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US Army examines basing Multi-Domain Task Force troops on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

13 January 2020
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The US Army is investigating plans to field a Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF) in the Indo-Pacific region next year and looking at options to base some of the soldiers and their weapons on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy spoke with reporters on 10 January about standing up the new MDTF in 2021 and said the US Army Pacific (USARPAC) is working out options on how to distribute the force.

"When you look at a Multi-Domain Task Force, it's not all going to be in one place; it doesn't have to be," he said. "The headquarters element can be in Japan and you can be in the Senkaku [Islands]; you can work your way all the way down toward the South China Sea."

Artist's rendering of the Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile being launched from an M142 HIMARS launcher. The US Army is crafting plans to field such weapons in the Indo-Pacific, including on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. (Lockheed Martin)Artist's rendering of the Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile being launched from an M142 HIMARS launcher. The US Army is crafting plans to field such weapons in the Indo-Pacific, including on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. (Lockheed Martin)

MDTFs are part of the army's push toward Multi-Domain Operations, formerly called Multi-Domain Battle, which is a concept designed to transform the way the service operates against peer-adversaries in denied environments and across all domains - land, air, sea, space, and cyber. This shift towards Multi-Domain Operations is also guiding the army's push to develop new weapons in six areas - Long-Range Precision Fires, Next-Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, the network, air-and-missile defense, and soldier lethality.

Although most of these new capabilities will not be ready for fielding for several years, the army's first MDTF is slated to be outfitted with some electronic warfare and Long-Range Precision Fires capabilities. When looking at the MDTF basing questions, McCarthy said that these capabilities will not be centrally located but instead distributed throughout the region.

"It'll be arrayed for hundreds of miles," he added, noting that this approach will help fill a "void" and "space" in the region.

"Access and presence are critical in order to deter conflict," McCarthy told reporters. "So, being over there with your partners, being on the ground matters."

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