CNO Announces Return of the U.S. 2nd Fleet
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The chief of naval operations (CNO) has announced the establishment of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, to be headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, marking the return of a command that figured prominently during the Cold War.
The move is an execution of one of the recommendations of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer’s recent Strategic Readiness Review.
Adm. John Richardson announced the establishment of the fleet during a change of command ceremony for U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) in Norfolk, May 4, the Navy said in a release. The new fleet will report to USFF.
“Second Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean,” the release said. “Additionally, it will plan and conduct maritime, joint and combined operations and will train, certify and provide maritime forces to respond to global contingencies.
“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,” Richardson said. “That’s why today, we’re standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the North Atlantic.”
In its former iteration, Second Fleet generated forces to support operations in the North Atlantic, as well as U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East Force (later U.S. Fifth Fleet) in the Persian Gulf and, occasionally, U.S. Seventh Fleet during the Vietnam War. The fleet figured prominently in the Navy’s Maritime Strategy of the Cold War Era, when the Second Fleet staff would embark in a flagship for exercises in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. The former Second Fleet was disestablished in 2011.
As noted by U.S. European Command, the Russian Navy has become more active in recent years in the Northern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Sixth Fleet in recent years has operated more frequently in the Baltic and Black Seas.