The U.S. Navy will dispatch a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from the Atlantic to the Pacific Fleet, it said Wednesday, and replace the USS George Washington at a naval base in Yokosuka, Japan with the newer USS Ronald Reagan next year.
The move is part of President Barack Obama's "Pivot to Asia" policy and aimed at containing China's naval expansion in the region.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt will be moved from its base in Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California to be incorporated into the Third Fleet, which covers the eastern and northern Pacific. The Roosevelt, commissioned in 1986, is a Nimitz-class carrier with a loaded displacement of 117,200 tons capable of carrying 90 aircraft.
The U.S. currently has 10 aircraft carriers in active service, five in the Pacific and five in the Atlantic, but the move will shift the weight.
"The security environment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward," the U.S. Navy said.
The USS Gerald Ford, currently under construction, will also be commissioned in 2016 to join the Pacific Fleet.