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AUSA Global 2021: US Army standing up MDTF in Arctic region

The US Army has unveiled an unclassified version of its Arctic strategy that outlines plans to stand up an operational two-star headquarters and multidomain task force (MDTF) in the region to better ‘compete’ against Russia and China.

Released during this year’s virtual Association of the US Army’s (AUSA) annual Global Force conference, the January report titled ‘Regaining Arctic Dominance’ discusses ambitions to ramp up operations in a region where two “great power rivals” are seeking to “gain and maintain” access.

“The Arctic has the potential to become a contested space where United States’ great power rivals, Russia and China, seek to use military and economic power to gain and maintain access to the region at the expense of US interests,” the army wrote.

Designed as a follow up to the larger Pentagon report, the army said its first step will be investing in an MDTF-enabled division headquarters with specially trained and equipped combat brigades capable of recapturing “cold-weather dominance”.

“The army will station a multidomain task force in Alaska to experiment in delivery of tactical to strategic effects in the region,” it added. “This experimentation in Alaska will pose an anti-access/aerial denial challenge for rival powers, constraining their operational choices, and provides the US with strategic advantage in crisis and conflict.”

MDTF soldiers will test out new weapons’ ability to function in cold weather, explore region-specific operational concepts, and review the ability of space assets and capabilities to support regional operations.

“The Arctic region, given the high latitude, poses operational challenges, given the unique electromagnetic spectrum,” the report added. “These challenges present a unique electromagnetic operational environment that requires increased US access and coverage from space and high-altitude-based systems.”

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