The Army is officially activating its second multi-branch task force focused on the Pacific

The US Army Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF) and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) rehearse the sequence of events for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 immersion exercise at the Pacific Missile Complex. (DVIDS)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is officially activating its the third multi-domain target group today, as the service seeks to give joint forces more warfighting options over the vast distances of the Indo-Pacific region.

Army Multi-domain task forces are new, cinema-specific devices that use precise long-range effects, including cyber, electronic warfare or distant fires. MDTFs are a cornerstone of the Army’s belief that in any future confrontation with China or Russia, the Army will have to engage its adversary in multiple domains, including air, space, sea, and cyber, in addition to land.

The units, whose tactical focus is to destroy enemy counter-access/area closure systems on the battlefield, are equipped with air defense, reconnaissance and strategic fires, in addition to a new high-tech battalion called the Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space Battalion (I2CEWS ), which will provide long-range sensing or non-kinetic attack capabilities. The new Hawaii-based task force is the second MDTF focused on the Pacific.

“The MDTF provides a special capability that can operate distributed across island chains and over long distances,” Lt. Gen. James Jarrard, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Pacific Army, told reporters during a Thursday roundtable discussion. “We cannot have too much potential in these opportunities. I think that’s a clear statement from the Army that they understand that this is a priority theater.”

“Our real value is that we provide options to the joint force here, we provide options to the joint force commander,” Col. David Zinn, commander of the 3rd MDTF, said during the call.

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The MDTF has “the ability to work with advanced and new technologies and equipment,” Zinn said. “We have Soldiers with technical expertise in building operational networks and Soldiers trained to use our advanced systems.”

The Army currently has three multi-branch task forces, one in Europe and one in the Pacific, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Two more MDTFs are in the service plans, one is expected be Arctic focused and globally responsive.

Jarrard said the third MDTF would not be structurally different from its two predecessors. However, Zinn said the third task force would build its formation more quickly based on lessons learned from the first MDTFincluding how to assemble a team, how to begin operations and begin participating in exercises.

“We should be able to complete the organization much faster with the third one and get it to the FOC [full operational capability] a lot faster than we were with the first and second (MDTF),” Jarrard said.

Jarrard said the goal of the new MDTF is to reach full operational capability in fiscal year 2023. After today’s activation, Zinn will start with the initial build and add additional features over time, but declined to go into detail about when the features will arrive. Although Zinn would not elaborate, it is believed that the MDTF will receive the Army’s long-range hypersonic weapons and medium-range ship-sinking capabilities once the service begins deploying the new missiles, expected next year.

“We plan to start operations before we get all of our staff or all of our equipment,” Zinn said.

He added that the MDTF is now “assessing opportunities” to participate in exercises and operations and will begin participating “in the near future.” The Army is officially activating its second multi-branch task force focused on the Pacific

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