As part of Navy Secretary John F. Lehman’s effort to build a 600-ship Navy in the 1980s, and in response to the commissioning of Kirov by the Soviet Union, the United States recommissioned all four Iowa-class battleships. On several occasions, battleships were support ships in carrier battle groups, or led their own battleship surface action group. The USS New Jersey saw action bombarding Lebanon in 1983 and 1984, while the USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin fired their 16-inch (406 mm) guns at targets Kuwait and launched missiles during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The USS Wisconsin served as the TLAM strike commander for the Persian Gulf, directing the sequence of launches that marked the opening of Desert Storm, firing a total of 24 TLAMs during the first two days of the campaign.
All four Iowas were decommissioned in the early 1990s, making them the last battleships to see active service. USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin were, until fiscal year 2006, maintained to a standard where they could be rapidly returned to service as fire support vessels, pending the development of a superior fire support vessel.