New NATO Naval Command will Counter Russia in the Atlantic

Amid rising tensions with Russia, the Pentagon has launched a new naval command to bolster the US and NATO presence in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and the US Navy has re-established its Second Fleet command

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Reymundo A. Villegas III

The Pentagon on Friday announced the official launch of a new naval command and the reactivation of the US Second Fleet to bolster the US and NATO presence in the Atlantic Ocean.

"The return to great power competition and a resurgent Russia demands that NATO refocus on the Atlantic to ensure dedicated reinforcement of the continent and demonstrate a capable and credible deterrence effect,” said Johnny Michael, a Pentagon spokesman, adding the new NATO command "will be the linchpin of trans-Atlantic security."

According to The Guardian, the decision reflects escalating worries across Europe and within NATO over Russia’s increased military presence and patrols in the Atlantic region.

Under the new plan, the US will set up NATO’s new Atlantic Command headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. Outlines of the plan were approved at the February meeting of NATO defense ministers as part of a broader effort to ensure the security of the sea lanes and lines of communication between Europe and North America. NATO also created a new logistics command, which is expected to be located in Germany.

At the same time, the US Navy is re-establishing its Second Fleet command, which was merged with the Navy's Fleet Forces command in 2011 to cut costs. The command will oversee ships, aircraft and landing forces on the east coast and the northern Atlantic Ocean, and will be responsible for training forces and conducting maritime operations in the region.