The Navy is returning the 4th fleet to service. Set to control the Caribbean and South American AOR, the 4th fleet has an opportunity to really define the methods of operation in the “green water navy” that we increasingly find ourselves. While I personally would not characterize this as a green water navy, since I reserve that term for our riverine forces, 4th fleet is definitely going to be concerned with littoral operations and activities that are most decidedly NOT open ocean in the traditional sense.
The folks over at Information Dissemination have a good write-up here:
Based on our observations of previous deployments for SOUTHCOM, the leadership style and priorities of Adm. Stavridis, and the appointment of Rear Adm. Joseph Kernan, we believe 4th Fleet is about to execute a very unique Green Water Strategy that may serve as a model for peacetime strategy in the 21st Century. Adm. Stevenson continuously highlighted the value of amphibious forces during today’s roundtable, but when speaking of them in an operational context outlined the strategic value they bring to peacetime operations. With access to regional ports, with good relations with many regional neighbors, 4th Fleet is taking an engagement approach across the spectrum ranging from security cooperation to proactive humanitarian impact while it deals with the low end naval requirements of dealing with illicit trafficking.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for 4th Fleet, but its a path the Navy must go down as our operational tempo in the Caribbean and South American regions increases. As countries in the region continue to develop and become increasingly intertwined in the world economy, our interests will correspondingly increase and the region is simply to large for 2nd Fleet to effectively manage.