The emergence of aircraft carriers as the U.S.Navy's premier tool for projecting seapower

The world's political and military situation has changed dramatically since the end of World War II, and the U.S. Navy's concept of naval operations has reflected that change. U.S. naval strategy has shifted from a focus on a single superpower threat to a focus on multiple, regional challenges, concentrating on coastal areas around the world.

As the United States continues to withdraw from overseas bases, naval forces will become more relevant in meeting the nation's forward presence requirements. Operating forward, aircraft carriers are prepared to fight promptly and effectively, and serve as peacekeepers in defense of U.S. interests. Regional conflicts will continue to erupt where there is a perceived weakness in U.S. interest. The art of managing crises in these areas is delicate and requires the ability to orchestrate an appropriate response and to send precisely tailored diplomatic, economic and military signals to influence the actions of adversaries(1).

In this new and ambiguous international context, the aircraft carrier is the United States' tool of choice.

" I can imagine a no more rewarding career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: I served in the United States Navy."

President John F. Kennedy