The U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. John Richardson, announced the establishment of U.S. 2nd Fleet during a change of command ceremony for U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) in Norfolk, May 4, 2018.
The announcement came amid heightened tensions between NATO and Russia.
Second Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, it will plan and conduct maritime, joint and combined operations and will train, certify and provide maritime forces to respond to global contingencies. Commander, 2nd Fleet will report to USFF.
“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 Second Fleet was established following World War II for the purpose of supporting NATO. The Fleet was disestablished in 2011 and many of its personnel, assets and responsibilities were merged into USFF. It was done in view of the U.S. government’s perception that the potential military threat posed by Russia had diminished
Second Fleet’s historic area of responsibility included approximately 6,700,000 square miles (17,000,000 km2) of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the Caribbean and from the shores of the United States to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Second Fleet’s West Coast counterpart was United States First Fleet.
Prior to the 2011 disestablishment, Second Fleet oversaw approximately 126 ships, 4500 aircraft, and 90,000 personnel home-ported at U.S. Navy installations along the East Coast.