Army Makes Premier Appearance at Valiant Shield 2018 as a part of the Multi-Domain Task Force
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – The penetrating shriek of an aircraft flying overhead fills the tent of the tactical command post as the land-based fire coordination officer shouts longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates of an sea-based enemy target. The exercise is the first of its kind at Valiant Shield and is expected to change the way the U.S. military integrates in years to come.
The U.S. Army made their premier appearance at the biennial Valiant Shield exercise Northern Marianas region, Sept. 16. Soldiers with the 17th Field Artillery Brigade led the Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF)m integrating Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps assets across domains and operational environments.
“In the Indo-Pacific, with the Navy and Air Force being here for more than 240 years, they’ve been the chief partner in the domain here,” said Army Lt. Col. Joe Hansen, MDTF commander. “Our role in integrating here is to provide some additional capabilities and enablers that can nest and compliment the ability to employ their freedom of maneuver in this maritime environment and be able to enable the operation and mission here in the Pacific domain.”
Hansen said he’d developed three priorities in support of Valiant Shield; to validate and improve communication systems and architecture, facilitate and integrate artillery capabilities in the Indo-Pacific maritime environment, and inform and improve upon the multi-domain operational discussion.
“The enemy will present us with a range of options across multi-domains, whether it be air, land, maritime environments, space or cyber. All of these domains have to be appreciated across the joint force,” said Hansen. “We have to be interoperable to be able to influence and affect the enemy across those domains by collaborating without being intrusive to the other joint-force, but to compliment and enable their fight in that environment.”
Following on from Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) crews with the 194th Field Artillery Regiment continue to build on their training and integration across joint forces during Valiant Shield 2018 (VS-18). Army 1st Lt. Sean Skelly served as the fire coordination officer.
“I’ve enjoyed the experience. After coming out for RIMPAC and working with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the Navy in Hawaii,” said Skelly. “It’s been a great experience and has helped to enhance my craft. There aren’t a lot of officers in the Army that are getting the opportunity to work across the branches not only once but twice in the same summer. For me, it’s been a learning experience that hopefully I can bring on and share with my peers.”
Participants include the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), 15 surface ships, more than 160 aircraft and approximately 15,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.
Valiant Shield is a U.S. only, biennial field training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among U.S. forces. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas. This is the seventh exercise in the Valiant Shield series that began in 2006.
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