Good Old-Fashioned Naval "Show Of Force"
According to a Fifth Fleet press release, we now have both CVNs in the Fifth Fleet AOR operating inside the Persian (Arabian) Gulf; this is the first time I remember we've seen two carriers inside the Gulf since 2003. While the press release doesn't say anything about it, this is clearly in response to the Iranian seizure of 15 British servicepeople last week at the northern end of the Gulf. (Exactly why the Brits allowed themselves to be captured is detailed here; apparently, their ROE is "very much de-escalatory". They might want to rethink that in the future.)
It interests me that we're going for a "show of force" option that tends to minimize our ability to actually conduct any attacks on Iran; this is good news for those of us who don't think war with Iran is the right option at this time. While the Kos Kids might think that this is a precursor to an attack on Iran, in actuality the absolute worst initial conditions for a U.S. attack on Iran would be to have both (or any) carriers inside the Persian Gulf - that's the only place where the Iranian forces could conceivably hurt our capital ships. For that reason, while a "show of force" has some public relations uses, I'm not sure it's the right move at this time from a strictly military standpoint-- the Iranians might actually be intending on starting something. (I don't think they are, but it's hard to read the mullah's minds.) Putting the carriers in a better position to defend themselves (i.e. pulling the Eisenhower out of the Gulf) would have sent a stronger message to the Iranian military -- at the cost of appearing "weak" to those who don't understand the military at a tactical level. On the other hand, this might be the Administration's way of being "de-escalatory" themselves.