US 2nd Fleet achieves initial operational capability ahead of Baltops

The US Navy’s 2nd Fleet has declared the command has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), less than one year after being re-established by senior military leaders and just in time to lead one of the largest exercises in the Baltics.

Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet, observes flight operations on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Photo: US Navy

The IOC was declared on May 29, in an announcement by Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, commander, US 2nd Fleet, onboard Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

Norfolk is the waterfront homeport of many 2nd Fleet maritime assets.

“The North Atlantic has some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and with the opening of waterways in the Arctic, this traffic will only grow,” Lewis said. “This is a fact acknowledged by both our allies and competitors, and as such, it is critically important US 2nd Fleet reinvigorates the way our forces are employed in this influential theater.”

A few days after achieving IOC, the new Fleet will lead exercise Baltic Operations (Baltops), marking the first time the Fleet will operate in the European theater.

The two-week exercise is starting on June 7 with some 50 naval assets expected to join the maneuvers.

“Baltops 2019 is our collective opportunity to promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration, interoperability, and an unambiguous display of strength in the Baltic region,” Lewis said. “As an alliance, increasing our capabilities across all-domains as well as building a command-wide network will give us the ability to deter aggression and project stability.”