“Orient Shield 19,” an annual Japan-U.S. joint field exercise between the Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Army, will start on Aug. 26 in Japan. In the past, the exercise focused on training infantry units, but it will change from this year. The headquarters of a new U.S. unit will participate in the exercise for the first time. The unit is in charge of operations for securing America’s dominance in every military domain in the Indo-Pacific region.
Multi-domain operations are scheduled to be conducted in this year’s exercise. The Ground Staff Office of the Defense Ministry explained that a U.S. Army brigade (from the state of Washington) will participate in the exercise to function as the headquarters of the Multi-Domain Task Force (MDTF).The MDTF commands multi-domain operations. The exercise will be conducted in the following locations: Camp Kengun, Oyanohara Training Area and Vice-Camp Takayubaru (Kumamoto Prefecture), Camp Amami (Kagoshima Prefecture) and Yausubetsu Training Area (Hokkaido).
Multi-domain operations aim to secure the U.S. military’s dominance in every domain including intelligence, information, cyber, electronic warfare and space by neutralizing obstructions even in adversary-controlled areas to help the U.S. military freely conduct its activities. The U.S. envisages China as an adversary in the Indo-Pacific region.
The following will be deployed to the MDTF: 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARSs) with a maximum range of 300 km, 12 Patriot surface-to-air interceptor missiles, 4 large-size helicopters, and 4 attack helicopters. The U.S. Army 17th Field Artillery Brigade of the MDTF, 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion from Kadena Air Base (Okinawa Prefecture) and a helicopter unit from Camp Zama (Kanagawa Prefecture) will participate in the exercise. HIMARS firing training will also be conducted.
In coordination with the U.S. Army, GSDF units with surface-to-air missile, multi-launch rocket systems, surface-to-ship missiles and helicopters will participate in the exercise. The exercise is designed to conduct joint multi-domain operations between Japan and the U.S.