The destroyer Carney will leave its homeport of Mayport, Florida, on Sept. 12 to become the fourth and final ballistic missile defense ship based in Rota, Spain, as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach.

The ship and her 23 officers, 24 chiefs and 291 sailors will provide ballistic missile defense — a capability in which demand far exceeds supply. Combatant commanders last year needed 44 ships to meet BMD requirements, according to congressional data. In fiscal 2016, that need is expected to jump to 77 ships. There are 33 BMD-capable ships almost evenly split between the east and west coasts.

Despite the shortfall, U.S. 6th Fleet — which is responsible for the European and African theaters — has greatly benefited. The command ship Mount Whitney was the only ship permanently assigned to 6th Fleet. The destroyers Ross and Donald Cook arrived in fiscal 2014, and Porter joined them earlier this year. The ships provide constant presence in the Mediterranean, Black, and Baltic seas, and the North Atlantic. In fact, Donald Cook in late August chalked up her third venture into the Black Sea.

"Our work here is a growth industry, and we have expanded," Vice Adm. James Foggo, commander of 6th Fleet, said in a Sept. 2 phone interview. "Any commander would tell you they would like to have more force structure in order to do more things. I'll tell you I'm pretty proud of the people here because I think we are doing a pretty good job with what we have."

The Navy will also bridge BMD gaps by forward-basing ships and Aegis Ashore systems. A 430-acre facility is scheduled to be operational by year’s end in at a former Russian air base in Deveselu, Romania. It will be manned by about 200 U.S. service members, government civilians and support contractors, and armed with SM-3 IB interceptors. A second site will be in Poland and is scheduled to be operational in 2018. It will be armed with SM-3 IIA interceptors.

In the Pacific theater, three destroyers will make a permanent relocation to Yokosuka, Japan: Benfold in 2015, Barry in early 2016, and Milius in the summer of 2017. All three destroyers will get a midlife modernization anchored by the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system. This includes the Mark-41 Vertical Launch System, which can employ multiple types of guided missiles for offensive and defensive operations against aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, surface ships, submarines and shore targets. The destroyers will also get a fully integrated bridge and commercial off-the-shelf computing equipment.

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