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U.S. Seeks to Strengthen EMS Technologies and Strategies for Superiority

On October 30, 2019, Army, Navy, and Air Force representatives gathered at the Association of Old Crows Conference to discuss the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and its potential as a separate domain of warfare. While some consider it unnecessary to label the EMS as a separate domain, officials agree that the United States is lagging behind China and Russia in this aspect of war.

According to Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, Director of EMS for the Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration, and Requirements, a separate EMS domain is not logical, as “there’s a little bit of a different discussion when you talk about domain and what that implies for the Department of Defense and each of the departments in a different way.” In addition, EMS already applies to every domain, as it serves as an element of the operational environment, so separating it would be futile. Nevertheless, our EMS tactics must be strengthened in order to compete with China and Russia. According to Gregory Wagner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Spectrum Organization (DISA), the United States can no longer assume dominance in the EMS. In the last decade, leaders only needed to contend with two factors in EMS warfare, but now, they must deal with three: constrained, congested, and contested spectrum. This, Wagner states, will lead to a colossal power competition between nations. Because forces must be more agile and flexible, Wagner argues that military leaders need improved command and control tools. In response to these needs, DISA has initiated a project, The Electromagnetic Spectrum Enterprise Architecture, which provides commanders a place to access curate spectrum data. By bolstering our EMS superiority, Wagner believes we can prepare ourselves for the impending competition with China and Russia.

According to a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) report, Winning the Invisible War: Gaining an Enduring U.S. Advantage in the Electromagnetic Spectrum, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China and Russian Armed Forces employ EMS strategies that either hinder or prevent U.S. intervention in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe. The PLA utilizes “Intelligentized Warfare,” which entails harnessing information via AI for more effective military operations. China’s PLA systems are designed to specifically target vulnerabilities within U.S. systems and operational concepts, and one of the biggest vulnerabilities they have identified is U.S. communications.

The Russian Armed Forces, on the other hand, utilizes electronic warfare to attack the U.S. military’s C4ISR networks. In addition to this, Russia has tested strike missiles that exceed limits delineated in the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which indicates another domain in which Russia seeks to dominate the U.S. Luckily for the U.S., Russia continues to face challenges with its EMS technologies, and its shrinking military will not benefit from new systems. Thus, the DoD could use this advantage to field next-generation EMS technologies to undermine Russian operations.

Moving forward, the U.S. must organize its electronic warfare enterprise to ensure EMS superiority; train and educate its forces regarding EMS technologies and strategies; and strengthen relations with allies. Furthermore, the U.S. must design new EMS technologies capable of supporting our forces in this new domain of war. Rhein Tech Labs offers EMC testing for devices in the Military and Defense Aerospace sectors to the following standards: RTCA DO-160D/E/F, MIL-STD-461C/D/E/F, MIL-STD-704A/B/C/D/E/F, EUROCAE/ED-14D, and Def-Stan 59-41. For more information, click here.

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