CAMP KENGUN, Japan -- 17th Field Artillery Brigade participated in the opening ceremony of Orient Shield 2019 as the U.S. Army's Multi-Domain Task Force here, Sept. 5, 2019.
Soldiers, assigned to the MDTF, stood in formation next to the Western Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's newly established Cross-Domain Operations Task Force. This is the first time the MDTF has participated in Orient Shield conducting bilateral operations with the Western Army JGSDF.
"This exercise will be the first case to verify how to fight in multiple domains including new domains," said Lt. Gen. Takashi Motomatsu, the commander of the Western Army JGSDF. "The aim of this exercise is to train how to conduct mutual cooperation and coordination while we fight under our respective chain of command, we also seek to improve bilateral operations capability."
Since its inception in 1985, Orient Shield exercises have focused on tactical operations alongside the JGSDF. Now, the focus is aimed at strengthening military operations through proficiency of multi-domain operations utilizing the capabilities of air, land, long-range precision fires, space and cyber operations.
Orient Shield 19 is the largest annual bilateral field training exercise in Japan that will occur through Sept. 24. Orient Shield will consist of a command post exercise, field, and live fire training. It is designed to enhance Japan-U.S. combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of friends and allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
"This year, we have radically deviated from the past," said Maj. Gen. Viet Luong, U.S. Army Japan commander during his opening statement. "In addition to expanding the scope and breadth of the exercise from tactical to operational level, Orient Shield 2019 gives us the opportunity to establish the first multi-domain task force operating in Japan, providing us with unique lethal and non-lethal capabilities that both complement and integrate with JGSDF assets."
The MDTF deployed over 1,200 U.S. Soldiers across Japan, which is almost equivalent to the length of the eastern coast of the United States, in order to participate in the bilateral exercise.
"Orient Shield can be challenging working with units not organic to 17th Field Artillery Brigade, however, as the MDTF it provides the opportunity to bring synergy across both countries and strengthen our partnership as well as educate and refine multi domain concepts in a bilateral operation," said Col. Brandon Anderson, 17th Field Artillery Brigade commander.
The concept of the MDTF brings together existing lethal and non-lethal capabilities by integrating and synchronizing them across multiple domains in order to overcome a specific target. Orient Shield 2019 will allow the MDTF to refine multi-domain concepts alongside the Western Army JGSDF, strengthening the capabilities of both partner forces.