The Department of Defense confirmed today that it is sending its newest aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in response to the increasingly destabilized situation in Iraq.
The U.S.S. George H.W. Bush will relocate from the North Arabian Sea to "provide the commander-in-chief additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq," according to Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby.
The Bush will be joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer U.S.S. Truxton. They are expected to arrive late Saturday.
President Obama said his administration is considering both drone and manned airstrikes to help the Iraqi armed forces fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadis who have taken control of large parts of northern Iraq. He ruled out sending ground troops back to the country.
The Bush saw the first-ever launch of an unmanned jet, the X47B combat drone, off an aircraft carrier in 2013. The ship was commissioned in 2009 and took over the Navy's Fifth Fleet area of responsibility, which covers waters stretching from the Red Sea to parts of the Indian Ocean, from the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.
Both the Fifth Fleet and the United States Naval Forces central command are based in Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf.