The Chief of Naval Operation (CNO) Adm. John Richardson said on Friday the service will reestablish U.S. 2nd Fleet in the coming months, in the wake of a recommendation from the Secretary of the Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review (SSR).

Richardson publicized the return of 2nd Fleet during a ceremony held last Friday when Adm. Chris Grady officially took over U.S. Fleet Forces from Adm. Phil Davidson. Davidson was recently confirmed by the Senate to lead U.S. Pacific Command (Defense Daily, April 27).

At the ceremony, held aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) aircraft carrier, Richardson said the 2nd Fleet will have operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft, and landing forces in the areas of the U.S. East Coast and north Atlantic Ocean. The fleet will also plan and conduct maritime, joint, and combined operations as well as train, certify, and provide maritime forces to respond to contingencies.

The commander of the 2nd Fleet will now report to the Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces.

The CNO related the decision to Davidson’s work leading the service’s Comprehensive Review (CR) of systemic causes that led to the deadly USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and John S. McCain (DDG-56) collisions (Defense Daily, Nov. 2, 2017).

“Due to Adm. Davidson’s analysis & response to changing security environment, we will stand up U.S. 2nd Fleet to train, certify & command U.S. naval forces to respond–at the highest level of naval warfare–to emerging global contingencies in the Atlantic,” Richardson said.

The idea of reestablishing 2nd Fleet first came from Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s bigger picture SSR. It recommended reestablishing the fleet as an operational and training division within Fleet Forces, modeled after the U.S. 3rd Fleet (Defense Daily, Dec. 14, 2017).

That report said the change would “reduce overlap between administrative and operational responsibilities, and better respond to the changing security environment.”

The 2nd Fleet was disestablished in 2011, with much of its assets, personnel, and responsibility transferred into Fleet Forces.

Richardson connected the renewed fleet to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ National Defense Strategy.

“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. That’s why today, we’re standing up 2nd Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the north Atlantic.”

Reports from USNI News suggest the decision was also related to better manage the threat of Russian competition and military assets and will be stood up by the start of July with a small group of initial personnel.

Separately, the Defense Department said on Friday it officially offered to host a proposed NATO Joint Force Command (JFC) for the Atlantic at its Norfolk, Va., facilities.

The North Atlantic Council is expected to make a final decision of the JFC location later this summer.

DoD noted the JFC will be part of NATO’s efforts to adapt its command structure to ensure the alliance can meet current challenges, strengthen deterrence and defense postures, and project stability beyond its borders.