For the first time in a decade, three Navy carrier strike groups will conduct a joint exercise in the western Pacific as President Donald Trump wraps up a multi-country Asia visit this week.
The carrier Ronald Reagan is permanently based in Japan as part of 7th Fleet, and it was joined recently in the command’s waters by the carriers Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, with their armada of warships and aircraft in tow.
Navy officials said the two carriers steaming into 7th Fleet as Trump was visiting the region was a coincidence of planning.
Regardless of whether such high-powered optics were coordinated with the president’s visit, the display of U.S. power comes during continued tensions with North Korea over the rogue nation’s ballistic missile testing.
The exercise will involve “coordinated operations in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s unique capability to operate multiple carrier strikes groups as a coordinated strike force effort,” a Navy release states.
Planned activities include air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defense air combat training and close-in coordinated maneuvers, among other exercises.