The Army activated its second multi-domain task force this week, according to a news release.
But even as officers marked the occasion during a ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany, members of the newest Army formation were already running fires of all kinds nearly 900 miles away in Norway.
Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said the new MDTF will bring “significant capability” to the two-continent command.
The MDTF has a headquarters element, an intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space detachment, and a brigade support company.
It is the second of its kind, but the first in Europe.
The first MDTF was activated in 2019 and has since been headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Its focus is on the Pacific region and countering Chinese military influence.
The newest MDTF, primarily located in Mainz-Kastel, Germany, will serve a similar function for Europe and Africa, countering Russian military influence.
The MDTF is a unit formed around an Army warfighting concept still under development called Multi-Domain Operations.
The core of the fighting method is to provide commanders with sensing and striking capabilities in air, land, sea, space, cyber and electronic warfare.
Army leaders expect the MDO concept and connecting units — such as MDTFs — to coordinate information and fires across a networked force. That would allow for a strike anywhere at any time from any platform.
A third MDTF is planned for activation, also in the Pacific.
The first MDTF saw engagement in the annual Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 2018 with a coordinated joint live-fire strike on a naval vessel from multiple platforms.
Portions of the unit are in Norway this September as soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade, fired M31 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems from the M270A1 MLRS during Exercise Thunder Cloud.
Those soldiers used a high-altitude balloon system to coordinate fires through the second MDTF’s system.
The fires struck a target at sea, 20 kilometers off the coast of Andoya, Norway, above the Arctic Circle.
Col. John Byrom is the first commander of the new, Europe-based MDTF.
Speaking at the Thursday ceremony, Byrom said his unit’s role is to add capabilities to the command to, “leverage in preventing conflict, shaping the security environment and if necessary, prevailing in large-scale ground combat operations.”
Once the full complement has arrived, an estimated 1,200 soldiers and family members will be at the location.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.