WASHINGTON – European theater “absolutely” needs a multi-domain task force, said General Christopher Cavoli, who is responsible for the US Army in Europe and Africa. Although the intention to use such a unit has been in place for several years, little progress has been made.
The Army is a few years away from doing doctrine of its multi-domain operations warfare concept. The concept deals with the competition for great powers and potential conflicts with opponents in the air, on land, on water, in space and in cyberspace.
The service consisted of a Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF) now based out of Lewis-McChord Joint Base, Washington state. It has been active in prominent exercises in the Pacific Rim and is likely to make an appearance in the Army’s project convergence campaign at Arizona’s Yuma Proving Ground in the fall of 2021. The MDTF was created specifically to evaluate the concept of warfare through exercises, but MDTF units will likely be operational when the MDO doctrine becomes entrenched.
The service plans to build a second MDTF unit in the Pacific region in fiscal 2021.
That year, shortly after the Army published its fiscal year 21 budget proposal, the service issued a list of unfunded requests to Congress that included $ 151.4 million for MDTF unit improvements for Europe and the Indo-Pacific Theaters were needed. According to the list, the additional funding would support the renovation, restoration and modernization of buildings as well as adequately house staff and headquarters for MDTF elements and the second and third MTDF units.
“The skills that the Multidomain Task Force will bring to help us integrate and the expertise it will bring will be very, very important in updating the way we operate in continental Europe want, “Cavoli said at a February 3 virtual event for the Association of the US Army. “And we will be able to extend that to the African continent as well, if we get these skills.”
Recent exercises have shown the importance of an MDTF unit to theater operations, Cavoli said. Defender Europe’s first exercise, scaled back in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrated the need, as did the joint assessment of the warfare that the Multinational Corps northeast of Szczecin, Poland, and the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps brought in along with the European Headquarters the army.
The exercise attempted to “target against the hypothetical scenario of major combat operations” in 2035, Cavoli said.
“After we had MDO skills and experimented how we would work with those skills and within a common and combined force that used those skills, this was a very insightful exercise. Very, very, very challenging, both intellectually and in terms of workload and manpower, to try to achieve convergence at the pace across domains in a combined context, “said Cavoli.” So I would be very excited about a multi-domain assignment Makes.”
The MDTF in the Pacific had given the army “good things to think about and emulate” and added that the service would continue to “build MDTFs,” and we are very much looking forward to the day the army will station one here. “
Over a year ago, the Army in Europe was in the early stages of introducing the concept of MDO into its training routines and exercise planning, but changed its structure to add additional intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare and space capabilities in Europe. At that time, it was expected that a task force would be introduced at Defender Europe in 2020.
In an October 2020 interview with Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, he told Defense News that two MDTF units were planned in the Pacific and one in Europe – or “one that will support Europe.”
The army was “still working on the formation of the armed forces in Europe,” he said at the time, which included considerations of the mandate of then President Donald Trump to drastically reduce the troops in Germany. These plans have been put on hold.
The boss said the exact positioning of the MDTF for Europe had not been established.
In a separate interview last fall, the deputy chief of staff, Gen. Joseph Martin, told Defense News that the European MDTF had not stood up for a number of reasons.
“We’ve built structure into our entire Army analysis process, we’re not concerned about that, but it does make sure we have the right place for the experimental task force and the timing for it – it’s a result that is based on a whole A number of different factors that we consider, ”said Martin.
Cavoli also spoke out for the need for increased fire resistance in Europe. “We also welcome suggestions for a so-called ‘Theater Fires Command’ that will develop and curate, maintain custody of targets during the competition phase and then execute during a potential conflict,” he said. “This theatrical fire command will also bring tremendous skill and make us – it will help us, as MDO promises, to get out of a close fight and be able to fight a little more in a stalemate when we get up to engage in a close fight if it were in much more favorable circumstances. “