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Carrier strike group (CSG)

Definition A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is a naval unit consisting of an aircraft carrier, its air wing, and accompanying surface combatants and support vessels. The primary purpose of a CSG is to protect and support the aircraft carrier while projecting power and conducting offensive and defensive operations. The CSG’s composition can vary, but typically […]


A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is a naval unit consisting of an aircraft carrier, its air wing, and accompanying surface combatants and support vessels. The primary purpose of a CSG is to protect and support the aircraft carrier while projecting power and conducting offensive and defensive operations. The CSG’s composition can vary, but typically includes guided-missile cruisers, destroyers, and a submarine component for added protection.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is a large operational formation of the United States Navy that consists of an aircraft carrier, accompanied by various other warships and support vessels.
  2. CSGs possess an effective mix of capabilities, including power projection, defense against threats, and the ability to provide humanitarian assistance during crises, making them vital for maintaining a strong naval presence globally.
  3. The core of a CSG is the aircraft carrier, which operates as a floating airbase and is supported by destroyers, cruisers, and various supply ships. These assets work together to ensure successful execution of military operations, both offensive and defensive.


The term Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is important because it represents a formidable and versatile naval force that greatly enhances a nation’s ability to project power, protect strategic interests, and maintain maritime security.

Comprised of an aircraft carrier, accompanied by a combination of destroyers, cruisers, and submarines, a CSG acts as a cohesive and flexible unit capable of executing a wide range of missions, including rapid deployment, deterrence, and even humanitarian assistance.

Its real strength lies in the synergy between its various components, with the aircraft carrier serving as the centerpiece, and other surface and subsurface assets providing robust air, surface, and subsurface defense capabilities.

In essence, the Carrier Strike Group is a vital element in contemporary military strategy, playing a critical role in maintaining regional stability and global security.


A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) serves as a formidable and versatile instrument in projecting power and protecting national interests, primarily through its ability to operate in various areas, including open oceans and littorals. The primary purpose of a CSG is to conduct offensive or defensive military operations, provide deterrence, and execute diplomatic engagements on behalf of the nation. When strategically employed, Carrier Strike Groups effectively safeguard sea lines of communication, ensuring the flow of vital resources and trade.

Additionally, CSGs support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, demonstrating a commitment to global stability and fostering international relationships. Central to a Carrier Strike Group is the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which, when combined with a versatile array of escorts and support ships, renders the CSG a highly adaptable task force. The escorts usually include guided missile cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, providing advanced air, surface, and sub-surface combat capabilities.

The aircraft carrier functions as a moving airbase, hosting a diverse array of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters for various purposes, including air superiority, strike warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and reconnaissance. A CSG is not confined to a fixed location, giving it exceptional operational flexibility and readiness to rapidly respond to evolving situations and emerging threats in different parts of the world without relying on foreign basing agreements. In this way, Carrier Strike Groups play a crucial role in safeguarding national interests and maintaining global peace and stability.

Examples of Carrier strike group (CSG)

The U.S. Navy’s John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG): The JCSSG, named after the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier, played a crucial role in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Operation Enduring Freedom in the same year. This Carrier Strike Group has conducted naval operations, air strikes, and security missions across the globe, including the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and Western Pacific regions.

The French Navy’s Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group: The Charles de Gaulle is France’s only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the flagship of the Marine Nationale. In 2015, the Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Group was deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean to carry out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq as part of Operation Chammal. In 2019, the strike group participated in exercises with the U.S., Indian, and Australian navies in the Bay of Bengal during Exercise La Pérouse.

The U.K. Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group (UKCSG): The UKCSG is centered around the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s newest and largest aircraft carrier. In 2021, the Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group embarked on a multinational operational deployment called CSG-21 that included stops in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and the Indo-Pacific region. The deployment aimed to strengthen global maritime partnerships, address shared security concerns, and improve overall naval integration.

FAQ: Carrier Strike Group (CSG)

What is a Carrier Strike Group?

A Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is a naval formation consisting of an aircraft carrier, various destroyer ships, cruisers, submarines, and supply ships. The primary mission of a CSG is to project power, provide deterrence, and support naval operations across the globe.

What is the primary role of a CSG?

The primary role of a CSG is to conduct offensive and defensive operations through sea control, power projection, and presence activities. A CSG offers mission flexibility through its diverse capabilities, enabling it to respond to various threats, support humanitarian assistance, and maintain maritime stability.

What types of ships make up a CSG?

A typical CSG is composed of an aircraft carrier, guided-missile cruisers, destroyers, attack submarines, and a supply ship. The specific composition may vary depending on the mission requirements and operational environment.

How does a CSG coordinate its operations?

Coordination within a CSG is crucial for maximum effectiveness. The flagship, usually the aircraft carrier, has command and control centers where the group’s commander and flagship’s commanding officer oversee all group operations. Information is shared, and plans are designed within this central hub, enabling a cooperative, coordinated response to any situation.

How does a CSG enhance a country’s military presence?

A CSG enhances a country’s military presence by providing a visible and capable force for deterrence, rapid response, and humanitarian support. The presence of a CSG showcases a nation’s commitment to maintaining global security and stability, while also serving as a powerful deterrent to potential adversaries.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Aircraft Carrier (CVN)
  • Guided-Missile Cruiser (CG)
  • Destroyer Squadron (DESRON)
  • Guided-Missile Destroyer (DDG)
  • Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC)

Sources for More Information

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