WASHINGTON — In the past year, the Army aided the Afghanistan evacuation effort in support of the State Department and resettled vulnerable Afghans in the United States and other countries. The service also assisted in securing the U.S. Capitol after the Jan. 6 riots and vaccinated most Soldiers against COVID-19.
Additionally, the Army established the V Corps headquarters at Fort Knox, a forward command post in Poland, and a Multi-Domain Task Force and Theater Fires Command in Europe.
Finally, the Army conducted a successful test of the Iron Dome missile defense system in the Indo-Pacific region and made changes to the Army Combat Fitness Test to be more inclusive to the entire force. Defender Europe 21, the Army-led, multinational joint exercise also hosted more than 28,000 forces from 26 nations.
Operation Allies Welcome
Under direction of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Army North provided temporary housing, sustainment and support at seven military installations inside the U.S. for Afghan special immigrant visa principal applicants, their families and other individuals at risk.
This fall, Soldiers from the National Guard, the Army Reserve and active duty force helped Afghan refugees process and resettle into the U.S. by providing essential support that included medical care, transportation and translation services.
As part of Operation Allies Welcome — a whole of government effort led by the Department of Homeland Security — Soldiers helped provide a haven for Afghans at Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Pickett, Virginia; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
The operation is an extension of Operation Allies Refuge, where the U.S. helped evacuate more than 180,000 U.S. citizens and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.
To keep in line with the president’s directive that all DOD members be vaccinated, the Secretary of Defense directed all service members to receive COVID-19 vaccinations to protect the health of the force.
As of Dec. 16, 96% of active-duty Soldiers were fully vaccinated.
All DA Civilians were required to be completely vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021, active duty Soldiers by Dec. 15, 2021, and Army National Guard Soldiers and Army Reservists by June 30, 2022.
During the pandemic, urban augmentation medical task forces were deployed across the nation to assist with testing and treatment for COVID-19.
The Army Combat Fitness Test is scientifically designed to transform Army physical fitness and training to reflect combat-related tasks and reduce injuries. This will lead to a more physically fit Army that is ready to meet today’s modern battlefield requirements.
The latest version of the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT 3.0, incorporates two significant changes: the inclusion of the plank as a 100-point alternative to the leg tuck, and the inclusion of an evaluation system with gender-informed performance categories.
Under the previous version of the ACFT, Soldiers who couldn’t successfully perform the leg tuck had the option of taking the plank test but could only receive 60 points for passing. Under ACFT 3.0, Soldiers can elect to take the plank test and still receive the full 100 points. The leg tuck remains the primary test of Soldiers’ core strength.
The Army is exploring options to categorize performance with a gender-normed tier concept. The long-term goal is to create incentives for Soldiers to maximize their individual personal fitness. The ACFT, along with Holistic Health and Fitness or H2F, is a commitment to our people by ensuring their readiness to fight and win our nation’s wars while protecting their health.
The Army widened the scope of the Defender-Europe 21 exercise following its success in 2020.
Planners added more U.S. and NATO allies and partner nations and expanded the scope of the annual, large-scale exercise. Multinational forces performed exercise operations in more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries.
The Navy and Air Force also took part in the exercise, which used routes by land and sea connecting Asia, Europe and Africa.
Army Security Force Assistance Brigades and the V Corps — which was reactivated in 2020 — provided assets to support the exercise.
2nd Multi-Domain Task Force activation
The U.S. Army activated the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force Sept. 16 on Allen Field at Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden, Germany. A Multi-Domain Task Force that brings together several warfighting functions.
The task force includes a headquarters element, an intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space detachment, and a brigade support company. The first Multi-Domain Task Force was activated under a pilot program in 2017 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Iron Dome Defense System test
The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command conducted an experimental deployment of one of the Army’s Iron Dome Defense Systems, or IDDS, at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy short-range missiles and enemy drones. There is currently no plan to conduct a live-fire test of the system.
Additionally, the Army, together with the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, began to field the first of two IDDSs. The systems were delivered in 2020 and have gone through testing and operator training. The Army plans to field both IDDSs while continuing to acquire other indirect-fire protection systems.
Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model
The Army is in the midst of aligning with the Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, or ReARMM, which is a flexible, predictable force generation process to create an Army that is regionally and functionally capable of supporting the Nation’s Defense Strategy.
Army Arctic Strategy
In accordance with to the DoD’s Arctic Strategy, the Army released its own Artic Strategy titled Regaining Artic Dominance. The guidance outlines the Army’s plan to generate, train and equip the force to partner with ally nations in the Artic. It also details how the service will secure national interests and maintain regional stability.
Preparing for operations in the region gives the Army the ability to respond to any emergency in the region.
The Arctic region houses many assets important to the US and is a prime place for global projection of power. Improving capabilities in the region will heighten the Army’s capacity to operate in extreme cold-weather and mountainous terrain.
The Army plans on conducting a wargame, establishing a multi-domain enabled operational two-star headquarters, improving the materiel readiness of Artic-capable units, and improving the quality of life for its Soldiers, civilians and families that live and work in the region. These initiatives will ensure the Army’s determination in securing national interests in the Arctic region.
Soldiers deploy to the nation’s capital
About 26,000 National Guard members from across the U.S. supported the security mission in Washington D.C. during the 2021 presidential inauguration Jan. 20. About 5,000 members of the Guard remained in the nation’s capital after the inauguration to continue supporting the Capitol police.
The Soldiers augmented police in security patrols and at entry control points. Additionally, Guard members conducted civil disturbance training. The guard continued to support the mission until it officially ended on May 23.