Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram held a meeting with U.S. Navy Second Fleet commanders onboard the USS Gerald R. Ford today, re-enforcing Norways commitment to NATO’s increased presence in the Arctic.
In August of 2018, the United States re-established the Second Fleet, responsible for the Atlantic Ocean from the Polar caps to the Caribbean. However, the re-establishment primarily assigned the Second Fleet to the North Atlantic where it is meant to counter an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. Currently the headquarters staff is less than 100 officers and enlisted men, but is planned to expand. Commander Second Fleet is dual-hatted as the Commander for Joint Force Command for the Atlantic that will report to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. This Joint Forces Command is formally known as Joint Force Command Norfolk.
This official visit from the Norwegian government had this to say:
”On Monday, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense visited the US Navy 2nd Fleet and NATO’s operational command (Joint Force Command) in Norfolk, USA. Both of these are responsible for the maritime activity in the North Atlantic and for the cooperation between the USA and Europe. These are two areas that are also of great importance to Norway.
The war in Ukraine has created a completely new security policy situation. Both the USA and Norway need a good overview and understanding of what activity is going on in Norway’s immediate areas. This is a common interest on which we cooperate well, says Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram.”
On August 1st, 2022, while addressing crowds in St. Petersburg on Navy Day, President Putin reiterated his desire to become the imminent power in the Arctic as the Arctic Sea Route begins to open for year round transits.