A new focus by the US military on the North Atlantic has sent a powerful message. However, the US Navy fleet that has been positioned in that area also risks a major international incident. The Department of Defense announced last week that the venerable and historic Second Fleet would be resuming patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. The move by the Pentagon is an indication of the cratering relationship between Russia and the United States. The move also signifies a return of the great power politics in the North Atlantic region.
The Second Fleet acts as a defensive deterrence in the Atlantic Ocean for anyone who is approaching the continental United States. The fleet was decommissioned back in 2011 by the Obama administration. President Obama said that the disestablishment of the Second Fleet was aimed at saving money and freeing up millions of dollars that would be channeled in the construction of new combat ships. The decision, however, was a short-sighted one in the eyes of the far-right legislators. The revamped fleet will comprise of more than 300 Navy and Marine Corps officers and thousands of enlisted men and women.
The primary role of the re-established command would be to train the Atlantic Fleet to keep them battle-ready at all times. Most importantly, the command will be tasked with conducting military operations to maintain world peace and stability. These operations will include the search for hostile vessels that will be approaching the United States Coast from the Atlantic Ocean. However, this turn events say a lot about the maritime strategy of the US military and Washington’s relations with Moscow. First, the move shows a need for a response to new geographic imperatives and threats to the maritime integrity of the US. For over 300 years, the US has enjoyed the vast buffer between them and continental Europe.
During both the First and the Second World Wars, the United States and the allied powers had to fight tooth and nail to gain control of the high seas, especially in the Northern Atlantic. Germany used the U-2 submarines in their unrestricted submarine warfare to cut off supplies of troops and equipment from the United States to her allies in Europe. During the height of the Cold War, both the US and the Soviet Union played cat and mouse games in supremacy battles on who controlled the Atlantic Ocean. These two powers tested each other’s naval might and prepared for an all-out war for the Atlantic Ocean.