United States Fleet Forces Command

United States Fleet Forces Command

United States Fleet Forces Command

United States Fleet Forces Command emblem
Logo of the Commander, USFLTFORCOM
Active 1906–present
Allegiance United States of America
Branch United States Navy
Type Theater Command
Part of United States Northern Command
Garrison/HQ Naval Station Norfolk, VA
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
Global War on Terrorism
ADM John C. Harvey, Jr.

The United States Fleet Forces Command (USFLTFORCOM) is an Atlantic Ocean theater-level component command of the United States Navy that provides naval resources that are under the operational control of the United States Northern Command. Originally formed as United States Atlantic Fleet (USLANTFLT) in 1906, it has been an integral part of the defense of the United States of America for most of the 20th century. In 2002, the Fleet comprised over 118,000 sailors and marines serving on 186 ships and in 1,300 aircraft, with an area of responsibility ranging over the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Central and South America (as far west as the Galapagos Islands). Its operational force (i.e., the formation of fighting ships) is Task Force 20 (TF 20). USFLTFORCOM is based at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

The command's mission is to organize, man, train, and equip Naval Forces for assignment to Unified Command Combatant commanders; to deter, detect, and defend against homeland maritime threats; and to articulate Fleet warfighting and readiness requirements to the Chief of Naval Operations.[1]



Roosevelt Administration

The Atlantic Fleet was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, at the same time as the Pacific Fleet, as protection for new bases in the Caribbean acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War. The Fleet was a combination of the North Atlantic Fleet and the South Atlantic Squadron.

The first commander of the fleet was Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, who hoisted his flag in the battleship Maine (BB-10) on 1 January 1906. The following year, he took his 16 battleships, now dubbed the Great White Fleet, on a round-the-world cruise that lasted until 1909, a goodwill tour that also served the purpose of advertising the United States' naval strength and reach to all other nations of the globe.

The Cruiser and Transport Force served in Atlantic waters during World War I moving the American Expeditionary Force to Europe. United States Battleship Division Nine joined the Grand Fleet in the UK.

The Atlantic Fleet was reorganized into the Scouting Force in 1923, which was under the United States Fleet along with the Pacific Fleet. In January 1939 the Atlantic Squadron, United States Fleet, was formed.[2] The aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) was transferred to the Atlantic Ocean, to join three battleships. Vice Admiral Alfred Wilkinson Johnson commanded the squadron.

On 1 November 1940 the Atlantic Squadron was renamed the Patrol Force. The Patrol Force was organized into type commands: Battleships, Patrol Force; Cruisers, Patrol Force; Destroyers, Patrol Force; and, Train, Patrol Force (the logistics arms).[2]

World War II

On 1 February 1941, the Atlantic Fleet was resurrected and organized from the Patrol Force. Along with the Pacific Fleet and Asiatic Fleet, the fleet was to be under the command of a full Admiral, which jumped the fleet's commander Ernest J. King from a two-star to a four-star. King's flagship was Texas (BB-35).

Subsequently, the headquarters was in a rather odd assortment of ships; the Augusta (CA-31), then the old wooden ship Constellation, Vixen (PG-53), and then Pocono (AGC-16). In 1948, the HQ moved into the former naval hospital at Norfolk, Virginia, and has remained there ever since.

On 7 December 1941 the Fleet comprised eight separate components. Battleships, Atlantic Fleet was made up of Battleship Division Three (BB-40 New Mexico, BB-41 Mississippi and BB-42 Idaho) and Battleship Division Five (a training division made up of the older battleships BB-34 New York, BB-35 Texas, and BB-33 Arkansas. The other components were Aircraft, Atlantic Fleet, which included Carrier Division Three with USS Ranger (CV-4) and USS Wasp (CV-7), and additionally Yorktown and Long Island; Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet, Patrol Wings, Atlantic Fleet (Patrol Wings 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9); Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet,[3] Submarines Atlantic Fleet; Train, Atlantic Fleet, and Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet (PHIBLANT, COMPHIBLANT).[4] During World War II "Transports, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet" was part of this command (ComTransPhibLant). Smaller units included the Antisubmarine Development Detachment, Atlantic Fleet (ASDEVLANT) located at Quonset Point, Rhode Island.[5] The detachment was responsible for the study and development of antisubmarine gear during World War II. The Commander of the detachment was known as COMASDEVLANT.

Admiral King was appointed Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, on 20 December 1941. Rear Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll was designated, with the rank of Vice Admiral, to relieve him as Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.[6] He took command on 1 January 1942, and was advanced to the rank of Admiral on 1 July 1942. To carry out this mission and other tasks CinCLant had in the meantime been reorganized, as of 1 March 1941, into ten task forces (commanded by flag officers) numbered from one to ten and named according to their intended employment. Task Force One was the Ocean Escort Force, TF2--Striking Force, TF3--Scouting Force, TF4--Support Force, TF5--Submarine Force, TF6--Naval Coastal Frontier Forces, TF7--Bermuda Force, TF8--Patrol Wings, TF9--Service Force, and Task Force 10, 1st Marine Division (commanded by a Brigadier General).

Cold War

On 1 January 1946, Commander Minesweeping Forces, Atlantic Fleet (ComMinLant) was activated to command minesweepers assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. The Commander, Mine Forces, Atlantic was responsible for all Fleet minecraft operations. Units under his command were divided into Minesweeping Squadrons (MinRon)s.

Between 1947 and 1985, the fleet command was a concurrent appointment with the United States Atlantic Command. The Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) was traditionally a Navy four-star admiral who also then held the positions of Commander-in-Chief United States Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). But after a major reorganization of the U.S. armed forces structure following the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1985, CINCLANFLT was separated from the two other billets. The admiral commanding the Atlantic Fleet was designated as the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Command until 1986.

Major crises the Atlantic Fleet was involved in during the Cold War included the 1965 United States occupation of the Dominican Republic[7] and the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. From late 1960s, nuclear ballistic missile submarines of the fleet began to make thousands of deterrent patrols.[citation needed] The first patrol in the Atlantic Fleet area of operations was made by USS George Washington.[citation needed]

Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic was formed on 1 July 1975, incorporating a number of previous separate smaller commands - mines, service, destroyers, etc.

21st Century

On 1 October 2001, the Chief of Naval Operations designated Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) as concurrent Commander, Fleet Forces Command (COMFLTFORCOM or CFFC for short).

On 24 October 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld directed that the title of "Commander in Chief" be reserved solely for the President of the United States. In a message to Naval Commanders in Chief, the Chief of Naval Operations directed a change of title to that of "Commander." Accordingly, the title of Commander in Chief was discontinued and the title of Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMLANTFLT) was established. The title of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was therefore in continuous use from February 1941 through October 2002.

In the CNO Guidance for 2003, Admiral Vernon Clark stipulated that the terms Carrier Battle Groups (CVBG) and Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARG) would be replaced by Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESGs), respectively, by March 2003. The goal for this new initiative was to achieve more effectively produced naval capability in a more efficient organizational structure.

Under this initiative, Cruiser-Destroyer (CRUDESGRU) and Carrier Groups (CARGRU) were designated as Carrier Strike Groups (CSG) and aligned directly under the numbered fleet commanders. CARGRU and CRUDESGRU staffs were formerly under the administrative authority of their respective air and surface type commanders (TYCOM). This realignment allowed key operational leaders authority and direct access to the personnel required to more effectively accomplish the Navy’s mission. All carrier strike groups are ultimately subordinate to Fleet Forces Command.

The numbered fleet commanders are now responsible for the training and certification of the entire Strike Group. The organizational structure to support the Carrier Strike Groups focuses more on placing Strike Group commanders under the authority of the certifying officer, or the numbered fleet commander. Under this new division of responsibility, the air-side type commander gains authority over the air wing, and the surface-side type commander gains authority over the carrier itself and the rest of the ships of the battle group.

On 23 May 2006, the Chief of Naval Operations renamed COMLANTFLT to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM), ordered to carry out the missions currently performed by COMFLTFORCOM and serve as primary advocate for fleet personnel, training, requirements, maintenance, and operational issues, reporting administratively directly to the CNO as an Echelon 2 command. The previous title CFFC was disestablished at the same time.[8] CUSFFC also serves as the Naval component of US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). CFFC is also assigned as the supporting service component commander to Commander, United States Northern Command as well as to CDR US Strategic Command.

On 24 July 2009, Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr. relieved Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert as Commander.[9]

News reports in July 2011 said that in connection with the dissolution of the United States Second Fleet, Fleet Forces Command would take over Second Fleet's duties on September 30, 2011.[10]

Subordinate Commands


See also


  1. ^ Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Mission
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Navy, Battleships, A Short History". http://www.navy.mil/navydata/ships/battleships/bbhistory.asp. Retrieved 24 December 2007. 
  3. ^ DesLant
  4. ^ Orbat.com/Niehorster, http://www.orbat.com/site/ww2/drleo/013_usa/_41_usn/_usn.html
  5. ^ This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  6. ^ HyperWar, http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/Admin-Hist/USN-Admin/USN-Admin-4.html, accessed April 2011
  7. ^ Naval Historical Center, Caribbean Tempest: The Dominican Republic Intervention of 1965, accessed August 2010
  8. ^ A Brief History Of The U.S. Fleet Forces Command
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ http://www.wvec.com/news/military/Navys-Fleet-Forces-Command-taking-over-Second-Fleet-duties-124880344.html
  11. ^ ABOUT COMNAVSURFLANT, accessed August 2010

Further reading

External links

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