The USS Nimitz carrier battle group moved into the Red Sea on Monday ahead of possible strikes on Syria.
The nuclear-powered Nimitz is accompanied by the Princeton, a cruiser, and three destroyers – the William P. Lawrence, Stockdale and Shoup, according to the officials.
The group has no specific orders to move to the eastern Mediterranean at this point, but is moving west in the Arabian Sea so it can do so if asked, according to Reuters.
“It’s about leveraging the assets to have them in place should the capabilities of the carrier strike group and the presence be needed,” said (an) official.
“We try to reduce the physics of time and space so we can be as ready as possible should we be needed,” said a second official, cautioning that decisions about ship positioning in the Mediterranean were still being finalized.
According to Reuters, five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship, the USS San Antonio, remain poised in the Mediterranean for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria.
The Nimitz group was due to return to its home port in Everett, Washington after being relieved recently by the Norfolk-based USS Harry S. Truman. The Nimitz had been supporting operations in Afghanistan.
It had been originally reported that the Norfolk-based Kearsarge was also on the way to the Red Sea after a port call in the United Arab Emirates. However, officials said Monday that Kearsarge remained in North Arabian Sea, and there were no plans to move the ship into the Red Sea.
Watch the USS Kearsarge transit the Suez Canal in 60 seconds
The USS San Antonio, which is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, is already in the eastern Mediterranean.