Vice Adm. Phil Davidson addresses the crew of the destroyer Ramage in April. Davidson has been nominated as the next head of Fleet Forces Command. (Navy)
The 6th Fleet boss has been tapped to return to the states to helm the Norfolk-based Fleet Forces Command, the Defense Department announced Monday.
Vice Adm. Phil Davidson has been nominated to lead FFC, a position that comes with a fourth star. Once confirmed by the Senate, the 1982 Naval Academy grad and surface warfare officer will take the helm of a command comprising 100,000 sailors and civilians, roughly 85 ships — a third of the fleet — and more than 1,000 aircraft.
Davidson will be responsible set training standards across the force and will take the reins of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan. The latter will extend carrier strike group deployment cycle to 36 months to better maintain ships and return a measure of predictability back to deployments. Instead of a six-month float with 24-month turnaround, 85 percent of fleet sailors will see a standard eight-month cruise and time at home will be boosted to 68 percent.
Adm. Bill Gortney, who currently heads Fleet Forces Command, is the plan’s architect. He has been tapped to take over U.S. Northern Command.
Davidson has commanded the frigate Taylor, the cruiser Gettysburg, and the Eisenhower carrier strike group, according to his official bio. At the helm of U.S. naval forces in Europe, he most recently supported the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise June 6-21. It was the largest, multinational exercise to take place in the Baltic region this year and included 30 ships and 52 aircraft from 14 nations and NATO.
DoD on Monday also nominated Rear Adm. Dixon Smith to head Navy Installations Command, which oversees all naval bases and regions, a position that comes with a third star.