The first multi-domain army working group in Europe gets to work


The military activated its second multi-domain task force this week, according to a Press release.

But even as officers marked the occasion at a ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany, members of the new army formation were already starting fires of all kinds nearly 900 miles away in Norway.

General Christopher Cavoli, US Army Commander for Europe and Africa, said the new MDTF will bring “significant capability” to the command of the two continents.

The MDTF comprises a headquarters element, an intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space detachment, as well as a brigade support company.

It is the second of its kind, but the first in Europe.

The first MDTF was activated in 2019 and is from its headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. It focuses on the Pacific region and against Chinese military influence.

The newer MDTF, primarily located in Mainz-Kastel, Germany, will perform a similar function for Europe and Africa, countering Russian military influence.

The MDTF is a unit formed around a still developing Army concept of combat called Multi-Domain Operations.

The heart of the method of combat is to provide commanders with detection and strike capabilities in air, land, sea, space, cybernetic and electronic warfare.

Army chiefs expect the MDO concept and connection units – such as MDTFs – to coordinate intelligence and fire through a networked force. This would allow a strike anywhere and anytime 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 coordinated joint strike with real fire on a warship from multiple platforms.

Parts of the unit are in Norway in September as Soldiers from 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.

These soldiers used a high altitude balloon system to coordinate fire through the second MDTF system.

The fires hit a target at sea 20 kilometers off Andoya, Norway, above the Arctic Circle.

Colonel John Byrom is the first commander of the new MDTF based in Europe.

Speaking at Thursday’s ceremony, Byrom said his unit’s role was to add capabilities to command to “leverage conflict prevention, shape the security environment and, if necessary, prevail in large-scale ground combat operations ”.

When full strength arrives, approximately 1,200 soldiers and their families will be there.

Todd South has written on crime, courts, government and the military for several publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-authored project on witness intimidation. Todd is a veteran of the Iraq War Marines.


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