Speaking to a Hampton Roads (Va.) Chamber of Commerce audience Wednesday, Mabus was asked for a "quick yes or no" answer on whether Norfolk could expect to continue as the only home port for the Atlantic aircraft carrier fleet. He answered "no."
"I knew that question was coming, and I'm not going to be defensive about it," The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk quoted him as saying.
Indeed, the Navy has an "unwavering" commitment to the move, The Daily Press of Newport News quoted him as saying.
All the Navy's East Coast nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are based at Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest naval station, supporting 75 ships and 134 aircraft at 14 piers and 11 aircraft hangars and housing the largest concentration of U.S. Navy forces.
The Navy has proposed moving one of those carriers to Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., for national security reasons.
"We have to disperse our carrier fleet," Mabus told the chamber audience.