Home : Media : News : News Article View

Army to Build Three Multi-Domain Task Forces Using Lessons from Pilot

By Sean Kimmons, Army News Service | Oct. 15, 2019

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- As the Multi-Domain Task Force pilot program nears its end, the Army is now using lessons from it to establish three similar task forces.

Assigned under U.S. Army Pacific Command in 2017, the pilot has participated in several exercises, including nine major joint training events across the region, to focus on penetrating an enemy environment.

With the 17th Field Artillery Brigade as its core, the task force also has an I2CEWS detachment testing intelligence, information operations, cyber, electronic warfare and space assets that can counter enemy anti-access/area denial capabilities.

"It's predominately network-focused targeting and it's echelon in approach," said Col. Joe Roller, who heads future operations, G35, for I Corps. "So it's not taking down the entire network, it's focusing on key nodes within that network to create targets of opportunity and basically punch a hole in the enemy's threat environment in order to deliver a joint force."

Run by USARPAC's I Corps, the pilot has already uncovered ways to improve future formations as it prepares to become a permanent task force itself at Washington's Joint Base Lewis-McChord in September 2020.

In 2021, the Army plans to establish a second stand-alone MDTF in Europe that will merge the 41st FA Brigade with an I2CEWS element. The following year, a third task force, which is yet to be determined, will stand up in the Pacific.

One lesson so far from the pilot is for the task force to better incorporate its joint partners. Leaders envision the specialized units to be about 500 personnel, including troops from other services.

"It needs to be a joint enterprise," Roller said. "The Army will have the majority of seats in the MDTF, but we don't necessarily have all the subject-matter expertise to combine all of those areas together."

The Joint Warfighting Assessment 19 in the spring, he noted, highlighted the task force's need for a common operating picture to create synergistic effects with not only the other services but also allied nations.

"It goes back to communication with our joint partners and our allies," he said, "and the infrastructure that's required to create that communications network and shared understanding of the environment that were operating in."

Last month, the task force also took part in the Orient Shield exercise with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, which recently created its own Cross-Domain Operations Task Force to tackle similar challenges.

For the first time, Orient Shield was linked with Cyber Blitz, an annual experiment hosted by New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst that informs Army leaders how to execute full-spectrum information warfare operations.

The task force's I2CEWS personnel and their Japanese counterparts were able to conduct operations together in both exercises via networks in Japan and New Jersey.

"If there was a culminating event thus far, that was about as high level as we've gotten to with real-world execution of cyber, electronic warfare and space operations in coordination with a bilateral exercise," said Col. Tony Crawford, chief of strategy and innovation for USARPAC.

In an effort to embolden their defense, the Japanese published its cross-domain operations doctrine in 2008, Crawford said. Its defense force is now working with USARPAC in writing a whitepaper on how to combine those ideas with the U.S. Army's multi-domain operations concept in protecting its country.

"They've been thinking about this for a long time as well," Crawford said.

The Australian Army has also worked with the task force, he added, while the Philippine Army has expressed interest along with the South Korean military.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is making the Army's MDO efforts its foundational concept as it develops its own joint warfighting concept for the region. Crawford said this comes a few years after its former commander, Adm. Harry Harris, asked the Army to evolve its role so it could sink ships, shoot down satellites and jam communications.

"Moving forward, MDO is kind of the guiding framework that were implementing," Crawford said.

The colonel credits I Corps for continually educating its sister services of the Army's MDO concept and how the task force can complement its missions.

"The level of joint cooperation has grown exponentially over the last two years," he said. "That's definitely a good thing here in the Pacific, because it's not a maritime or air theater, it's a joint theater."

But, as with any new unit, there have been growing pains.

Crawford said the biggest challenge is getting the task forces equipped, trained and manned. Plans to build up the units are ahead of schedule after former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley decided to go forward with them earlier this year.

"We're so accelerated that we're all trying to catch up now," he said. "This is literally a new force structure that the Army is creating based upon these emerging concepts."

The fluid nature of these ideas has also presented difficulties. Roller said they are currently written in pencil as the task force pilot continues to learn from exercises and receives input from its partners.

"It's taking concepts and continuing to advance them past conceptual into employment," Roller said, "and then almost writing doctrine as we're executing."

While much of the future remains unclear, Roller does expect the task force to participate in another Pacific Pathways rotation after completing its first one this year.

In the long term, he also envisions a more robust training calendar for the task force so its personnel can maintain their certifications and qualifications.

"We'll have some culminating training events purely MDTF focused," he said.

To learn more, be sure to listen to Roller and Crawford at the Warriors Corner event, Multi-Domain Operations Theory into Practice, at the Association of the U.S. Army's Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Wednesday at 10:55 a.m. Eastern Time. The event will also be live streamed on USARPAC's Facebook page and on the Warriors Corner link below.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Twitter
RT @USSArizona: Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, USN, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet (CINCUS) and Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) in 1941. @USPacificF
Twitter
RT @USPacificFleet: Guam-based submarine tender #USSEmorySLand visits Subic Bay in second Philippines port call this month: https://t.co/22…
Twitter
RT @1stMEF: Osterman’s visit marks the 70th year of partnership between the U.S. and Indonesia. The visit focused on future combined milita…
Twitter
RT @jmsdf_pao_eng: 【Press Release】 Chief of Staff of JMSDF ADM YAMAMURA Hiroshi🇯🇵, Chief of Naval Operations of USN, ADM Michael Gilday🇺🇸 a…
Twitter
RT @USSOCPAC: Developing a relationship w/ the Bhutanese Dept of Disaster Mgmt will allow for each of us to understand unique capabilities…
Facebook
Great day of meetings as #CHODS2019 kicks off in Bangkok, Thailand. Partners and allies collaborating for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific #partnerships #readiness
Facebook
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen with Field Medical Training Battalion-West undergo intense field training on Camp Pendleton. Upon finishing the 8-week course, the students will be qualified to attach to a Marine Corps unit. #readiness #KnowYourMil
Facebook
#KnowYourMil #POWMIA" target="_blank">https://go.usa.gov/xVcqu The remains of two brothers who served in the U.S. Navy at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam who died in the Pearl Harbor attack have been laid to rest after exhumation from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. #KnowYourMil #POWMIA</a>
Facebook
U.S. Marines with III MEF Marines trained with Indonesian Korps Marinir during the #KORMARPlatoonExchange2019, enhancing #partnerships, #lethality, and #readiness for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Facebook
Pacific Marines and Indonesian Marines conducted bilateral training on MCBH Kaneohe Bay Hawaii, fortifying their #partnerships, enhancing #readiness and #lethality all for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Facebook
Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, Chief of U.S. Army Reserve and CG of U.S. Army Reserve Command, visited the 9th Mission Support Command and the 100th Battalion, #442nd Infantry Regiment, at Pohakuloa Training Area. #KnowYourMil #readiness #forcelethality #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
Facebook
U.S. and Fijian soldiers performed a military tactics display during a cadet graduation at the Napuka Secondary School, culminating two weeks’ training during #PacificPathways#ExcerciseCartweehl2019, strengthening #partnerships and #readiness for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Facebook
During his all hands call, U.S. Pacific Air Forces Chief Master Sergeant Anthony Johnson discussed the importance of understanding the culture and climate Airmen live in, as well as #resilience in and out of the workplace. #KnowYourMil #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
Facebook
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the University of Hawaii (UH) held a conference Aug. 6, 2019, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, regarding U.S. government support of health and healthcare in Oceania.
Facebook
Commander USINDOPACOM, Adm. Phil Davidson, speaks at the Strategic Discussions on U.S. Support of Health and Healthcare in Oceania Conference hosted by University of Hawaii and USINDOPACOM. #partnerships #FreeandOpenIndoPacific
Facebook
Please join us in honoring the brave men and women of the 25th Infantry Division and those specifically who have received the Purple Heart on National Purple Heart Day.
Facebook
U.S. Pacific Fleet Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 work with their Indonesian counterparts, improving the SDN Duduk Sampeyan Elementary School project site during #CARATIndonesia2019, strengthening #partnerships for a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.
Facebook
The 2019 cohort from the Pacific ALLIES program recently wrapped up a summer internship on the Ebeye Atoll. The group consisted of students from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of Hawaii and Whitman College. The Pacific ALLIES program brings together students from the United States and host nation sponsors from the Government of Kwajalein (KALGOV), in the Marshall Islands – where the Ebeye Atoll is located. While on Ebeye Atoll, the cohort was able to assist with a unique geo-location and census effort titled the Streetview Coastal Research and Demographic Survey. This effort was supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Story: www.dvidshub.net/news/334383/military-and-civilian-student-2019-cohort-completes-pacific-allies-internship
Facebook
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. Phil Davidson welcomed Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper to the U.S Indo-Pacific Command to discuss America’s enduring commitment to the region with our allies and partners. Secretary Esper will be visiting Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea during his first international trip as Secretary of Defense. #FreeAndOpenPacific
Facebook
#PacificPathways#ExerciseCartwheel2019. #Partnerships #FreeandOpenIndoPacific" target="_blank">https://go.usa.gov/xyeqw Approx. 150 U.S. Soldiers serving with 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division and 3rd Fiji Inf. Regiment joined together for the opening ceremony for #PacificPathways#ExerciseCartwheel2019. #Partnerships #FreeandOpenIndoPacific</a>
Facebook
Maintaining good partnerships is vital to sustaining our free and open Indo-Pacific.
Facebook
Learn and experience the intense training U.S. Navy Corpsmen go through in the Jungle Medicine Course to keep their fellow service members alive in the field under extreme conditions. Story from All Hands Magazine
Facebook
While at sea, U.S. 7th Fleet Sailors conduct a mass casualty drill aboard the @Gipper_76, maintaining readiness and vigilance. #KnowYourMil #FreeandOpenPacific
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
245,820
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Commander, Task Force-72 Concludes ANNUALEX 2019 with Japan Maritime Defense Forces
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Cmdr. Kentaro Sakabe, executive officer of the Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD 117), top right, and JMSDF Petty Officer 1st Class Takafumi Nakamura, assigned to the Asahi-class destroyer JS Asahi (DD 119), center, observe operations during an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the sonar control room aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) during Annual Exercise (ANNUALEX) 19. Milius is participating in ANNUALEX 19, a bilateral exercise which further develops coordination and interoperability of the premier alliance between the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Nov. 22, 2019 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

599th Transportation Brigade Facilitates Unit Equipment
A ship's crane on the USNS Mendonca offloads a Chinook helicopter during port operations at Pearl Harbor on Nov. 13, 2019.
Nov. 22, 2019 - PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- The 599th Transportation Brigade partnered with multi-service elements here

Anytime, Anywhere: Gryphon Pacific 20-1 Challenges Special Operators
Aircrew assigned to the 17th Special Operations Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan, fly an MC-130J Commando II over the Pacific Ocean during Exercise Gryphon Pacific 20-1, Nov. 15, 2019. Launching from Guam, two MC-130J Commando II aircraft with Global Access Special Tactics teams onboard rapidly established and controlled landing zones capable of facilitating additional forces at both Wake Island and Kwajalein Atoll in the same night. These special operations missions demonstrate the 353rd SOG’s ability to deploy forces anytime, anyplace throughout the Pacific.
Nov. 22, 2019 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Editor's note: Due to operations security, Airmen are not fully identified

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Partners to Battle Malnutrition in Laos
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed phase one and two construction of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), officially turning over major portions of the 4.9 million dollar medical and educational facility to Lao Ministry of Health leads in a ribbon cutting ceremony today, Nov, 14, 2019. Pictured, Pacific Ocean Division Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner (center) stands in front of the newly unveiled facility, standing alongside a senior Lao Ministry of Health official, whole holding a token of appreciation. To the right, U.S. Embassy in Laos Deputy Chief of Mission, Colin Crosby, poses with the group. The five-acre multi-purpose campus, includes collaboration with USACE, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), U.S. Agency for International Development, the Oregon Health and Science University, as well as with the Lao Ministry of Health, who maintains operation and maintenance of the facility. This is the largest Humanitarian Assistance construction joint effort funded by U.S. INDOPACOM.
Nov. 22, 2019 - VIENTIANE, Laos -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed phase one and two

In-Service Recruiter Helps Authenticate Dreams
Master Sgt. Lissy Singleton, Pacific Air Forces in-service recruiter, supports all Airmen assigned to Kunsan and Osan Air Bases in the Republic of Korea. Singleton recruits and assists separating Active-Duty members and informs them of the Air Force Reserve’s benefits.
Nov. 22, 2019 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Deciding your next phase in life can be a difficult decision to