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Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize - Afghanistan (Task Force ODIN-A)

With the success of Task Force ODIN in Iraq, there became a demand for such capabilities in Afghanistan. On 29 October 2008, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell announced during a news briefing that an entire Task Force ODIN was planned for Afghanistan, consisting of 4 platoons of various Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets to better help the commanders on the ground particularly protect the Ring Road, which was such a vital lifeline in Afghanistan for commerce and transport and governance.

In November 2008 the United States military released a solicitation for expansions of Khandar airfield, ostensibly for the deployment of either Task Force ODIN or a similar unit to Afghanistan. The planned construction included accommodation for up to 26 ISR aircraft in shelters at Khandar airfield. The administrative control, as well as responsibility for the reception, forming, training, and deploying of Task Force ODIN was eventually passed to the 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), an element of III Corps, US Forces Command (FORSCOM), based at Fort Hood, Texas.

On 5 March 2009, 4 members of Detachment 20, Operational Support Airlift, New York Army National Guard were reported to have gone through high-altitude training at an Air Force oxygen chamber at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland as part of training for an upcoming deployment to Task Force ODIN in Afghanistan. On 5 June 2009, 3rd Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment was activated at Fort Hood, Texas, reportedly to become the core element of Task Force ODIN-A. 3-214th Aviation subsequently became the first unit to conduct a Task Force ODIN-A rotation.

The aircraft earmarked to be deployed for Task Force ODIN Afghanistan were expected to be uniform. The Task Force ODIN deployed to Iraq used a combination of Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MARSS) the Airborne Reconnaissance Multisensor System (ARMS) aircraft. New systems were going through various testing and integration stages in preparation for initial deployment as of July 2009.

At a news briefing on 24 November 2009, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell stated that he did not have any news on the progress of the establishment of Task Force ODIN-A.

At a Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable on 12 March 2009, Lieutenant General Michael Oates, Director, Joint Improvised Explosive Death Defeat Organization stated that Task Force ODIN-A was and had been in Afghanistan prior to that date. As of May 2010, Task Force ODIN-A was attached to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade as part of Task Force Falcon in Afghanistan.

As of September 2011, Task Force ODIN-A was attached to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade and was operating out of Bagram Air Base. B Company, 306th Military Intelligence Battalion (Aerial Exploitation) was operating as an element of Task Force ODIN-A at that time. While the Company remained in Afghanistan on a semi-permanent basis, its personnel were rotated every 12 months.




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