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Navy restructuring revives Atlantic Fleet

By DAVE RESS | Daily Press | Published: December 3, 2020

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — As the Russian navy keeps pressing into the Atlanticthe United States is reviving the Atlantic Fleet, renaming and refocusing its Norfolk-based Fleet Forces Command.

The change will have no impact on jobs or revenue in Hampton Roads, Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite told the Senate Armed Services Committee's readiness panel.

He said Fleet Forces was formed to support joint forces operations in a world "where NATO's flanks are secure, the Russian navy is tied to the pier and terrorism is our biggest problem." But the Russian navy is ever more active with ever more effective ships and weapons in the Atlantic, he said.

Reviving the Atlantic Fleet by redirecting and renaming Fleet Forces will focus more attention on the Atlantic, and the maritime approaches to the U.S. and its allies, he said.

"The Atlantic Fleet will confront the reassertive Russian navy, which has been deploying closer and closer to the East Coast," he said.

The Norfolk-based 2nd Fleet and the Jacksonville, Florida-based 4th Fleet, which focuses on the Caribbean and South America, will report to the Atlantic Fleet.

Separately, NATO is setting up its new Joint Force Command Norfolk to boost its focus on the Atlantic.

At the same time, Braithwaite said the Navy would revive its 1st Fleet, as an expeditionary force focused on the Indo-Pacific region. It with the 7th Fleet and the West Coast-based 3rd Fleet will report to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The 5th Fleet, which operates in the Middle East, would continue to report through the U.S. Central Command and the 6th Fleet, which is based in Naples, Italy, would continue to report to the U.S. European Command.

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