The US Navy destroyer USS Roosevelt arrived at the Naval Station Rota in southwestern Spain on Saturday, part of a plan to rotate out four warships that have worked the missile defense beat since 2013. However, as European Command has pushed for an even larger deployment to Rota, the Navy is being stretched increasingly thin.
The first of several US warships deployed to Spain began to rotate home on Saturday when its replacement, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Roosevelt, arrived in Rota, the Navy announced on Monday.
Not to be confused with the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, the USS Roosevelt is a guided missile destroyer sporting the latest upgrades, including the Aegis Baseline 9 missile defense system and the SM-3 anti-air missile.
The Navy began stationing a quartet of guided missile destroyers at Rota in 2013 following an agreement with Madrid to incorporate an additional node into the European Missile Defense System, a network of ballistic missile interceptors designed to protect against potential attack by Iran. However, in recent years the network has been touted as protection against Russian attack as well, expanding into former Russian allies Romania and Poland.
The Rota deployment has become a point of contention, however, between two sections of the Pentagon.
The Rota-based warships run patrols across the Mediterranean and up the western coast of Europe, including being used for offensive strikes on Libya…