Carrier Controversy

By Zachary M. Peterson / January 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM

At the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium in Washington today, Fleet Forces Command chief Adm. John Harvey was asked about the Navy's intentions to move an aircraft carrier to Naval Station Mayport, FL, from Norfolk, VA. The move is being reviewed in the Quadrennial Defense Review. Harvey answered the question, which came from a Navy lieutenant, by deferring to the results of the QDR, which are neither final nor public.

However, the four-star admiral did note that it makes him uncomfortable seeing all the East Coast-based carriers at the pier near his Norfolk office, as well as the carriers under construction and undergoing maintenance and refueling at the nearby Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facilities in Newport News. Harvey said that unlike on the West Coast, where carriers are stationed in San Diego and Washington state, basing all the East Coast carriers in Virginia puts the Navy "30 minutes," or one disaster -- natural or manmade -- away from having the majority of its carrier assets tied up.

The pending move of a carrier to Florida has drawn consistent opposition from Virginia lawmakers who continue to lobby against the move. Florida lawmakers support the measure.