United States Naval Forces Southern Command
United States Naval Forces Southern Command Emblem
Active1963 - 1975; 1985 - 1991; 2000 - present
CountryUnited States
BranchUS Navy
TypeTheater Command
Part ofUnited States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)
Garrison/HQNaval Station Mayport, Florida
Rear Admiral James A. Aiken

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (also known as USNAVSO) is the naval element of United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Its areas of operation include South America, Central America, the Caribbean and surrounding waters. Its headquarters are located at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. USNAVSO is currently under the command of General Laura J. Richardson.


USNAVSO and U.S. Fourth Fleet supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.


From 1941 to 1945, the South Atlantic Forces of the United States Atlantic Fleet operated under four different designations -- Task Force 3, Task Force 23 (15 September 1942, titled South Atlantic Force), United States Fourth Fleet, and finally Task Force 27.[citation needed] In September 1942, the Commander Task Force 23 was further designated Commander South Atlantic Force, a title which he retained while becoming Commander Fourth Fleet and CTF 27. The extensive operations built up in Brazil were run down swiftly after the end of the war.

In June 1958 Commander, South Atlantic Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSOLANT) was established in headquarters at Naval Base Trinidad,[1] and was moved to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in 1973. COMSOLANT participated in annual "UNITAS" deployments around South America since 1960, and routinely deployed to Africa for the West African Training Cruise since 1980.

Naval Forces Southern Command was established in February 2000, with headquarters at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico which in early 2004 relocated to Naval Station Mayport, Florida.[2] COMUSNAVSO was built around the core of COMSOLANT. COMUSNAVSO serves as a main link between the U.S. Navy and the navies of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and is at the forefront of U.S. engagement in the Western Hemisphere. The command consolidates functions previously conducted by the Commander, Western Hemisphere Group, formerly in Mayport, Florida and COMSOLANT, formerly located at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

In addition to UNITAS, COMUSNAVSO, participates in navy-to-navy exercises, counter-drug operations, port visits, humanitarian missions, disaster relief, and protocol events. COMUSNAVSO exercises military command and control of all assigned ships and unit, and represents the U.S. Southern Command with respect to naval matters in the region.[3]



  1. ^ "The US Base in Tetron Chaguaramas".
  2. ^ "U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Relocates to Florida". United States Navy. January 26, 2004.
  3. ^ a b "Navy Reestablishes U.S. 4th Fleet". United States Navy. April 24, 2008.
  4. ^ "New Admiral in Puerto Rico". United States Navy. September 20, 2002.
  5. ^ "Biography of Vinson E. Smith". United States Navy. June 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Biography of James W. Stevenson, Jr". United States Navy. June 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "COMUSNAVSO Welcomes New Commander". United States Navy. September 2, 2005.
  8. ^ "Biography of Joseph D. Kernan". United States Navy. June 5, 2012.
  9. ^ "NAVSO, 4th Fleet Changes Command". United States Navy. June 12, 2009.
  10. ^ "Biography of Kurt W. Tidd". United States Navy. June 5, 2012.
  11. ^ "U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/C4F hosts Change of Command Ceremony". United States Navy. August 5, 2011.
  12. ^ "Biography of Sinclair M. Harris". United States Navy. June 22, 2012.
  13. ^ Ballance, George. "United States Navy Biography". America's Navy. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  14. ^ Buck, Sean. "U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Command Biography". U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  15. ^ "RADM Don D Gabrielson". www.public.navy.mil. Retrieved 2019-09-18.

Further reading

Karen Domabyl Smith; et al. (January 2002). "Is NAVSO Organized and Staff To Do Its Job" (PDF). Alexandria, Virginia: Center for Naval Analyses. Retrieved 2011-09-03. CRM D0005057.A1/Final