Plant stress is the least of the reasons for this proposal.Would a fundamental switch to shorter, more frequent cruises by CVNs — as SECDEF suggests in that article Randy Daytona posted — be better, worse, or the same in terms of stress on that power plant?
The problem with the 90-day cruise idea is that you give up a lot in exchange for not much savings. You need the same amount of workups whether you deploy for three months or ten. Workups stress the strike group, ships, and Air Wing - that’s kind of the point - and they cost a lot of money. And then, assuming you’re going to CENTCOM, of that 90-day deployment, you’re going to spend anywhere from two to five weeks in transit.
Ship/CAG readiness isn’t shelf-stable. You have to work up to full readiness to deploy, and then you have to maintain that readiness. That takes flight time and underway time, which cost the same whether you’re over Syria or fooling around off VaCapes. And you can only do that for so long; at some point you run out of flight hours, airplanes start breaking, ships need to go into the yards, that guy in your AT shop you can’t deploy without is due to PCS and you have to send one or two guys to school to replace him, etc etc etc. Sort of like revving up your engine at the start line of a drag race, and then having the car sit there at full rev indefinitely.
Not to mention, it stresses and frustrates your guys and their families when they don’t deploy. When you’re fully worked up, you’re ready to go do the job. And as much as cruise sucks for the families, sitting around for months with a “might go any minute, might not” plan is more stressful. That’s not theory; it’s exactly what happened a few years ago to the Truman CSG when they worked up and then stayed clamped to the pier.