- The newly established US Second Fleet remains set to achieve full operational capability (FOC) by the end of 2019
- This will include being certified to operate as a forward-deployed expeditionary command headquarters
The US Second Fleet remains set to achieve full operational capability (FOC) in 2019, reaching this milestone by the end of December, Second Fleet commander Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis told Jane's .
The Norfolk, Virginia-based Second Fleet was formally re-established on 24 August 2018. It reached initial operational capability (IOC) in May 2019, before commanding its first exercise - 'BALTOPS', in the Baltic Sea in June - as a major milestone in its operational command validation process.
"We have the capability now; it's just a [question] of capacity," Vice Adm Lewis told Jane's .
Several milestones in the process will be achieved in the coming months. "One is operating as an expeditionary forward headquarters [HQ] with a 'reach-back'," he said. This means part of the fleet's HQ remaining in Norfolk or elsewhere on the US east coast, with the expeditionary part forward deployed with required command-and-control (C2) capability but having "an ability to reach back to that rear HQ for planning or more detailed intelligence that we have access to inside the HQ".
Such forward-deployed expeditionary command capability is also scalable, the admiral explained. "BALTOPS was … confirmation of that expeditionary capability. It was really a relocation of the entire operational HQ. That's on the high end, I would say, of scalability. The low end would be something as few as maybe two dozen people, where you have [the] ability to do basic C2, provide basic indicators and warnings and overall situational awareness, and issue orders and issue plans and change the plans from that location, [but] with a 'reach-back' capability," he continued.
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