Fighter aircraft from Carrier Air Wing Two sit on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) as it operates in the Pacific.
Debate over the utility and relevance of the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) in a high-end fight continues unabated. Most recently, retired captain and naval aviator Robert C. Rubel argued in Proceedings that its role in such conflicts should change in the face of current and emerging antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) threats. The carrier air wing should now primarily support missile-capable surface combatants, Rubel claims.  This is one of several articles published in recent years advocating a role reversal for the CVN that, at least during the initial stages of war with an A2/AD-centric foe, would place it in a secondary position to its missile-armed escorts.