Fort Drum selected as finalist for Multi-Domain Task Force

FORT DRUM — The north country’s military post is in the final rounds of the selection process for the next U.S. Army Multi-Domain Task Force.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a news release Monday that if Fort Drum is selected to host the task force, the post would be at the center of the Army’s mission to fight against emerging national security threats. The task force would bring millions of dollars in new infrastructure, support Fort Drum’s long-term stability and potentially bring thousands of more soldiers to the post.

“Fort Drum is one of the most advanced military bases in the nation and is fully prepared to lead the next phase of the Army’s growth as the host for its Multi-Domain Task Force. During my call with Army Secretary (Christine) Wormuth, I stressed that Fort Drum is the clear choice and that there is no better place to lead the mission in protecting our national security,” Schumer said in the release.

Schumer said he explained in his call to the Army secretary that Fort Drum has some of the best infrastructure and mission-ready resources in the country and it is uniquely prepared to host the new task force.

There is concern in Congress about threats to national security posed by Russia and China, and the Army believes that in order to address the concern, it must be able to operate in a multi-domain environment, including air, land, water, space, cyber and information that would require new operational concepts, technologies, weapons and units.

The Army describes the Multi-Domain Task Force as the “organizational centerpiece” of the effort.

David J. Zembiec, chair of the Advocate Drum board and CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development, said that hearing Fort Drum was in the final rounds was great news.

“Advocate Drum has actually mustered about 200 support letters from various businesses and organizations and municipalities across the three county region to support that designation” he said.

Zembiec said he thinks Fort Drum has a fairly good chance of being selected.

“Of course we’re biased but we think there’s no better location than Fort Drum,” he said.

Zembiec said it would be “huge” for post and the north country.

“It adds additional prestige to Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division, and for the region you’re adding potentially another 3,000 troops and supporting civilian jobs,” he said.

He said Advocate Drum is still working through estimating the post’s annual economic impact on the region, but Zembiec claims that last year Fort Drum’s economic impact totaled around $2 billion.

“That’d be 3,000 more paychecks coming,” he said.

Other possible locations for the task force are Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (Schofield Barracks and Helemano Military Reservation); and Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Five MDTFs were planned by the Army with two aligned to the Indo-Pacific region; one aligned to Europe; one stationed in the Arctic region and oriented on multiple threats; and a fifth aligned for global response.

The first MDTF was created in 2017 as an experimental unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; the second MDTF is stationed in Germany; and the third MDTF was activated in September 2022 at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii although it’s unclear if all of the third MDTF’s subordinate units will be stationed in Hawaii or elsewhere.

Schumer previously helped deliver more than $27 million in funding for a new railhead at Fort Drum, more than $21 million for a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Hangar, more than $27 million for Fort Drum in the fiscal year 2022 omnibus to expand Fort Drum’s existing water supply, and about $10 million for two major Drum projects for the end-of-year spending package for fiscal year 2023.

“We are extremely grateful to senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congresswoman Stefanik for all they do to support and enhance Fort Drum’s presence in the north country,” Zembiec said in a prepared statement. “We also have to thank the north country community which proudly supports Fort Drum.”

The Army is either looking at a full MDTF which would add 3,000 additional soldiers and dozens of new civilian positions, or another option is a base MDTF which would result in an increase of 400 soldiers and civilians.

Fort Drum is being considered for the European-facing base, and a decision is expected soon.


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