SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division conducted Exercise Lightning Forge 21 here from May 10 to 14 as part of a larger ongoing Army effort to modernize, test, and evaluate its Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF).
These efforts focus entirely on defeating a competitor’s Anti-Access and Area Denial capabilities.
As part of these efforts, the 25th Inf. Div. conducted Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) targeting exercises, which allowed Soldiers to test systems and further develop concepts and methods for training and integrating Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence equipment as part of tactical operation.
Lightning Edge 21, in simultaneous conjunction with Exercise Northern Edge 21 in Alaska, validated over-the-horizon targeting integration between the 25th Inf. Div. and its higher headquarters, as well as the MDTF’s All Domain Operations Center (ADOC).
“The 25th Inf. Div. continues to play a significant role in the integration of these capabilities that support the MDTF,” said Maj. Peter Hwang, an officer assigned to the 25th Inf. Div. Intelligence section. “We understand that this integration of capabilities provides deterrence options for combatant commanders, which is why we train to achieve target refinement, handover, prosecution, and integration of MDO capabilities.”
Beyond the initial set-up and training that took place, the 25th Inf. Div. remotely connected to the MDTF through the ADOC at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington in order to enable a shared Common Operating Picture (COP), exchange over-the-horizon data, and to take action against simulated targets on Oahu.
“As America’s Pacific Division, we must train and be prepared to fight in a joint environment,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kotich, the 25th Inf. Div. chief intelligence officer. “This requires synchronization, being embedded with other services, and, most importantly, integrating our own systems to allow us to see the COP in order to explore ways to deter competitors.”
“These are the sort of processes that we can only become experts at through multiple iterations of training exercises like Lightning Edge,” Kotich added.
The first MDTF originally had a field artillery brigade at its core that merged with an Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space, or I2CEWS, at JBLM.
A second MDTF is being planned for activation in Europe later this year.
These total force capabilities take into consideration the requirements that future battlefields may have.
“It is critical that we train accordingly and to do our best to integrate multi-disciplinary capabilities to achieve dominance across all domains,” said Hwang.