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Submarine USS Jefferson City deploys as Indo-Pacific tensions rise

The submarine USS Jefferson City left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Tuesday for deployment in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
The submarine USS Jefferson City left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Tuesday for deployment in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

April 28 (UPI) -- The fast-attack submarine USS Jefferson City departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to the Indo-Pacific area, the U.S. Navy announced.

The move was described by the Navy on Tuesday as a "regularly-scheduled deployment," without offering details.

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It comes as numerous U.S. military assets have been transferred to the area encompassing the Indian and Pacific Oceans, areas patrolled by the U.S. Navy's 3rd and 7th fleets.

In March, Adm. Philip Davidson, chief of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, called for increases in U.S. involvement in the region during a virtual conference of the American Enterprise Institute.

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He noted that Guam, a heavily fortified U.S. island territory in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines, China and Japan, should be defended as part of the homeland.

Davidson also cited arms sales to Taiwan as a deterrent to possible military action by China.

"In and around Taiwan over the last several months we've seen an uptick in air activity from the PRC [People's Republic of China] that includes bomber flights to fighter flights, reconnaissance aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, even going so far as to repeatedly penetrate the Taiwan air defense identification zone," he said.

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"I'm deeply concerned about the next six years, but certainly the course of this decade as well," Davidson said.

Davidson's comments came as he visited Washington government leaders in support of funding the Pacific Deterrence Initiative -- which has a $4.6 billion price tag in fiscal 2022, and $27 billion through 2027 -- to build up capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The USS Jefferson City, a Los Angeles-class submarine, was commissioned in 1992 and carries a crew of about 140 sailors.

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It was designed for missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

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