Army activates European fires command

By Ethan Sterenfeld / November 8, 2021 at 9:20 AM

U.S. Army Europe and Africa will officially reactivate a theater fires command in Europe today, as the service rebuilds its capability to coordinate fires for large-scale combat operations, according to a Nov. 3 Army announcement.

The 56th Artillery Command, the reactivated unit that will serve as the theater fires command, will be headquartered in Mainz-Kastel, Germany, according to the announcement. The unit is a successor to the 56th Field Artillery Command, which was inactivated around the end of the Cold War.

“The reactivation of the 56th Artillery Command will provide U.S. Army Europe and Africa with significant capabilities in multidomain operations,” Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Maranian, commander of the 56th Artillery Command, said in the announcement. “It will further enable the synchronization of joint and multinational fires and effects, and employment of future long-range surface-to-surface fires across the U.S. Army Europe and Africa area of responsibility.”

V Corps, another recently reestablished European-focused formation, reached fully operationally capable status on Nov. 3, Army Europe and Africa announced separately last week. The unit held a ceremony to mark fully operational status at its American headquarters, at Ft. Knox, KY, which will operate in tandem with a forward headquarters in Poznan, Poland.

The Army activated a multidomain task force in September, which will work with V Corps and the theater fires command. All three echelon-above-division formations in Europe can coordinate long-range fires and other multidomain effects during combat and competition against a near-peer competitor.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of Army Europe and Africa, said in September that wargaming will help the service determine what roles the different formations will play in the theater.