For the sceptics. Yes, naval exercises are different from active deployments (like the current ones in the Arabian and Persian Gulf).
However, as we saw last week with Irans “exercises” in the Straits of Hormuz a couple weeks ago…. they are often used just as much as a show of force, as they are an opportunity to train the troops.
So what about this exercise? Well, as the Iranians just *happened* to test out torpedoes in the worlds busiest Straits for oil transport… so too I’m sure the US will just “happen” to try out, say, a Marine expeditionary force working in conjunction with one of their most powerful (and newest) carriers?
Training off of Puerto Rico is standard practice for the Navy before they deploy to the “open ocean”. In fact, according to globalsecurity.org. The George Washington was the last carrier group to train there in 2002.
The exercise, which began April 1, will also utilize the Northern and Southern Puerto Rican Operating Areas and will involve complex battle group training events, naval surface fire support training and air-to-ground bombing.
We’ll see what these exercises involve, but there is no doubt that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will notice, and likely react.