NORFOLK, Va. — Just before the end of 2019, the U.S. 2nd Fleet, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, achieved full operational capability.
Since the fleet was reestablished in August 2018, Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, U.S. 2nd Fleet commander, has led the resurgence of the Navy’s newest numbered Fleet, amidst a return to great power competition as outlined in the National Defense Strategy.
“Within an increasingly complex global security environment, our allies and competitors alike are well aware that many of the world’s most active shipping lanes lie within the North Atlantic,” said Lewis. “Combined with the opening of waterways in the Arctic, this competitive space will only grow, and the 2nd Fleet’s devotion to the development and employment of capable forces will ensure that our nation is both present and ready to fight in the region if and when called upon.”
The United States first returned to the Arctic in 2018, after a 28-year absence, when the Norfolk based USS Harry S. Truman crossed into the Arctic Circle.
Old Dominion University International Studies Director Regina Karp told 13News Now at the time, it's a big deal.
"It is quite significant to the extent that Arctic has become a new geopolitical playing ground with the number of countries that have interest in the Arctic, particularly exploitation of resources there, but also, fresh water areas," she said. "And with climate change, more and more countries are going to become interested."
U.S. 2nd Fleet exercises operational authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the North Atlantic.
The achievement of full operational capability means that the 2nd Fleet reached sufficient capacity to sustain command and control over assigned forces using the operational functions and processes of the Maritime Operations Center and Maritime Headquarters, under Navy Doctrine.
The original US Second Fleet was created in 1950 and played an important role in the confrontation with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was disbanded in 2011 .