Arabian Gulf, 2002 . . . Under increased international pressure, the United Nations has lifted sanctions against Iraq. The United States has relaxed its operational presence in the Arabian Gulf, and a carrier now is required only to be within ten steaming days of the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian-U.S. relations, however, have deteriorated, and Iran has positioned military aircraft armed with the latest airto-surface missiles near the Strait of Hormuz.
7 February 2002 . . . Within the past 48 hours, Iran has flown aggressive attack-type profiles on merchant vessels and U.S. combatants in the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian aircraft have failed to heed warnings from U.S. combatants. In the most recent incident, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer was within seconds of firing on Iranian aircraft. In response, the United States has ordered the USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and three of her escorts from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Arabian Gulf in hopes of calming the situation. Figuring best speed, the George Washington can arrive in six days.