WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army chief would like to see three multidomain task force units in the Pacific region, he said Wednesday at the McAleese & Associates conference.

“I can see three in the Pacific and then one other one. We have one in Europe and then one probably in a contingency-type place where it can go wherever it needs. So I think that’s how those five are going to play out,” Gen. James McConville said.

The service’s first MDTF was experimental, but since then the Army has operationalized its existing units and determined it will grow at least four more. The Army established that initial one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord around 2018. Indo-Pacific Command theater exercises helped inform the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations warfighting concept, which has now evolved into doctrine.

The Army then established another MDTF in Europe in 2021, and another last year in Hawaii.

The units are designed to operate across all domains — land, air, sea, space and cyberspace — and are equipped with the Army’s growing capabilities, including long-range precision fires.

The new unit is in high demand, and there is a lot of interest in where these task forces will go, McConville said. But the Army hasn’t committed to a location or a timeline for deploying its fourth MDTF, he added..

Having the majority of MDTF units in the Pacific aligns with the Army’s pivot to the region, as it has identified China as the country that poses the most enduring strategic challenge and is likely to reach military parity with U.S. forces by 2040, according to a whitepaper the chief published in 2021.

In recent years, the Army has placed less emphasis on a permanent MDTF in Alaska, after directly stating it wanted to do so in its strategy for the Arctic published in 2021.

“The Army’s decision to place an MDTF in Alaska is the first step in setting the conditions for success,” the strategy stated. “Multidomain formations, particularly those with extended ranges such as the [MDTF], have clear potential in the Arctic — an area of operations characterized by vast distances and where air and naval avenues of approach are critical.”

MDTFs will be agile and highly capable, McConville stressed at the conference. “We can move them very, very quickly to be at the point of need.”

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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