President Donald Trump is having a late lunch with key staff members at his golf club in northern Virginia.
That effort was largely overshadowed by tumult within the administration, including Friday's hiring of investment banker Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director and the subsequent resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer.
Trump will deliver the ceremony's principal address, marking his second visit to the new carrier since his inauguration.
Numerous crew members have been with the carrier since the earliest stages of development - supplementing a lack of experience out at sea with a deep breadth of knowledge about the new technology that is expected to set the standard for the future of the Ford-class.
Mr. Trump used the occasion to call on Congress to complete the fiscal 2018 budget that would boost defense spending by about $54 billion, an increase of roughly 10 percent.More news: Celtic and Linfield could potentially face tough sanctions from UEFA
Navy bosses boast that the new ship is a "technological marvel" and claim it will carry much more than just fighter jets.
Despite delays to the Ford's delivery, the Navy said that the Ford-class carriers will yield a $4 billion reduction per ship cost as compared to its predecessor.
Conservative columnist Rod Dreher similarly highlighted rule-of-law issues in a post on the subject for The American Conservative, arguing that what such a pardon "would reveal about how respect for the rule of law and basic republican order in the United States had decayed would be staggering".
CVN 78 was named after the 38th USA president and pays homage to his service in the Navy, government and the country.
The new vessel is America's first new carrier design in over 40 years since USS Nimitz (CVN-68) entered service in May 3, 1975.More news: Turkish deputy PM condemns remarks by German FM
In introducing the president at the ceremony, Mr. Mattis said, "Today a magnificent warship joins the best navy in the world". Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Rick Snyder of MI, who were packed into the steamy hangar bay on the main deck. Ford became president after Richard Nixon stepped down amid the Watergate scandal in 1977. His daughter, Susan Ford Bales, christened the vessel in 2013.
The first of three Ford-class carriers ordered by the Navy - whose combined cost is expected be close to $42 billion - the USS Gerald Ford's innovative features have been touted as one of its biggest assets but testing those unproven systems has, at times, yielded growing pains.
Naval Operations chief admiral John Richardson said: "The nation is going to be very proud of USS Gerald R. Ford".More news: New Street Fighter V Character Announced: Abigail from Final Fight