US Reactivates Second Fleet to Counter Growing Chinese, Russian Activity in the Atlantic
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Chinese military vessels are now operating in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Navy’s top admiral told the Voice of America in a recent exclusive interview. At the same time, “Russian submarines are prowling those same waters at a pace not seen since the end of the Cold War,” Chief of Staff of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said.
Richardson called China’s military movements from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean “a new dynamic” that makes the Chinese navy a global force “ready and capable” of operating wherever Beijing wants it to go.
“In terms of a naval threat to the U.S.,” Richardson called the Chinese navy “a pacing competition” seeking parity with the U.S. Navy.
Russian Sub Activities in East Coast Waters an Increasing Threat
Richardson told VOA’s Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb that the Chinese operations are not as threatening to the East Coast, but the increasing Russian submarine activity is a danger. “We’re talking about more [activity] than we’ve seen in 25 years,” he said.
As a result, on July 1, the Pentagon reactivated the U.S. Second Fleet based in Norfolk, Virginia, to secure the Atlantic waters along the East Coast.
Admiral Richardson to Command Second Fleet and NATO Join Forces Command Norfolk
Richardson will preside over the fleet’s formal re-establishment ceremony in Norfolk on August 24. As the 2nd Fleet commander, the admiral will also head NATO’s Joint Forces Command Norfolk.
The dual-hat command structure will enable the U.S. and its allies to work together in confronting the increasing Russian challenge, Richardson explained. He cited the importance of staying ahead of Russian electronic jamming devices, which U.S. sailors have “absolutely” encountered while operating in international waters.
“This is an emerging part of our business now,” he told VOA.
“Those disruptive technologies…are really going to be decisive in the future fight, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re investing in those as well,” Richardson said.