By Timothy J. Gibbons, Florida Times-Union
The Navy’s commitment to strategic dispersal — which it demonstrated by promising to send an amphibious readiness group to Mayport Naval Station — means the military still wants the base to get a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the secretary of the Navy said Tuesday.
That doesn’t say anything about when it will happen, though.
“That’s something we’ll take a look at every year,” Secretary Ray Mabus said in an interview Tuesday evening that capped off a day on the First Coast.
The Navy also remains committed to the Mayport base itself: The decommissioning and moving of ships that now call it home should not lead to concern, Mabus said, even as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called for Congress to authorize a Base Realignment and Closure round.
“Crucial bases have done very well in BRAC processes,” he said. “Under no scenario can I see Mayport not being an important part of the Navy’s future.”
Eventually, a number of ships being based at Mayport, including the three-vessel amphibious group and a number of littoral combat ships, will make up for the ships going away, he said.
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