Navy’s 2nd Fleet is now operational, focused on the Arctic

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, center, announces the re-establishment of Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet during a change of command ceremony for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The ceremony took place aboard aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush at Naval Station Norfolk (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, center, announces the re-establishment of Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet during a change of command ceremony for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The ceremony took place aboard aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush at Naval Station Norfolk (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

NORFOLK — The U.S. Navy says its newly revived 2nd Fleet now has enough staff to command ships in the increasingly competitive waters of the Arctic region.

The Navy’s announcement on Wednesday follows statements by President Donald Trump’s administration this month that the U.S. won’t stand for aggressive moves in the region by Russia and China. The Arctic is rapidly opening up to commerce as warming temperatures melt sea ice.

The 2nd Fleet was reestablished last year and is based in Norfolk. The command oversees American warships as they deploy between the U.S. East Coast and the Barents Sea, off the coasts of Norway and Russia.

Fleet commander Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis said in Norfolk on Wednesday that the fleet’s role is “critically important” as Arctic shipping traffic continues to grow.

RELATED STORY: Change of command and new structure aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.