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Navy, Army Commands Reflect, Support National Defense Strategy

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Last week’s ceremonies re-establishing the Navy’s 2nd Fleet in Norfolk, Virginia, and standing up the Army’s Futures Command in Austin, Texas, illustrate aspects of the National Defense Strategy.

The stand up of 2nd Fleet, under the command of Navy Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, represents “the United States and the United States Navy’s dynamic response to a dynamic security environment,” said Navy Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of naval operations. The CNO spoke aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in Norfolk.

“Our nation and Navy are once again being challenged at sea,” Navy Adm. Christopher Grady, the commander of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, said at the ceremony. “Our sea control and our power projection — two vital elements of our national security — are being challenged by resurgent powers — namely Russia and China — both seeking to supplant the United States as partner of choice among free and prosperous nations.”

New Security Environment


In this new security environment, Russia is a competitor and must be deterred, officials said. Studying the problem that Russia poses to the international order means understanding “what is called for in response to that environment, [and] to meet that environment at the relevant levels of speed, capability and capacity,” Richardson said. “It will require every ounce of our tenacity, ingenuity and fighting spirit to focus on this mission and focus on how we can best accomplish the mission. The 2nd Fleet will be our spearhead for doing that in the Atlantic.”

The National Defense Strategy stresses that the United States and Russia are competing once again, Richardson said. The U.S. Navy, he said, operates “from the sea floor to the stars and in the information domain” to deter crises and to peacefully resolve them.

“But make no mistake, if deterrence fails our fleet — 2nd Fleet included — will conduct decisive combat operations and bring them to a quick close,” Richardson said.

The 2nd Fleet is charged to “embrace every avenue to gain and maintain our competitive advantage — to maintain our maritime superiority,” he said.

The Army’s Futures Command is another side to the defense strategy coin.

Army Gen. John M. Murray took the reins of this entirely different type of command for the service in Austin, Aug. 24. Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said the command will focus on meeting the challenges entailed with facing near-peer competitors.

The command will modernize the force by reforming the current acquisition system, and unifying the modernization enterprise under a single command, Esper said.

“Maintaining the Army’s overmatch requires a major shake-up in how we prepare for future combat,” the secretary said, adding: “We are bringing our Army’s entire modernization enterprise under one roof — Army Futures Command.”

Esper continued, “The command will provide unity of effort and unity of command to the entire modernization process. It will synchronize the disparate elements and sets of entities to achieve a common purpose.”

Developing Army’s Future Warfighting Concepts

The command, he added, will also develop the Army’s future warfighting concepts, and generate innovative solutions through research and development.

“[The command] will ensure that we get our soldiers the weapons and equipment they need to fight and win,” Esper said.

The secretary said he likes the idea that Futures Command is not located on a traditional military base. “To do this right, we needed to immerse ourselves in an environment where innovation occurs at speeds far faster than our current process allows,” Esper said.

Army Futures Command’s location in downtown Austin allows the command to tap into top-tier academic talent, cutting-edge industry and an innovative private sector, he said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

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