This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

In a jamming environment, emergency response or law enforcement missions may be compromised by the lack or unreliability of communications. A counter-jamming exercise held recently by the US DoD was designed to educate operators regarding jamming and train them in resilient communications best practices.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) hosted JamX 22, an exercise to counter electronic jamming at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The exercise was designed to achieve two goals – to assess the effectiveness of resilient communications training for operational and technical personnel and to assess technologies designed to identify, locate and mitigate spectrum interference and measure the impact of that interference on communications networks.

JamX 22 was organized in two parts, according to dhs.gov:

Operation Trinity: an operational exercise with federal and first responder operations and technical personnel that assessed the effectiveness of CISA’s pilot Resilient Communications Training. The exercise placed responders in jamming and other communications denial scenarios to assess their training and how effectively they completed their mission and reestablished communications.

Project Resilience: an experiment with industry and federal partners that assessed tools and technologies to identify, locate, and mitigate spectrum interference, including illegal jamming signals, and measured the impact of interference on federal and public safety communications networks. The project tested DHS-developed tools and commercial technologies with carriers and communication providers.

Federal law prohibits the operation, manufacture, sale, marketing, importation, distribution, or shipment of jamming equipment.

“Illegal jamming equipment still poses a threat to emergency communications, with the potential to impact the safety and operational capabilities of emergency responders. Over the past six years, S&T has worked to help the emergency response community recognize, respond to, report, and resolve jamming incidents so they can be safer and better execute their mission,” said Sridhar Kowdley, S&T Program Manager. “The Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering enabled vital communications during JamX 22 by providing cellular (4G/5G) systems for public safety to use and test against jamming signals.”

The exercise included an array of technologies, most of which are designed to locate, identify and counter jamming capabilities, including antennas that null the jamming signals but not the desired signals.

The Science and Technology Directorate added two systems under development:

The Miniature Intelligent Spectrum Analyzer, MISCAN, is a wearable and vehicle-mounted device that detects and alerts first responders to radio interference;

PRiSM, a handheld network scanner and spectrum analyzer.

Kowdley said the goal was to deliver technologies that state and local agencies can afford, such as spectrum analyzer technologies that could potentially cost less than $1,000 but certainly no more than a few thousand rather than tens of thousands of dollars. He was cited by afcea.org.