The Navy’s Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) held a change of command ceremony aboard the San Antonio-class transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) on March 5.

In the ceremony, Rear Adm. Brendan McLane relieved Rear Adm. Brad Cooper to become the 60th SURFLANT commander. Adm. Christopher Grady, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, provided remarks during the COVID-19 pandemic mitigated event.

Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT), speaks during the SURFLANT change of command ceremony aboard the USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham)

Cooper has served as the commander of the force since June 2020. Previously, he served as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7 in Japan where he led the 7th Fleet Navy-Marine Corps team on the military’s first F-35 deployment, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and Navy chief of legislative affairs (Defense Daily, March 6, 2018).

“Your performance as SURFLANT has been outstanding in every respect. You expertly managed the combat readiness of 27,000 personnel, 77 warships, and 31 support units of the Atlantic Surface Force to unparalleled levels of lethality. You produced a tough, resilient, and battle-ready surface force that we can clearly see here across the seawall today,” Grady said in a statement.

The Navy noted Cooper conceived the Task Group Greyhound initiative to provide fleet commanders with a predictable and sustainable model to maximize warships ready for operational tasking and improve on-time delivery of ships out of the maintenance phase by 30 percent.

Cooper is now being assigned as special assistant to the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

McLane is moving to SURFLANT after previously serving as commander of Carrier Strike Group 10 and leading Navy Recruiting Command.

“I am committed to continue the great work of Rear. Adm. Cooper in delivering elite, combat ready forces for our Navy and our Nation,” McLane said.

SURFLANT, a type command (TYCOM), is responsible for manning, training, and equipping assigned surface forces and shore activities stationed on the East Coast as well as forward deployed assets in Bahrain, Spain and the Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. It is comprised of 77 ships and 31 shore commands.