Navy's 2nd Fleet is now operational, focused on the Arctic

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Navy says its newly revived 2nd Fleet now has enough staff to command ships in the increasingly competitive waters of the Arctic region.

The Navy's announcement on Wednesday follows statements by President Donald Trump's administration this month that the U.S. won't stand for aggressive moves in the region by Russia and China. The Arctic is rapidly opening up to commerce as warming temperatures melt sea ice.

The 2nd Fleet was reestablished last year and is based in Norfolk, Virginia. The command oversees American warships as they deploy between the U.S. East Coast and the Barents Sea, off the coasts of Norway and Russia.

Fleet commander Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis said in Norfolk on Wednesday that the fleet's role is "critically important" as Arctic shipping traffic continues to grow.

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