U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush

U.S. Army photo by Maj. Joe Bush Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade conduct a live fire exercise with M270A1 Multiple Launcher Rocket System at the Grafenwoehr, Germany on May 8, 2020.

US Army Europe Wants New Hub for Artillery Fire

A new targeting center and mobile artillery-and-cyber teams will dominate the way the Army conducts operations, says Gen. Cavoli.

A “theatre fires command” could help find targets and direct long-range fire, and become a key part of tomorrow’s multi-domain operations in major conflicts, the chief of U.S. Army Europe said Wednesday.

Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli told an AUSA audience that he was “excited about proposals'' for a command hub that would find and keep tabs on targets during peacetime for use during war.

Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the head of U.S. Army Europe, said that he was “excited about proposals'' for what he called a “theatre fires command,” which would “develop and curate, hold custody of targets,” during peacetime and then fire on (or help artillery teams to fire on) those targets in the event of conflict. It would be part of a broader evolution to help the Army fight better on land and in the air and in cyberspace.

Last year’s Defender Europe exercise brought in a rapid reaction corps to practice for a large war in 2035. The event emphasized the importance of concepts like theatre fires commands and multi-domain task forces, Cavoli said. 

The former will help forces  “push away out of a close fight,” Cavoli said, “and be able to fight a little bit more at standoff [or at safe distance] so that when we do engage in a close fight it would be under much more advantageous circumstances.”

The latter are small, highly mobile units that can attack with long-range munitions and electronic and cyber warfare tactics. The Army stood up its first permanent MDTF at Washington's Joint Base Lewis-McChord last year. It plans to establish one in Europe this year by combining the 41st Field Artillery Brigade with a cyber electronic warfare and space element.

Such task forces are going to be very important for developing how U.S. forces operate in Europe “and we will be able to extend that to the African continent as well,” Cavoli said.