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Navy Plans To Homeport Two More Aircraft Carriers

The U.S. Navy plans to homeport two additional aircraft carriers and 10 more surface ships in San Diego by 2017, an admiral is expected to tell the City Council today.

The Pentagon recently announced a shift of focus for U.S. military forces toward Asia and the Pacific Ocean, making bases in San Diego ripe for expansion.

Rear Admiral Dixon Smith's report says the addition of vessels will add 8,100 sailors and 6,700 family members to the region.

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The number of aircraft carriers based in San Diego Bay has fluctuated in recent weeks as ships have been transferred and gone into yearlong retrofitting. Only the USS Carl Vinson, currently deployed in the Middle East, is based locally.

The Navy has 58 surface ships based in San Diego, plus six submarines. Among the surface ships set to come to San Diego in the next few years are the new class of vessels called "littoral combat ships,'' which are designed to operate in coastal waters.

Smith said the Navy has a $30.5 billion annual economic impact on San Diego, and that 26 percent of all jobs in the region are Defense Department- related.

Also at this afternoon's council meeting, Mayor Jerry Sanders is scheduled to present his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, and council members will set salaries for elected officials.

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