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US aircraft carrier presence in Persian Gulf will drop from two to one

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WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials say that budget strains will force the Pentagon to cut its aircraft carrier presence in the Persian Gulf area from two carriers to one. Officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has formally approved a plan to keep just one carrier in the region. There have been two aircraft carrier groups there for most of the last two years. The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the Gulf but was brought home in December for maintenance. It will return later this month, but plans for the USS Harry S. Truman to deploy to the Gulf this week have been canceled. The officials discussed the cuts on condition of anonymity, because the announcement has not been made.

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