United States Navy History, focusing on the Atlantic, 8th, 2nd and 4th Fleets
Part I (1778 to 1918)
Part II (1919 to 1989)
Part III (1990 to 2011)
Part IV (2nd, Fleet Forces Command & 4th Fleet
(8th and 2nd decommissioned)
U.S. Second Fleet COMSECONDFLT
NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic COMSTRKFLTLANT
Joint Task Force 120
Joint Task Force 140
“Second Fleet was part of US Atlantic Command. Based in Norfolk, Virginia until its disestablishment in September 2011, and was responsible in peacetime for training the Atlantic battle fleet in war-fighting skills, developing and evaluating new naval tactics and maintaining theater battle group readiness. Second Fleet’s area of responsibility included the Atlantic coast of South America and part of the west coast of Central America” (Ref.313C & 313CB).
“On 30 September 2011, Commander, US 2nd Fleet was disestablished and merged with US Fleet Forces Command. The disestablishment of US 2nd Fleet was announced on 6 January 2011, and was aligned with Department of Defense efforts to reduce overhead expenditures to protect force structure and invest in modernization. USFF would continue to provide the same level of performance and forces ready for tasking to combatant commanders.
The Commander, Second Fleet, under CINCLANTFLT, plans for, and when directed, conducts battle force operations in the Atlantic command in support of designated unified or allied commanders. The Commander, Second Fleet directs movements and exercises operational control of assigned units to carry out scheduled ocean transits and other special operations as directed by CINCLANTFLT in order to maximize fleet operational readiness torespond to contingencies in the Atlantic command area of operations. The Commander, Second Fleet also plans fleet intertype train-ing exercises and participates in joint and combined exercises as directed” (Ref. 313CB).
“US 2nd Fleet was responsible in peacetime for training the Atlantic battle fleet in war-fighting skills, developing and evaluating new naval tactics and maintaining theater battle group readiness. Second Fleet’s area of responsibility included the Atlantic coast of South America and part of the west coast of Central America” (Ref.313C & 313CB).
“COMSECONDFLT has permanent assignment with NATO's Supreme Allied Command Atlantic's (SACLANT) chain-of-command, as the Commander Striking Fleet Atlantic. COMSTRIKFLTLANT commands a multinational force whose primary mission deters aggression, and protects NATO's Atlantic interests. Establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in the Atlantic, COMSTRIKFLTLANT ensures the integrity of NATO's sea-lines-of-communication. Countries contributing include: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States” (Ref. 313CB).
“The new organization created by this merger will remain in Norfolk, Virginia, and be known as the deputy director J7 for joint and coalition warfighting, a subordinate element of the Joint Staff J7” (Ref. 313B15).
“On 4 August 2011, Joint Forces Command cased its flag colors and officially disestablished on 31 August 2011” (Ref. 313B15; 313B22; 313B23 & 313B29).
Joint Forces Command Cases Its Colors
“The need for a joint force hasn’t gone away, but the need for a specific command dedicated to “jointness” has, and the U.S. Joint Forces Command furled its colors today.
The command, established in 1999 to champion getting all branches of the military to work together more closely, cased its colors at a ceremony in Suffolk, Va.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, awarded Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the organization’s last commander, with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for his service in shutting down the command. Odierno will succeed Gen. Martin E. Dempsey -- who will become Joint Chiefs chairman upon Mullen’s retirement -- as Army chief of staff.
Mullen acknowledged that many in the crowd may have had bittersweet feelings at today’s event. “You can take genuine pride in [Joint Forces Command’s] essential role in transforming and guiding the separate branches of our military into a truly joint force,” he said.
The U.S. military has made tremendous strides since the early 1980s, when operations in Grenada and Lebanon pointed to gaps among the services, Mullen noted.
“Through the course of two wars, we have built an incredible joint force in ways that many of us could not have imagined,” he said. “In fact, your efforts have permeated every level of our military, and just two days ago in Baghdad, I fielded not one, but two questions from troops who are focused on earning joint qualifications and on the lessons we have learned from fighting and operating jointly.”
Operating jointly now is embedded in military thinking, and the practical experience that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines gain from joint service in the wars returns to their services with different perspectives, the chairman said.
“In Afghanistan, for example, the highways, byways and flyways are patrolled, protected and nurtured by a joint and coalition team, including explosive ordnance removal crews along the Ring Road, provincial reconstruction teams from Helmand to Kunduz to Khost, and persistent joint close air support that is available anywhere at any time throughout the country,” the admiral said. “These efforts and our evolution as a joint force remind me of Henry Ford’s words that ‘Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.’ If that is so, then everyone here has indeed succeeded as we post [Joint Forces Command’s] colors one last time.”
Joint Forces Command put in place procedures and techniques that help at the highest levels of strategy as well, the chairman said. This year, he noted, procedures the command put in place and tested allowed the United States and allies to save countless lives in Libya by quickly putting together the operation to stop Moammar Gadhafi’s forces from driving on Benghazi. The lessons learned also allowed the United States to turn over operations to NATO seamlessly, he added.
“While I believe our experiences in Libya and elsewhere validate our past investments, I believe they also speak to the nature of future joint operations, for they will not be joint for the sake of jointness. They will be joint and combined because the international, economic and threat environments demand we work together in order to be successful,” Mullen said.
“Indeed,” he added, “the world has become so flat, so fast and so interconnected that we can no longer draw neat lines between the sea and the shore, the horizon and the sky. When the space, cyber and information domains are considered, it becomes clear that our services truly operate in more battle space collectively than they can control exclusively.”
The push toward closer cooperation will continue, moved in part because of tightening defense budgets, Mullen said. “No one can do it alone,” he added, “and quite frankly, no one can afford to do it alone, either.”
Mullen cited Air Force and Navy cooperation on the air-sea battle concept, setting aside parochial interests to overcome emerging 21st century threats.
“This and many other joint approaches would have been almost unthinkable a mere generation ago,” he said” (Ref. 313B29).
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
U.S. Joint Forces Command
Photo Essay: U.S. Joint Forces Command Holds Disestablishment Ceremony
US Second Fleet History
“The US Second Fleet traces its origin to the reorganization of the Navy after World War II in December 1945 when the formation of the United States Eighth Fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher. In January 1947, Eighth Fleet was renamed Second Task Fleet. Three years later, in February 1950, the command was redesignated U.S. Second Fleet” (Ref. 313C & 313CB).
“USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) was the fleet flagship of the Second Fleet. The force consisted of a balanced mix of capabilities including aircraft carriers, surface combatants, submarines, surveillance assets, amphibious forces, marine landing and mobile logistic units. Second Fleet operates primarily in the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole and from the shores of the United States to the west coast of Europe. It also operates along both coasts of South America and part of the west coast of Central America. In all, it covers more than 38 million square miles (98 million km²). The US Second Fleet traces its origin to the reorganization of the Navy after World War II in December 1945 when the formation of the US Eighth Fleet was activated as it was recognized that a numbered fleet was needed for the Atlantic” (Ref. 313C).
“Second Fleet's area of responsibility included approximately 6,700,000 square miles (17,000,000 km2) of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the Caribbean and from the shores of the United States to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Second Fleets West Coast counterpart was United States Third Fleet” (Ref.313C).
Area of Responsibility(2F)2009
“In times of crises and during certain exercises, Second Fleet becomes the Commander, Joint Task Force (120), one of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Joint Forces Command's joint commanders in the Atlantic theater. This joint task force consists of elements of the Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Army quick reaction airborne and air assault units, U.S. Air Force aircraft and support personnel, U.S. Marine Corps amphibious forces, and at times, designated units of the U.S. Coast Guard. When activated, Joint task Force 120 is tasked to execute a variety of contingency missions throughout the Joint Forces Command's area of responsibility. Second Fleet could also be ordered under certain contingencies in the Caribbean theater of operations to control similarly constructed forces as Joint Task Force 140” (Ref. 313CB).
Commander Task Force 20
“The Commander, Second Fleet (COMSECONDFLT), under the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (CUSFFC), was also designated as Commander, Task Force 20. CTF-20 planned for, and when directed, conducted battle force operations in the Atlantic command in support of designated unified or allied commanders. CTF-20 directed movements and exercised operational control of USFFC assigned units to carry out scheduled ocean transits and other special operations as directed, in order to maximize fleet operational readiness to respond to contingencies in the Atlantic command area of operations. In order to command and control its forces, CTF-20 maintained a Joint Maritime Operations Center at its Maritime Headquarters, which was officially said to offer a new approach to command and control for fleet commanders” (Ref. 313C & 313CA).
“During its existence, Second Fleet was responsible for training and certifying Atlantic Fleet units for forward deployment to other numbered fleets, primarily U.S. Fourth Fleet, U.S. Fifth Fleet, and U.S. Sixth Fleet. Second Fleet’s main training and certification venues were the Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMTUEX) and Joint Training Fleet Exercise (JTFEX), conducted off the eastern U.S. coast from Virginia to Florida. These exercises served as a ready-for-deployment certification events for Carrier Strike Groups, Amphibious Ready Groups, as well as independently deploying units.
Joint Task Force 120
In times of crisis and during certain exercises, Second Fleet became the Commander, Joint Task Force 120. This joint task force consists of elements of the Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Army quick reaction airborne and air assault units, U.S. Air Force aircraft and support personnel, U.S. Marine Corps amphibious forces, and at times, designated units of the United States Coast Guard. When activated, Joint Task Force 120 is tasked to execute a variety of contingency missions” (Ref. 313C).
“In October 1962, President John F. Kennedy called on Second Fleet to establish quarantine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. For more than a month, Second Fleet units operated northeast of the island, intercepting and inspecting dozens of ships for contraband” (Ref. 313CB).
“The operational control of the quarantine force was assigned to the Commander of the Second Fleet, Vice Admiral Alfred G. Ward, who organized Task Force 136 for this purpose” (Ref. 313B11).
“Task Force 136 included the support carrier USS Essex. Effective deployment constituted a mammoth task to be accomplished in minimum time. To prevent future difficulties, plans had to be developed, ship captains briefed, supply ships dispatched, and thousands of details checked. Other Navy and Marine forces faced similar tough schedules. Marines, if not already engaged in landing exercises, were loaded on amphibious ships and ordered to sea. At the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, dependents were evacuated to the United States on 22 October, and Marine units were shipped by air and sea to reinforce the base. Task Force 135, including the carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65), was sent to the south of Cuba, ready to join in the defense of the Guantanamo Bay base if needed. The carrier USS Independence (CV-62) and the supporting ships of Carrier Division Six stood by to provide additional support. Antisubmarine forces were redeployed to cover the quarantine operations. An intensive air surveillance of the Atlantic was initiated, keeping track of the 2,000 commercial ships usually in the area; regular and reserve Navy aircraft were joined in this search by SAC bombers.
Major exercises the fleet participated in during the Cold War included Exercise Mariner, Operation Strikeback in 1957, the maritime component of Exercise Reforger, and Northern Wedding” (Ref. 313C).
“In 1983, President Ronald Reagan ordered the COMSECONDFLT to the Caribbean to lead the invasion of Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury. Leading joint forces, COMSECONDFLT became Commander, Joint Task Force 120 (CJTF 120), and commanded units from the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps” (Ref. 313C).
“Leading joint forces, COMSECONDFLT became Commander, Joint Task Force 120 (CJTF 120), and commanded units from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, COMSECONDFLT trained more than half of the Navy ships deployed to Southwest Asia” (Ref. 313CB).
Desert Shield/Desert Storm
“During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Second Fleet trained more than half of the Navy ships deployed to Southwest Asia” (Ref. 313C & 313CD).
“In late 2002, Second Fleet disembarked its command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC-20)and reestablished itself in its headquarters building W-5 to allow Mount Whitney to deploy to the Horn of Africa (HOA) region in support of the Global War On Terror.
”In early 2004, seven months after Mount Whitney’s return from its HOA deployment, Second Fleet reembarked Mount Whitney and reclaimed her as the Second Fleet command ship. During its relatively short stay back aboard the flagship, Second Fleet conducted the two-week Combined Joint Task Force Exercise (CJTFEX) 04-2 (Operation Blinding Storm) in July 2004” (Ref. 313CD).
"JTFEX 08-4 "Operation Brimstone" Flexes Allied Force Training"
“More than 15,000 service members from four countries will participate in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 08-4 "Operation Brimstone", July 21-31 in North Carolina and off the eastern U.S. coast from Virginia to Florida.
JTFEX 08-4 serves as a ready-for-deployment certification event for the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TR CSG) and the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (IWO ESG). The exercise will also serve as a Joint Task Force Capable Headquarters sustainment event. In addition, JTFEX 08-4 will offer preliminary accreditation for 2nd Fleet's Maritime Headquarters with Maritime Operations Center (MHQ with MOC)). MHQ with MOC is a new approach to command and control for fleet commanders.
"This exercise is a tremendous opportunity to train; not only as the Navy and Marine Corps team, but with our joint and coalition partners as well," said Commander, 2nd Fleet Vice Adm. Marty Chanik.
"JTFEX 08-4 will flex our warfighting capabilities from the operational level through expeditionary strike force and strike group operations with several of our coalition partners France, Brazil and the United Kingdom."
The exercise also marks the first time that forces from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command are participating in an East-Coast JTFEX. NECC forces operating in the littorals and riverine environment are supporting integrated operations.
"Navy Expeditionary Combat Command provides a self-contained adaptive force package with a command element tailored to support the full spectrum of operations from major combat operations to unconventional and irregular warfare," said NECC commander Rear Adm. Mike Tillotson.
U.S. and coalition naval assets underway for the exercise include the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) with associated units including the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (RO-7), the Brazilian Navy frigate Greenhalgh (F-46) and the French submarine FS Amethyste (S-605). BNS Greenhalgh is the first Brazilian Navy ship to operate integrated in a U.S. strike group.
French Rafale fighter aircraft assigned to the 12th Squadron, and Hawkeye early warning aircraft assigned to the 4th Squadron will conduct carrier qualifications and cyclic flight operations with U.S. Carrier Air Wing 8 during Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group's Joint Task Force Exercise. This marks the first integrated U.S. and French carrier qualifications and cyclic flight operations aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier.
The TR CSG is made up of: USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71); Commander, Carrier Strike Group 2 (CCSG-2); Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8); Commander, Destroyer Squadron 22 (CDS-22); the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61); the guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG-87), and USS Nitze (DDG-94) homeported in Norfolk; the attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN-761) homeported in Groton, Conn.; and the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) homeported in Mayport, Fla.
The IWO ESG consists of USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7), Commander, Amphibious Squadron Four (CPR-4) based at Little Creek, Va.; the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU) based at Camp Lejune, N.C.; the amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio (LPD-17); guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72); and the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG-61), homeported in Norfolk; the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) homeported at Little Creek, Va.; the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG- 80) homeported in Mayport, Fla., and the attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN-768) homeported in Groton, Conn.
The Navy Expeditionary Combat Task Group (NECTG) is made up of: Riverine Group 1 staff augmented with personnel from throughout the NECC force, Riverine Squadron 1, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Ten, based in Jacksonville, Fla.; an air detachment from Naval Construction Forces Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 based in Gulfport, Miss.; Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 3, based in Alameda, Calif.), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 6 plus EOD Support Unit based at Little Creek, Va.
In addition, the following forces are participating in the exercise simulating opposition forces: the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64), homeported in Mayport, Fla.; the guided missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG-56), USS Anzio (CG-68) and USS Normandy (CG-60), the guided-missile destroyers USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79), USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81); and the guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG-52), all homeported in Norfolk "JTFEX 08-4 "Operation Brimstone" Flexes Allied Force Training." Story Number: NNS080715-21 - Release Date: 7/15/2008 5:17:00 PM - From Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs, NORFOLK (NNS)” (Ref. 313CA).
“Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKFLTLANT) is the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic's major subordinate at-sea commander. As such, COMSTRIKFLTLANT commands a multinational force whose primary mission is to deter aggression by establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in the Atlantic. By serving its mission, COMSTRIKFLTLANT can ensure the integrity of NATO's sea lines of communication. The composition of the force can be tailored to manage crisis situations as they evolve, providing support to aviation forces, as well as amphibious and marine forces. The Striking Fleet is composed of forces contributed by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom and the United States. In wartime, this force would likely consist of three to four carrier battle groups, one or two anti-submarine task forces, an amphibious task force and about 22,000 Dutch, British and American marines. The Striking Fleet's potent mix of sea-control and power projection gives this force a unique ability to carry out its missions at sea and to directly support Allied Command Europe land and air operations as required. NATO exercises are conducted periodically to ensure the interoperability of forces under realistic environmental conditions. The multinational exercises also help strengthen command and control procedures.
In addition to training U.S. forces and conducting operations in the Atlantic area of responsibility, COMSECONDFLT has a permanent assignment within NATO's Supreme Allied Command Atlantic chain of command as Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic. As such, Striking Fleet Atlantic, when assigned, commands a multinational force whose primary mission is to deploy a combined, joint task force to deter aggression and protect NATO interests. COMSTRIKFLTLANT (CSFL) works routinely with units and commands from all NATO nations.
To ensure allied forces operate effectively under realistic conditions, NATO exercises are conducted by CSFL at least once annually, and every U.S. Joint Task Force exercise includes some Allied participation and even NATO procedures. These exercises sharpen war-fighting skills and allow combined, joint forces to improve their ability for rapid deployment and employment of maritime, air and land forces. The exercises are based on generic scenarios and demonstrate alliance solidarity and strength as well as commitment to member nations.
CSFL is a fully integrated NATO headquarters staff, which numbers over 275 personnel. Included in this number are 28 multi-national officers from 12 NATO nations. They hold positions at various levels of the chain of command.
The staff is embarked aboard the command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC-20). One of the most capable C41 platforms afloat today, Mount Whitney is a communications rich, readily deployable, mobile and sustainable headquarters platform which provides the embarked Commander with the long reach to lead assigned forces. Capable of accommodating up to 1410 personnel, her comprehensive NATO and US C3 suite has been progressively upgraded to meet the requirements of joint and combined command at the operational level. Using NATO-specific systems and procedures is a routine matter at CSFL. During a recent NATO exercise, the Joint Operations Center was converted from 80 percent U.S. C2 systems to 75 percent NATO systems in only seven days.
Mount Whitney fulfills multiple national and NATO tasking and serves as NATO's Sea-based Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Headquarters platform. First proposed in 1994, NATO's CJTF Concept requires that a CJTF Commander and associated staff be capable of leading a CJTF composed of up to an army corps, NATO Expanded Task Force (NETF), comparably sized air forces and other components and forces. Three NATO Commands, Regional Command North, Regional Command South, and Striking Fleet Atlantic are designated as Parent CJTF HQs, tasked to have a trained, pre-designated core staff around which the CJTF HQ can be activated using augmentees drawn from an Alliance-wide pool. Only CSFL is designated as a Sea-based CJTF HQ, and Mount Whitney is identified as the HQ's prime command platform. Primarily designed for non-Article 5 Crisis Response Operations (CRO) outside Alliance territory (peace support, humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, non-combatant evacuation), a key element of the concept is to develop a capability to integrate Partner and other non-NATO nations into Alliance-led crisis operations. A CJTF could also be an option for Article 5 operations.
Deployment of the Mount Whitney could be achieved in as little as 72 hours given the necessary political will. Embarkation of some critical augmentees would provide a comprehensive short-term command and planning capability during transit while the main staff augmentation could be embarked at virtually any available port en route to the crisis area. Her inherent mobility, readiness and ability to move easily from within sight of a shoreline to over the horizon make the Mount Whitney the ideal NATO, political, and CJTF Commander's headquarters of choice in a rapidly developing crisis situation.
On scene within days, and sustainable for months, the CJTF Commander is optimally poised to transfer ashore from the Mount Whitney upon provision of suitable host nation support and adequate force protection, if the situation is stable and the move politically desirable. The CSFL staff could, if required, also serve as a Maritime Component Commander, directing all associated maritime units in a contingency operation. In addition, both the Land Component Commander and a Joint Force Air Component Commander can be - and have been - embarked aboard Mount Whitney. A powerful and flexible Bi-Strategic Commander asset, Mount Whitney supports the needs of the Alliance and can be assigned to either SACLANT or SACEUR” (Ref. 313CB).
“Until 2005, COMSECONDFLT had a permanent assignment with NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic's (SACLANT) chain-of-command, as the Commander Striking Fleet Atlantic (COMSTRIKFLTLANT). COMSTRIKFLTLANT commanded a multinational force whose primary mission was to deter aggression and to protect NATO's Atlantic interests. Establishing and maintaining maritime superiority in the Atlantic, COMSTRIKFLTLANT was tasked with ensuring the integrity of NATO's lines-of-communication at sea. On 22 February 2005/24 June 2005, with the establishment of Allied Command Transformation, and in the total absence of the Soviet threat that had prompted its creation, the Striking Fleet Atlantic nucleus was disbanded” Ref. 313CC & 313CB).
“It was replaced in 2006 by the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence” (Ref. 313C).
Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence
“In 2005 Second Fleet deactivated Striking Fleet Atlantic to support NATO transformation, and stood up the Combined Joint Operations from the Sea/Center of Excellence to continue to provide our unique expertise for maritime operations to our allies.
Today we are headquartered in a new building, D-29, with staff elements distributed onboard our flagship USS Wasp (LHD-1). We are equipped to serve as a Maritime headquarters with a Maritime Operation Center bringing unprecendented clarity and coordination to the maritime battlespace. We continue to shape joint warfighting capabilities from a command level as we prepare for our up-coming certification as a Joint Task Force headquarters” (Ref. 313CD).
Subordinate Task Forces
As CTF-20, Second Fleet oversaw several subordinate task forces, which were activated as needed.
“Additionally, Commander, Second Fleet was the immediate superior to a number of Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, Commander Strike Force Training Atlantic, as well as the Standing Navy Command Element (COMSTANDNAV CE), a deployable command element that has served multiple rotations as the headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa” (Ref. 313C).
Reduced area of responsibility
“On 1 July 2008, the Navy re-established the United States Fourth Fleet, based at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, which then assumed responsibility for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the Caribbean Sea and the waters of Central and South America:
Navy Re-Establishes U.S. Fourth Fleet
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the re-establishment of the U.S. Fourth Fleet and assigned Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, currently serving as commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, as its new commander. Fourth Fleet will be responsible for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
U.S. Fourth Fleet will be dual-hatted with the existing commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO), currently located in Mayport, Fla. U.S. Fourth Fleet has been re-established to address the increased role of maritime forces in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of operations, and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to regional partners.
“Re-establishing the Fourth Fleet recognizes the immense importance of maritime security in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere, and signals our support and interest in the civil and military maritime services in Central and South America,” said Roughead. “Our maritime strategy raises the importance of working with international partners as the basis for global maritime security. This change increases our emphasis in the region on employing naval forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests. “
Effective July 1, the command will have operational responsibility for U.S. Navy assets assigned from east and west coast fleets to operate in the SOUTHCOM area. As a result, U.S. Fourth Fleet will not involve an increase in forces assigned in Mayport, Fla. These assets will conduct varying missions including a range of contingency operations, counter narcoterrorism, and theater security cooperation (TSC) activities. TSC includes military-to-military interaction and bilateral training opportunities as well as humanitarian assistance and in-country partnerships.
U.S. Fourth Fleet will retain responsibility as NAVSO, the Navy component command for SOUTHCOM. Its mission is to direct U.S. naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies to shape the maritime environment.
Kernan will be the first Navy SEAL to serve as a numbered fleet commander.
For more information on U.S. Fourth Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, including the map of its area of responsibility, go to http://www.cusns.navy.mil” (Ref. 313C & 313CE).
“In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Second Fleet dispatched 17 ships, 48 helicopters, 12 fixed-wing aircraft and over 10,000 sailors and Marines in support of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response. Second Fleet units conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons (123,000 l; 27,000 imp gal) of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb (4,100 kg) of medical supplies. Hospital ship USNS Comfort, as well as survey vessels, ferries, elements of the Maritime_Prepositioning_ship and underway replenishment fleets, and a further three amphibious operations ships also participated” (Ref. 313C).
“During the evacuation of Hurricane Irene in August, 2011, the fleet evacuated to the safety of the open ocean” (Ref. 313C & 313CD).
“In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, on 12 January 2010, the Second Fleet dispatched 17 ships, 48 helicopters, 12 fixed-wing aircraft and over 10,000 sailors and Marines in support of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response. Second Fleet units conducted 336 air deliveries, delivered 32,400 US gallons (123,000 l; 27,000 imp gal) of water, 111,082 meals and 9,000 lb (4,100 kg) of medical supplies. Hospital ship USNS Comfort, as well as survey vessels, ferries, elements of the Maritime_Prepositioning_ship and underway replenishment fleets, and a further three amphibious operations ships also participated” (Ref. 313C).
“On August 21, 2010, it was reported that Secretary Robert Gates was considering disestablishing Second Fleet:
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ decision to close the Joint Forces Command has the backing of its former and incoming commanders and is likely to be approved by President Barack Obama before Sept. 1, according to a memo widely circulated to Hampton Roads elected officials Friday” (Ref. 313C & 313CE).
“On January 6, 2011, it was reported via a DoD news article that the Navy would disestablish Second Fleet in order to "use those savings and more to fund additional ships:
Joint Chiefs Fully Agree With Gates’ Efficiencies
The members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are fully behind Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ proposed efficiencies for the military, the nation’s top military officer said today.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that “the chiefs and I are in complete support of these decisions.”
The military leaders were integral to the process that looked for and found $154 billion in savings over the next five years, Mullen said.
“This is the second time we’ve been through this kind of review with the secretary, and it has been managed in the most inclusive, detailed and deliberate way,” he said. “He gave us broad guidance. We helped craft the specifics, and these are our decisions, too.”
The services will be able to reinvest the savings they found in higher-priority programs. All services will invest in more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. The Navy will disestablish the 2nd Fleet and will use those savings and more to fund additional ships. The Army will cancel a missile system and use the funds to refurbish armored vehicles and fund suicide prevention activities. The Air Force will consolidate three numbered Air Force staffs and use the savings to ensure U.S. access to space.
The secretary restructured the F-35 joint strike fighter program and agreed with the recommendation to eliminate the Marine Corps’ expeditionary fighting vehicle. The plan in the out years calls for a reduction in the size of the Army and Marine Corps.
The chairman often has said he sees the growth of the national debt as a security threat to the United States. The secretary’s efficiencies, reforms and budget proposals help the Defense Department to attack the debt situation, he said today.
“We can’t hold ourselves exempt from the belt-tightening,” he said. “Neither can we allow ourselves to contribute to the very debt that puts our long-term security at risk.”
The efficiencies aren’t solely about cutting or savings, the chairman said, but rather are about readiness.
“Not only do these reforms preserve essential capabilities -– which is the highest priority of this process -– but it will improve this process,” Mullen said. “We will do things smarter, more efficiently and more in line with the challenges we face and the fiscal environment we are in”” (Ref. 313C & 313CF).
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Special Report: Defense Efficiencies Initiative
Transcript: Gates, Mullen Briefing
News Release: DOD Announces $150 Billion Reinvestment
Video: Gates, Mullen Briefing
Video - Briefing Q&A
Gates Reveals Budget Efficiencies, Reinvestment Possibilities
“The fleet was officially dissolved in a ceremony at Norfolk on 30 September 2011” (Ref. 313C & 313CG).
“Second Fleet's responsibilities and its additional title of Commander, Task Force 20, were transferred to the re-organized United States Fleet Forces Command, as was the post of CJOS COE” (Ref. 313C).
United States Navy History, focusing on the Atlantic, 8th, 2nd and 4th Fleets
Part I (1778 to 1918)
Part II (1919 to 1989)
Part III (1990 to 2011)
Part IV (2nd, Fleet Forces Command & 4th Fleet
(8th and 2nd decommissioned)