We don't have a carrier in CENTCOM these days. This is supposed to be a major crisis for airpower projection, but I don't know why since we have plenty of airfields available on land.
Just as an Army infantry battalion on land in Djibouti may be substituting for a lack of a Marine Expeditionary Unit at sea in CENTCOM, why can't Air Force planes on land substitute for lack of a carrier?
Indeed, why couldn't we base a carrier air wing on land in CENTCOM if a carrier is unavailable?
As an aside, we used to routinely have half of our fleet underway. Now it is a third according to the first link.
UPDATE: I look again less than a week later and 5th Fleet does have a carrier. In case you are looking at this post later. The point remains valid, of course.
UPDATE: Oh, and I guess our carrier will leave the region in October and won't be replaced. So the point remains.
As an aside, was the carrier missing from the list of ships deployed because it was reserved for protecting the president while he was in Kenya?
That would explain the missing amphibious warfare ship that is there again. Interesting.
UPDATE: More on the two-month gap. One, I don't like putting carriers in the constricted Gulf. Two, couldn't we deploy elements of a carrier air wing on land during the gap, as I asked above?