This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The establishment of a Cyber Directorate in the US Army and a nearly completed strategy are ushering in a more productive era in electronic warfare capability development, according to Col. Jeffrey Church, the chief of strategy and policy in the cyber directorate.
The Army relies on the electromagnetic spectrum for everything from the individual soldier’s communications to precise weapons targeting and situational awareness, but the Army’s development and acquisition efforts for electronic warfare capability has been at a somewhat leisurely pace while other countries like Russia have mastered the use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The biggest indicator that the Army is getting serious about EW is its creation of the cyber directorate with a high-ranked officer, Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost which is no longer a part-time job for the operations directorate, Church said.
The directorate is staffed with about 30 people and will likely grow as the Army works through a manpower study. Thus far the study is finding the office should be about twice the size, he added.
The Army’s previous fielding plan for EW capability was too slow, according to Church. He told Defense News in an interview that bringing the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) capability, which will provide the ability to detect signals and jam them, won’t reach operational capabilities 2023.
At the center of what has yet to be decided is the contentious debate of whether the electromagnetic spectrum should be considered a domain, according to Church. EMS is already officially considered a maneuver space, but naming it as a domain has larger implications.
“That creates some challenges because domains require resources,” he said. “They all have soldiers and equipment and services against them … So if we come up with a domain called the EMS does that mean I need an EMS service?”
Church said more research needs to be done before a determination is made, but added that operating in the electromagnetic spectrum will only increase and “even if it isn’t a domain, we need to sort of treat it as if it were and we need to allocate resources against that spectrum.”