functions in situations short of war. The peacetime mission is to conduct forward presence operations, to help shape the strategic environment, deter conflict, build interoperability with allies, and respond to crises when necessary. The U.S. Navy provides a regular rotation of strike groups overseas, typically for six-eight months, based on the needs of Unified Combatant Commands that request strike group capabilities in their respective area of responsibility (AOR). The ships in the group often “disaggregate” from the carrier, performing missions hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The missions of the carrier strike groups include:
- Power projection ashore against a wide range of strategic, operational, and tactical targets defended by sophisticated air defense systems, during day and night, in all weather conditions.
- Gaining and maintaining sea control including coastal regions, bounded seas, choke points, and the open ocean.
- Protection of commercial and military shipping.
- Protection of a United States Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group prior to or during an amphibious operation.
- Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR).
- Surveillance/Intelligence to achieve and maintain a comprehensive operational picture of the littoral environment, including surface, undersea, air, and relevant land areas of interest.
- Command and Control of assigned U.S. and multinational forces.
- Establishing air superiority or air supremacy in an area by seizing and maintaining control of designated airspace.
- Theater ballistic missile defense (TBMD) of littoral areas and selected theater wide areas against attack.
- Operations in support of the peacetime presence mission, including supporting U.S. diplomacy through cooperative engagement with designated allied forces, normal peacetime operations, and shows of force.
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