US Navy Re-Launches Second Fleet to Address Russian Threats in North Atlantic
Photo: Oleg KuleshovUS23:16 04.05.2018(updated 23:19 04.05.2018) Get short URL
The United States has announced plans to re-establish the Second Fleet in the northern Atlantic Ocean following the publication of the country’s new National Defense Strategy, “which makes it clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition” with, among other threats, Russia, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said Friday.
“[T]he security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” the admiral continued while speaking in Norfolk, Virginia, noting, “that’s why today, we’re standing up Second Fleet to address these challenges, particularly in the North Atlantic.”
The command will be established by July 1, according to USNI News, which broke the story after obtaining an internal US Navy memo announcing the plans.
“The move to stand the fleet back up is rooted in increasing threats in the Atlantic from Russia,” multiple officials briefed on the decision told USNI News.
The Second Fleet’s command headquarters will be located in Norfolk, where the fleet’s commander will “exercise training and operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces in conducting maritime, joint and combined operations in support of designated unified and allied commanders,” the memo reads.
About 15 US Navy personnel will staff the command initially before expanding to about 250 personnel, USNI News reported Friday.
The Second Fleet has existed only on paper since 2011, when its assets were absorbed into US Fleet Forces.
The plans for the new fleet have not yet been fully finalized; however, according to USNI News, Admiral Christopher Grady will be its top officer. The Navy Times offered a conflicting account of Grady’s future in a report Friday, which said that the admiral will assume the top post at Fleet Forces Command starting May 4.
A change in leadership was set in motion when US Pacific Command (PACOM) chief Admiral Harry Harris was nominated as US ambassador to Australia in February. Then, in April, Harris was nominated to become the US ambassador to South Korea instead. In any event, Admiral Philip Davidson is now heading to replace Harris atop PACOM. Davidson is departing the top position at Fleet Forces Command to take the PACOM role.