US won't cut carrier fleet to fix budget deficit (we need these war machines frighten the Iranians)
U.S. won't cut carrier fleet to fix budget, Panetta says
(Reuters) - The United States will not cut America's fleet of 11 aircraft carriers to help trim the budget deficit, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday, citing tensions with Iran as an example of why the massive ships are so critical to national security.
Panetta was addressing about 1,700 sailors headed to the Gulf this spring aboard the USS Enterprise, which after a half-century of service is about to embark on its final tour before being taken offline in November.
"You're part of what keeps our force agile and flexible and quickly deployable and capable of taking on any enemy, anywhere in the world," Panetta said, speaking about 100 nautical miles off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia.
"For that reason that the President of the United States and all of us have decided that it is important for us to maintain our carrier presence at full strength. And that means we'll be keeping 11 carriers in our force," he said to applause.