Citing increased military threats from Russia and China, Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite told lawmakers in December of plans to resurrect U.S. Atlantic Fleet and U.S. 1st Fleet.
But whether those initiatives will carry on into 2021 and President-elect Joe Biden’s Pentagon remains to be seen.
At a Senate hearing, Braithwaite explained plans to stand up U.S. 1st Fleet at the nexus of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Such a move would lighten the load for the Japan-based U.S. 7th Fleet and continue the regional alliance-building that Navy leaders see as crucial to countering Beijing’s ascendance in the region.
He envisions an expeditionary command initially, until the Navy can find a nation willing to host 1st Fleet.
On the U.S. East Coast, Braithwaite announced plans to rechristen U.S. Fleet Forces Command as U.S. Atlantic Fleet, a change that would orient the commander of East Coast-based ships toward an emerging Russian threat in the Atlantic Ocean and the far north.
Little more has been announced for either command, and service secretaries serve at the pleasure of the president. So whether Braithwaite’s vision will carry over into next year remains to be seen.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.