The US is cutting its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf region from two carriers to one, the defence department said, in a move that represents one of the most significant effects of budget cuts on the US military presence overseas.
The decision Wednesday comes as Washington
struggles to find a way to avoid across-the-board automatic spending cuts set to strike the Pentagon and domestic programs next month.
Defence secretary Leon Panetta has approved keeping one carrier in the Persian Gulf. The US has maintained two aircraft carrier groups in the Gulf for most of the last two years.