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Inside the Frontline Fight of the US Navy Against the Houthis in the Red Sea

Credits: France 24

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea experienced blaring alarms at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, alerting personnel to prepare for potential flight operations against a Houthi drone flying over nearby ships.

Despite the drone being later deemed non-threatening, the incident highlighted the constant vigilance of the carrier’s crew against potential threats from Iran-backed militants in Yemen.

These militants have been targeting commercial ships, as well as US and coalition forces, using missiles and drones in the strategically important waterway.

CNN gained exclusive access on board two vessels leading the US response to Houthi attacks—the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Gravely in the southern Red Sea. Sailors and pilots interviewed emphasized the unpredictable and unprecedented nature of the Houthi threat.

US Navy Air Fighter (Credits: CNN)

The US Navy is operating at a rapid pace, deploying jets and firing missiles at a moment’s notice to counter the Houthis’ weapons and infrastructure.

Despite numerous strikes over the past month against Houthi targets in the Red Sea and inside Yemen, the US military lacks precise information on the extent to which Houthi capabilities have been destroyed. The timeline for deterring their activities permanently remains uncertain.

Rear Admiral Marc Miguez, the commander of Carrier Strike Group Two, acknowledged the complexity of the situation, stating, “It’s a wicked problem set that we don’t have a lot of great fidelity on.”

Unlike well-established state actors such as Iran, Russia, and China, which the US has prioritized for intelligence collection over the years, the US had not closely monitored the Houthis before their regular missile launches into the Red Sea.

This lack of prior attention raises uncertainties about the extent of Houthi stockpiles, particularly concerning hidden or underground resources. This account underscores the challenges of dealing with emerging threats from non-state actors, where the dynamics of modern warfare require adaptability and proactive measures.

The situation emphasizes the need for increased intelligence efforts and strategic planning to effectively address evolving security concerns in dynamic geopolitical environments.

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