The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the final decision on whether to permanently homeport an aircraft carrier in Mayport, Fla., will be made during the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The QDR will assess the need for carrier strategic dispersal in the broad context of future threats, future Navy force structure, and likely cost effectiveness.
The DoD intends to dredge the Mayport channel in fiscal 2010 to allow the Navy port to dock a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This action would provide an alternative port for a carrier on the East Coast if a manmade or natural disaster or other emergency closes the Navy's base in Norfolk, Va., or the surrounding sea approaches.
The dredging of the Mayport channel will support any future decisions to permanently homeport a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Additional work to permanently homeport a carrier would include follow-on wharf improvements, infrastructure upgrades for nuclear propulsion plant maintenance facilities, as well as any changes needed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. The DoD will carefully review these potential costs and will assess the potential benefits associated with an additional homeport on the East Coast before committing to any future direction.