The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
The Force of Choice
USS Gerald R. Ford

The aircraft carrier has been the U.S. Navy’s force of choice since World War II.  In over 80% of the times when the world faced international violence, the U.S. has responded with one or more carrier task forces.  In the past 25 years, requirements for U.S. Navy carrier forces to be on station to respond to crises have increased.  Why the aircraft carrier?

Carriers Protect Interests and Encourage Peace
Since World War II, the United States has become increasingly involved in global business and security issues.  American security and economy depend on the protection of overseas interests as well as encouraging peace and stability throughout the world.  Forward presence by U.S. Navy aircraft carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups help accomplish this.

Carriers are Sovereign U.S. Territory
The carrier group, operating in international waters, does not need the permission of host countries for landing or overflight rights.  Aircraft carriers are sovereign U.S. territory that can travel anywhere in international waters.  Carriers also prevent the need to build or maintain bases on land where our presence may cause strain.

Carriers are a Powerful Instrument of Diplomacy
Because carriers use oceans as a means of access and as bases, Navy and Marine forces are always ready to provide response capabilities, which range from simply showing the flag (presence) to insertion of power ashore.