Declaring the “era of great power competition” has returned, the U.S. Navy said Friday it intends to revive the Second Fleet with responsibilities over the Atlantic Ocean.
The fleet’s reactivation plan calls for a headquarters established in Norfolk, Virginia.
Stating the naval force is aiming to project strength, Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson described the Second Fleet’s reemergence to reporters as the use of “major elements of maritime power.”
“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. Second Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean,” Richardson added.
Although Richardson did not specifically cite Russia, concerns over Russian naval activity in the Atlantic, its support for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and its seizure of Crimea are likely sources of inspiration to restore the fleet to active status.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, however, informed Congress in April that a new Russian submarine had debuted which could threaten American naval supremacy.
According to an anonymous Navy official, the Second Fleet will be comprised of a three-star admiral and 250 service members.
“This one will be high-end, blue-water warfare using major elements of maritime power,” Richardson said.
Disbanded in 2011 as part of a cost-cutting measure and in the absence of an established fleet to oversee the area, U.S. naval activity in the Atlantic fell under the administration of the U.S. Southern Command, instead focusing on humanitarian missions and disaster relief.
A distinguished naval flotilla, the Second Fleet has a rich history of activity. Originally established in 1945, the unit played significant roles in the quarantine of Cuba during the 1962, and supported combat operations during the 1983 invasion of Grenada.
Prior to its deactivation in 2011, the Second Fleet oversaw 126 ships, over 4,500 aircraft, and 90,000 personnel.
[Reuters] [CNN] [Military.com] [Photo courtesy U.S. Navy]