The US Navy’s new command puts Russia in the crosshairs

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ABOARD THE USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH, NORFOLK, Va. — A sharp increase in Russian naval activity in the Arctic and north Atlantic in the years since its invasion of eastern Ukraine has prompted the U.S. Navy to resurrect a command it disestablished seven years ago. The command was merged into Fleet Forces Command in 2011, but the Navy has been talking about bringing it back since it appeared as a recommendation in the Strategic Readiness Review into last year’s 7 th Fleet collisions. The move is the latest sign that the Navy is focusing its attention away from the war on terrorism and toward its major competitors China and Russia. “This is a dynamic response to the dynamic security environment,” Richardson told reporters onboard the carrier George H. W. Bush May 4. “So as we’ve seen this great power competition emerge, the Atlantic Ocean is as dynamic a theater as any and particular the North Atlantic, so as we consider high-end naval warfare, fighting in the Atlantic, that will be the 2nd Fleet’s responsibility.” In the announcement, Richardson credited Davidson for the analysis that led to the decision. “It is in large part due to the analysis of Adm. Davidson and his team, in response to a changing security environment, that this summer we will stand up the U.S. 2nd Fleet here in Norfolk to train, certify and command U.S. naval forces at the very highest levels of naval warfare to the emerging global contingencies in the Atlantic,” Richardson said. The announcement from Richardson was immediately followed by an announcement from the Office of the Secretary of Defense that it has offered to host a new NATO Joint Force Command for the Atlantic at Naval Station Norfolk. Davidson is going on to lead U.S. Pacific Command. The Secretary of the Navy’s SRR recommended that 2nd Fleet operate similarly to 3rd Fleet, which trains and certifies West Coast ships for deployment and…
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