The US Navy is returning to a Cold War submarine flash point, but the real action may much farther north

US Navy/Mass Comm. Specialist 2nd Class Bobby Siens The US and its allies are reassessing their naval operations around Europe and in the Atlantic.

These changes are driven in large part by intensifying Russian submarine activity.

But changing capabilities mean NATO may have to look farther north to establish a deterrent.

Units from the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group returned home to Norfolk, Virginia, this week, only three months after deploying.

On April 14, 2018, the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 765) launched tomahawk missiles from the Mediterranean Sea as part of a multi-national strike operation against the Syrian government in order to degrade the Syrian government’s capability to produce and utilize chemical weapons. The submarine’s operations in the Mediterranean Sea are part of a routine deployment in support of our regional allies and partners and U.S. national security interests.(U.S. Navy)

Media: Daily Press

The Truman’s time at sea was only about half as long as typical deployments, and the early return reflects the Pentagon’s shift toward "dynamic force employment," a concept touted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as a way to make the military more responsive to emerging threats.

"The National Defense Strategy directs us to be operationally unpredictable while remaining strategically predictable," US Navy Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Christopher Grady said a release announcing the return to port, which he said was "a direct reflection of the dynamic force employment concept and the inherent maneuverability and flexibility of the US Navy."

Grady said the carrier group "had an incredibly successful three months in the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility," an area that stretches from pole to pole between the mid-Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Wikimedia Commons However, the Truman and its accompanying vessels finished their time at sea much closer to home — in the western Atlantic closer to Canada than to Europe, according to USNI News.

That area falls under the responsibility of Fleet Forces Command but will soon become the remit of the US Second Fleet, which was reestablished earlier this year amid growing concern about Russian naval activity in and around the Atlantic Ocean.

The cruiser Normandy and destroyers Forrest Sherman and Arleigh Burke are set to return to Norfolk this week, while the destroyers Bulkeley and Farragut remain at sea, a Navy official told The Virginian-Pilot . An official with Fleet Forces Command did not return a request seeking details about what operations these ships have been performing. But anti-submarine operations have become a bigger priority for the US and its allies.

The Truman’s anti-submarine capabilities are limited to the helicopters it carries, but the strike group did deploy earlier this year with more destroyers than usual.

Those ships are outfitted with sophisticated anti-submarine-warfare assets that aren’t typically used in the Atlantic, Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a former submariner, told USNI News in June . Operating in the Atlantic would give carrier strike groups opportunities to carry out high-end exercises with partner forces, […]

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