The Obama administration is planning a risky and unwise move to cut the Navy's aircraft carrier force during wartime. If the force is reduced to ten by not refueling the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in a couple of years, it will save billions of dollars, especially if the Navy also eliminates the ship's air wing.
The Navy routinely deploys three aircraft carriers at the same time. With three recently back from deployment and three working up for deployment, the Navy can surge another three of that six in the event of a crisis. We surged six for Operation Desert Storm in 1991, four for Enduring Freedom in 2001, and six for Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
The remaining three carriers can then be in the shipyards for maintenance periods of varying lengths, including a long refueling overhaul that lasts several years. So for a force of 12 nuclear-powered carriers, we really have only 11 that are usable.