U.S. to keep 11 aircraft carriers to show sea power

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The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group includes the carrier itself; Carrier Air Wing 1; Destroyer Squadron 2; guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg; and guided-missile destroyers USS Porter, USS James E. Williams and USS Nitze. Together they carry more than 5,000 personnel, with about 4,500 of them on the USS Enterprise. The ship’s personnel include fewer than 400 women.

The air wing includes more than 50 aircraft, ranging from fighter jets and helicopters to electronic warfare aircraft.

The USS Enterprise has had a long and storied career. In October 1962, it helped set up a blockade around Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. The Big E also was dispatched to the North Arabian Sea after the Sept. 11 attacks, unleashing more than 800,000 pounds of ordnance during the early days of the Afghanistan war.

The White House is in the final stages of deciding specific cuts in the 2013 budget, which President Obama will submit to Congress next month.

A sweeping defense strategy that Mr. Obama unveiled earlier is intended to guide the budget-cutting decisions. The eight-page document contained no details about how broad concepts for reshaping the military — such as focusing more on Asia and less on Europe — will translate into troop or weapons cuts.

The Army and Marine Corps already are planning substantial troop cuts, and Mr. Panetta said last week that he will slash the number of Army brigades stationed in Europe from four to two.

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