By Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Sheppard, U.S. 2nd Fleet
In the cavernous three-story Maritime Operations Center, amidst a sea of television monitors and projection screens, a mass of uniforms gathers huddled around a cluster of desks. Interspersed throughout the crowd of mostly U.S. Navy uniforms are a smattering of Marines and a few livelier uniforms from France, the U.K, and Norway.
“Standby,” is anonymously called and all conversation ceases. Everyone stands in quiet anticipation for the arrival of the admiral who is leading the briefing. “Attention on deck,” rings out and everyone snaps to rigid attention.
In walks the admiral, not dressed in the uniform of a U.S. Navy Sailor, but in that of a Royal Canadian Navy Rear Admiral. He is U.S. 2nd Fleet’s vice commander, and the fact that he is a part of 2nd Fleet’s chain of command represents the commitment that the U.S. Navy has not only to its mission, but to its partners who are vital to accomplishing that mission.
When U.S. 2nd Fleet was reestablished on Aug. 24, 2018, it was done with the vision to create a force that was able to confront the very real resurgence of great power competition in the North Atlantic and Arctic. The U.S. Navy recognized early that relying on allies and partners in the Arctic region would be key to confronting future threats. To that end, 2nd Fleet has taken the unusual step of integrating officers from allied nations directly into the fleet’s staff. Chief among the five…