The Army has re-activated a new corps headquarters, called V Corps, involving 635 soldiers located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and another 200 at an operational command post in Europe on a rotational basis.
The headquarters is expected to be operational by the fall, though a location for V Corps’ European presence has not yet been determined, said Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa.
V Corps was first activated during World War I and remained operational until 2013, when it was deactivated in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Army called the deactivation “a major milestone in U.S. Army Europe’s transformation to a more agile force built around a cavalry brigade equipped with highly mobile Stryker combat vehicles and an airborne infantry brigade,” according to an archived news release from that time.
But plans have shifted, and V Corps will once again activate to serve as the Army’s fourth headquarters.
The new headquarters is launching at the same time the Army is preparing to kick-start Defender Europe 2020 this spring — a division-sized deployment from the U.S. mainland to continental Europe as part of the largest such movement in more than 25 years.
“The activation of an additional Corps headquarters provides the needed level of command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville in a prepared statement. "It will enhance U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command as they work alongside allies and partners to promote regional stability and security.”
The establishment of V Corps will help fulfill the 2018 National Defense Strategy, according to the service’s release, as well as support a request from U.S. European Command for more command and control capability.
The 2018 NDS prioritized great power competition with peer adversaries like Russia and China over low-intensity conflicts like that of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The deactivation of V Corps was originally announced in 2004 and finalized in 2012. The deactivation came after the headquarters deployed its 750 solders to Afghanistan in summer 2012. Personnel from the unit were reassigned elsewhere at Wiesbaden and other locations, according to an archived posture statement.
Following political upheaval in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, tensions in Eastern Europe were once again in the spotlight. In 2014, the U.S. military stepped up its rotational presence to Europe in an effort to reassure NATO allies.
There are three types of rotations to the region — armored, aviation and logistical — that serve nine-month missions as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. There are roughly 6,000 U.S. soldiers participating in the mission at any given time.
The Army currently has three operational corps headquarters: I Corps at Joint Base Lewis- McChord, Washington; III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas; and XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer