The US Navy has declared Initial Operation Capability for its 2nd fleet ahead of its first European deployment.
U.S. 2nd Fleet declared the command has achieved initial operation capability (IOC) May 29, less than one year after being established by senior military leaders. Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, made the announcement onboard Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, the waterfront homeport of many 2nd Fleet maritime assets.
In achieving IOC, the command has reached the capability to command and control forces assigned, as is expected of a numbered fleet, utilising the functions and processes of the Maritime Operations Center and Maritime Headquarters. By focusing on the training and employment of assigned assets, the new 2nd Fleet will be postured to support the employment of forces, whether that is on the Western side of the Atlantic, the Eastern side of the Atlantic, or up into the Arctic.
Vice Admiral Lewis said: “The North Atlantic has some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and with the opening of waterways in the Arctic, this traffic will only grow. This is a fact acknowledged by both our allies and competitors, and as such, it is critically important U.S. 2nd Fleet reinvigorates the way our forces are employed in this influential theater.”
“BALTOPS 2019 is our collective opportunity to promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration, interoperability, and an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region. As an alliance, increasing our capabilities across all-domains as well as building a command-wide network will give us the ability to deter aggression and project stability.”
A few days after achieving IOC, the new Fleet will lead Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS), marking the first time the Fleet will operate in Europe. U.S. 2nd Fleet exercises operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the North Atlantic and plans and conducts maritime operations as well as training and recommending certification of combat-ready naval forces for maritime employment.
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