There is an interesting discussion quietly taking place within the US Navy. Where will the USS Carl Vinson be homeported in 2009? The QDR calls for 6 Aircraft Carriers to be deployed to the Pacific. As it stands today, in 2009 the list will be:
CVN 73 - USS George Washington - Yokosuka, Japan
CVN 74 - USS John C. Stennis - Bremerton, Washington, U.S.A.
CVN 76 - USS Ronald Reagan - San Diego, California, U.S.A.
CVN 68 - USS Nimitz - San Diego, California, U.S.A.
CVN 72 - USS Abraham Lincoln - Everett, Washington , U.S.A.
When the USS Carl Vinson completes its nuclear overhaul, the Navy has announced it will be moved to one of four homeports: San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Guam or Bremerton, Washington.
The question is, where would you put the Vinson and why? I would go with Guam personally, although Pearl Harbor is a good idea too.
A good background for why Guam is worth a look can be found in Newport Papers #26, Chapter 4 for those looking for more information.
There is one major drawback of Guam that I can see. A Chinese submarine can get to Guam from Shanghai in just under 18 days at 4 knots, or 14 days at 5 knots. It would take 38 days to get to Pearl Harbor from China at 5 knots, meaning it would be virtually impossible for Chinese conventional subs to do anything about that.
It would take about 7 days for a carrier to respond to Chinese theater event from Pearl Harbor, while it would take about 1 day to respond from Guam. By comparison, it would take a carrier about 10 days to respond from San Diego.
For calculating response times, this link can help with distances. I'd be very interested in the opinion of those from Australia, considering it is a discussion of putting considerable US Navy firepower in your backyard.
Which would you choose and why?