Challenging issues faced by the Fifth Fleet, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa FL, include Iran, Iraq, ongoing maritime interception operations, the current "hot Button" and normal forward engagement activities.
On 1 July 1995, the Navy recommissioned the Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf—the first stand up of a new Fleet in 50 years. Although the affair itself was low-key, the commissioning was significant. For almost half a century, U.S. interests in the Gulf had been represented by the Middle East Force, normally comprised of a few surface combatants and a flagship. Since the Gulf War, however, naval presence had increased significantly. Establishment of Fifth Fleet sent two signals: