About 30 members of the 2nd fleet of the US Navy are currently performing Navy exercises in and around Iceland, practising the setup and operation of an expeditionary Maritime Operations Centre, which has been temporarily established in Keflavík. According to a tweet from the US Navy, the operations centre will “provide the U.S. Naval Forces Europe commander an additional ability to lead forces from a forward-operating location.”
The expeditionary MOC, made up of about 30 members of US 2nd Fleet staff, has the ability to command and control forces, provide basic indicators and warnings for situational awareness, and issue orders, while maintaining reach-back capability to C2F’s headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, according to a Navy press release.
“Iceland is a key ally, and its strategic location in the North Atlantic provides a perfect opportunity to test out our expeditionary MOC for the first time,” said Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. “Operating out of Iceland reinforces our partnership while allowing us to practice operating in an expeditionary manner and test our ability to surge forward.” The Operations Centre has been in contact with US Navy vessels, located in the North Atlantic on conventional tasks. The USS Normandy, pictured above, is operating in the Atlantic “in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.”
“Successful operations in the Arctic require practice, and we will take the lessons learned from this deployment to further refine the expeditionary MOC concept for future operations in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions,” said Capt. Chris Slattery, director of the expeditionary MOC.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs told DV that the group arrived in early September and will leave in early October. All costs stemming from the US Navy’s stay in Iceland are paid by the US Government.
The press release stresses that the expeditionary MOC concept is temporary in nature, further stating that “While the C2F expeditionary MOC is currently operating out of Iceland, there is no predetermined or permanent operating location in the European theater.”