In this file photo, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) operates in the Pacific conducting training exercises in preparation for a previous deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin B. Gray)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The U.S. Navy announced today that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) will replace USS George Washington (CVN 73) in Japan and become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) in Yokosuka, Japan. As part of the rebalance strategy to increase the Navy's presence in the Pacific Fleet, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) will move from Norfolk, Va., to San Diego.

Theodore Roosevelt will serve as a U.S. 3rd Fleet rotational carrier allowing Ronald Reagan to depart her current homeport in San Diego and proceed to Yokosuka. George Washington will depart Japan and proceed to Virginia in preparation for commencing its mid-life refueling complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Specific timelines will be announced separately, closer to the actual movement of the carriers.

The United States values Japan's contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting U.S. forces forward deployed there. These forces, along with their counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.

The security environment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward. This posture allows the most rapid response times possible for maritime and joint forces, and brings our most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability to bear in the timeliest manner.

The ship rotation will not necessitate a change in the assigned air wing, nor in the composition of the air wing. Carrier Air Wing Five will remain the forward-deployed air wing located at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. This ship rotation also does not necessitate any changes to base facilities in either San Diego or Yokosuka.

In 2008, George Washington was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sent to Japan as part of the FDNF. Maintaining an FDNF capability supports the United States' commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Indo-Asia-Pacific.