On November 5, 2023, an Ohio-class submarine arrived in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.United States Central Command in a statement via X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sunday, making a rare announcement on the deployment of a U.S. submarine to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility (includes the Middle East).
Why It Matters: The U.S. tends to not comment on strategic submarine deployments but released a photo of the vessel starting it “is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help support maritime security and stability in the Middle East region”; this announcement comes nearly a month into the Israel-Hamas war and after an increasing amount of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. The news also comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wraps up a trip to the Middle East and only days after the USS Gerald R. Ford and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike groups “launched aircraft and practiced missile defense during a three-day exercise in the Mediterranean Sea,” Stars and Stripes reports, noting that “The show of strength coincides with high-level diplomacy aimed at preventing a wider war in the Middle East.”
Big Picture: In an off-camera press briefing on Monday, Pentagon Spokesman Pat Ryder did not provide any further details on the deployment of the submarine. When asked about U.S. assets being sent to the region, he said: “… the strategic context of looking at this, of what we’re trying to do, is, again, make sure that this does not spiral into escalation — I don’t think anybody wants to see that — while at the same time making sure that we’re protecting our forces, while at the same time making sure that we have options available to us, capabilities, should someone attempt to exploit this situation and broaden this conflict.”
OHIO-CLASS SUBMARINE ENTERS THE U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (U.S. FLEET FORCES COMMAND)
U.S. Has 4 Objectives in Middle East (U.S. Department of Defense)
Ohio-class Submarines (Naval History and Heritage Command)
by Leah Grainery, based in Texas