The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMLANTFLT)
Commander, Fleet Forces Command (CFFC)
Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic (CINCLATFLT)
Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic (SACLANT)

The U.S. Atlantic Fleet provides fully trained, combat ready forces to support United States and NATO commanders in regions of conflict throughout the world. From the Adriatic Sea to the Arabian Gulf, Atlantic Fleet units respond to National Command Authority tasking. Recent conflicts involving Atlantic Fleet units include Operation Allied Force in the Adriatic Sea and Operation Desert Fox in the Arabian Gulf.

The Atlantic Fleet consists of over 118,000 Sailors and Marines, 186 ships and 1,300 aircraft. Additionally, there are 18 major shore stations providing training, maintenance and logistics support, as well as support to Navy and Marine Corps families. The Atlantic Fleet area of responsibility encompasses a massive geographic area including the area of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the South Pole, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean waters from Central and South America to the Galapagos Islands. Additionally, the area includes the Norwegian, Greenland and Barents Seas, and the waters around Africa extending to the Cape of Good Hope.

The operational fleet in the Atlantic Fleet is 2nd Fleet. They are responsible for operational tasking as well as training carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups for forward deployments overseas. Atlantic Fleet forces are supported by type commanders responsible for readiness support, logistics support and administrative management. The type commanders include air, surface, submarine and Marine forces for the Atlantic Fleet, each headquartered in Norfolk. Va.

From 1 February 1991 to 17 February 2000, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was the naval component commander for the unified Commander in Chief, U.S. Southern Command, assuming responsibility for all U.S. Navy operational and training matters in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility. On 17 February 2000, these responsibilities were reassigned to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (formerly Commander, South Atlantic Force), assuming naval component commander duties for the unified USSOUTHCOM. However, COMUSNAVSO does not have any permanently assigned afloat forces, CINCLANTFLT, at the direction of USJFCOM (formerly USCINCLANT), remains the major force provider for USNAVSO for forces attached in support of USSOUTHCOM operations and exercises.

On 1 June 1992, the Commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet became the naval component commander for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Strategic Command, assuming responsibility for all U.S. Navy operational and training matters under USSTRATCOM.

While providing combat ready forces to theater commanders in the world's hotspots is a primary responsibility, the Atlantic Fleet also joins NATO forces in supporting the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, a permanent squadron of destroyers and frigates representing NATO forces in the Atlantic Region. Additionally, Atlantic Fleet units participate annually in UNITAS, a deployment to South America. This yearly deployment creates unique training opportunities with South American Navies and spreads goodwill to our South American allies.

The Atlantic Fleet is also working to further regionalize its shore infrastructure management through three Regional Commanders (New London, Norfolk and Jacksonville). Additionally, a comprehensive review of afloat forces' workload and training has been chartered by CNO to reduce the demands placed upon Navy people during their Interdeployment Training Cycle (IDTC). On a daily basis, a significant portion of the Atlantic Fleet is either deployed overseas, conducting underway exercises in preparation for deployment or is involved in another phase of the IDTC. Recent joint initiatives between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets have led to a major change in the way business is conducted for surface ships and aircraft squadrons in the IDTC. Many inspections and administrative requirements have been eliminated or reduced in order to provide flexibility to unit commanders.

Adding to the new direction the Atlantic Fleet has been heading is a focus on new concepts like "Smart Ship", "Smart Work" and "Smart Tool". Each are unique management approaches and applications of technology encouraging leadership to maximize the professionalism of their team while enhancing the professional experience of Atlantic Fleet Sailors.

Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic

In the early 1950s, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) decided to establish a new major command, that of Allied Command, Atlantic under the command of a U.S. four-star admiral with headquarters in Norfolk, VA. Since this was primarily a naval command responsible for allied defense of the North Atlantic, the decision was made to colocate this organization with that of the U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet, to form a tri-hatted command. On 10 April 1952, Admiral Lynde D. McCormick, USN, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet, assumed the title as the first Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic. Like the U.S. Atlantic Command, the Allied Command, Atlantic, remained intact and part of a tri-hatted command organization until a Congressionally mandated reorganization of the U.S. Armed Forces occurred in 1985, which separated command of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet from the other two commands with its own four-star admiral. Admiral Wesley L. McDonald, USN, was the last U.S. Navy admiral to command all three organizations at the same time. He relinquished command of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost, USN, on 4 October 1985.

However, under the 1985 reorganization of the U.S. Armed Forces, the admiral filling the post of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, would also fill the position of Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. This role for CINCLANTFLT continued until the Secretary of Defense, in 1986, approved a separate billet for the Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. On 16 September 1986, Admiral Frank B. Kelso II, USN, relinquished the Deputy USCINCLANT post to Major General Thomas G. Darling, USAF.

Commander Fleet Forces Command (CFFC)

On 1 October 2001, CNO designated CINCLANTFLT as Commander Fleet Forces Command (CFFC). CFFC is responsible for coordinating, establishing and implementing integrated requirements and policies for manning, training, and equipping Atlantic and Pacific Fleet units during the inter-deployment training cycle.

Effective 01 October 2001, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark announced that the Navy took the next step in aligning the fleet to more effectively achieve its primary mission: to carry American sovereignty to the four corners of the world, to defend America's interests and to fight and win, should deterrence fail. The most significant element of this initiative was to establish Commander, U.S. Fleet Command (CFFC) as a concurrent responsibility of Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT). CFFC is responsible for overall coordination, establishment and implementation of integrated requirements and policies for manning, equipping and training Atlantic and Pacific fleet units during the inter-deployment training cycle (IDTC). The policies and requirements will achieve standard fleet-wide practices on both coasts. The objective is that there's not one ounce of difference in the way these units work. The standards that were used to create a trained and ready product were the same regardless of where that training was conducted.

To support CFFC in this task, type commanders (TYCOM) within each warfare community became the commanders of Naval Surface Force Pacific, Naval Air Force Pacific and Submarine Force Atlantic. They assumed concurrent duties as fleet TYCOMS, known as Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR); Commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR); and Commander, Naval Submarine Forces (COMNAVSUBFOR). These fleet TYCOMs lead their communities and advise CFFC of vital issues such as modernization needs, training initiatives, and operational concept development. They provide guidance to their respective forces via the existing lead-follow TYCOM arrangement. CFFC is also supported by Commander, 3rd Fleet, who reports on issues pertaining to the development and implementation of IDTC requirements and policies for West Coast naval units.

The Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) in Newport, RI, reports to CFFC as its immediate superior, for purposes of warfare innovation, concept development, fleet and joint experimentation, and the synchronization and dissemination of doctrine. NWDC will continue to report to the Naval War College in the process of concept development and to the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs on issues pertaining to Navy transformation, and the development of warfare requirements and programs. This strengthened fleet and CNO-directed relationship will allow NWDC to expand its leading role in Navy experimentation and transformation.

Commander, Fleet Forces Command is taking the lead in organizing the Navy's Homeland security effort.


The United States Atlantic Fleet was established under one command in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Fleet concept came into being following the Spanish-American War when new bases acquired in the Caribbean and the Pacific were considered useless unless protected by an adequate fleet. President Roosevelt placed great emphasis on naval readiness for war. During his first administration, from 1901 to 1905, authorization was obtained from Congress for 10 new battleships, four armored cruisers and 17 smaller craft. All battleships were assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and all armored cruisers and lighter cruisers were assigned to the newly created Pacific Fleet.

The first Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet was Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans, who assumed command on 1 January 1906 aboard his flagship the battleship USS MAINE (BB 10). In December 1907, Rear Admiral Evans led the fleet of 16 first line battleships out of Hampton Roads on the start of the famous world cruise of the Great White Fleet (1907-1909). President Roosevelt witnessed the departure from his yacht MAYFLOWER. This ceremonious Fleet Review served as a highlight of the Jamestown Exposition, then being held at the site of the present Norfolk Naval Station.

History indicates a continuous use of the title "Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet" from 1906 until 1923 and again from 1941 to the present. In a reorganization of the United States Fleet in 1923, that title was abolished and the title Commander Scouting Force was used. On 1 February 1941, General Order 143 reestablished the title and reorganized the United States Fleet into three separate fleets (Atlantic, Pacific and Asiatic). The Order further stated each fleet would be under the command of a full admiral. Thus, on 1 February 1941, Rear Admiral Ernest J. King, in his flagship USS TEXAS (BB 35) at Culebra, Puerto Rico, hauled down his two-star flag and hoisted his four-star flag as Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

From April 1941 to April 1948, four flagships served as Headquarters for the Commander in Chief: USS AUGUSTA (CA 31) from April 1941 to January 1942; the historic spar-decked corvette/sloop USS CONSTELLATION (launched in 1855) from January 1942 to August 1942; USS VIXEN (PG 53) from August 1942 to May 1946; and USS POCONO (AGC 16) from May 1946 to April 1948. On 5 April 1948, the Headquarters moved ashore into spaces of the former U.S. Navy Hospital, Norfolk, where it has remained.

After the end of World War II, the organization of the United States Armed Forces was reviewed with a view toward reorganization after the turbulent war years. On 1 December 1947, under a reorganization act of the Armed Forces approved by Congress, the unified United States Atlantic Command was established, with headquarters colocated to those of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Thus Admiral William H.P. Blandy, USN, the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, became the first Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, a title that remained dual-hatted (and would later become triple-hatted) until another reorganization of the Armed Forces in 1985 (the Goldwater-Nichols Act) separated the U.S. Atlantic Command from the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:57:01 ZULU