U.S. Navy Fleet Will Deploy to Combat Russia's Resurgence

With a resurgent Russia, the U.S. announced Friday that it will re-establish a fleet of its Navy that it abolished nearly seven years ago as a cost-cutting measure.

The U.S. Navy’s Second Fleet will be sent to the North Atlantic Ocean again, as the Pentagon plots ways to combat Russia’s revanchist tendencies. According to the Pentagon, the Second Fleet will now have operational and administrative control over ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and the northern Atlantic Ocean.

“Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said on Friday.

The U.S. National Defense Strategy for 2018 called attention to Moscow’s forays into neighboring territories and stated that “Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors.”

Late last year, U.S. allies said Russia was patrolling the North Atlantic and may be looking to cut underwater Internet cables for espionage or sabotage purposes. Officials in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. claimed that Russia’s activities in the North Atlantic were more prevalent than at any time since the Cold War.  

“We have seen an extraordinary increase in Russian submarine activity over the last couple of years in the North Atlantic,” U.K. Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told the British House of Commons last year.

Viktor Chirkov, the head of the Russian Navy, has publicly said that the number of Russian submarine patrols have increased by around 50 percent over the past five years as Moscow extended its military activities into neighboring Ukraine and later Syria. Russian ships and submarines often travel through the North Sea on their way to the Western Mediterranean as a result of Moscow’s involvement in Syria.