U.S. Navy Resurrects 2nd Fleet to Counter Russian Threat
The U.S. Navy's Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, announced Friday that the service is reestablishing U.S. 2nd Fleet, which was folded into Fleet Forces Command in 2011. The new command will oversee training and operations for asssigned units on the East Coast and in the North Atlantic.
"Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we're back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex," said Richardson. "That's why today, we're standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the north Atlantic."
The new 2nd Fleet will be based in Norfolk, along with Fleet Forces Command and the proposed NATO Joint Forces Command for the Atlantic. It will have a staff of 85 officers, 165 enlisted personnel and several civilians. Its commander has not yet been selected, but he or she will report to Fleet Forces Command, headed by the newly-appointed Adm. Christopher Grady. Fleet Forces will keep its focus on training, manning and equipping the entirety of the Navy - a key mission in the wake of the two deadly destroyer collisions last year.
Adm. Richardson did not give detailed reasons for the resurrection of 2nd Fleet, but the only near-peer actor in its geographic domain is the Russian Navy, which has greatly increased its activity level in the Baltic and North Atlantic in recent years. In January 2017, British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said that "in northern Europe and the Baltic, we are responding to the highest level of Russian naval activity since the end of the Cold War.”