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Electronic warfare and the maneuver soldier.

As the nation, and thus the Army, continues involvement in asymmetric conflicts, we. find, as in all wars, there has been a rapid advancement in the use of technology. The past few-decades have differed from previous generations in that civilian technological advancements spurred military technology improvements whereas previous generations relied upon military technological discoveries lo advance civilian designs. Primary among these advances has been utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).

Those who have served downrange may have some basic familiarity with electronic warfare (EW) in terms of Counter Radio-Controlled IED (Improvised Explosive Device) Electronic Warfare (CREW aka "Warlock") systems. Virtually all U.S. Army formations had Navy or Air Force personnel attached to the unit serving as the electronic warfare officer (EWO). In the past few years. Soldiers may have noticed these roles. However, many do not more than CREW.

For more than a century, the radio waves that comprise a portion of the EMS have been critical to military operations, and today we see ever-increasing competition for spectrum utilization driven by both civilian and military users. Today's young Soldiers (and many of the old ones) cannot fathom life without a Blackberry or Wi-Fi. The U.S. Army's reliance on GPS has become such that it has seen fit to remove land navigation from the Warrior Leadership Course. But what happens when the use of the EMS is taken away from us? Amiy operations would come to a standstill without tools such as Blue Force Tracker (BFT). Army Battle Command System (ABCS), Command Post of the Future (CPOI ), or even the use of the ubiquitous single channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS).

Return of the Army EWO

After decades of neglect, the U.S. Army resurrected its electronic warfare capability. The Army realization that its EW discipline was woefully lacking was driven primarily by initiatives to protect our troops from IEDs. However, as the operating environment evolves, the more the Army understands the wider implications.of EW in operations. In order to correct this shortfall, the 29 Series Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was established: Functional Area 29 for officers and MOS 290A and 29E for warrant officers and enlisted personnel, respectively. Additionally, many Soldiers were awarded either the 1J (Operational Electronic Warfare) or the 1K (CREW Master Gunner) additional skill identifier (ASI) after receiving training. These personnel are trained at the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Okla., with ASI IK training being conducted at the Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. These EW professionals are beginning to appear at units throughout the Army. So what does this mean to the maneuver Soldier? There is a new asset available in the toolbox.


The Electromagnetic Spectrum Terrain

In maneuver warfare, one of our primary considerations is terrain. It impacts every operation that we conduct. The EMS is no different. In fact, if the maneuver Soldier considers the EMS as key terrain, the importance of EW becomes much more evident. The 29 Series Electronic Warrior enables the maneuver Soldier to control that terrain. To take that concept a bit further, the maneuver Soldier needs significant amounts of information to conduct operations but rarely considers the implications of how that information gets to them.

LTC Greg Griffin, 1st Armored Division EWO. noted. "Numerous warfighting functions are interested primarily in the information, and possess little concern for the medium of its employment. In contrast, the Electronic warfare cell is not focused on information, but on the medium, specifically the spectrum."

By controlling the spectrum, the maneuver Soldier controls the terrain in which both he and the adversary operate, from the strategic level down to the tactical. This includes space, land. sea. air, and cyberspace.

Three Pillars of Electronic Warfare

Many readers are thinking to themselves, "But isn't EW a function of Signal or Military Intelligence (MI)?" The answer is fciyes"... and "no." EW utilizes some functions of both disciplines, as well as those of Fires and Information Operations (IO). This multi-faceted field consists of three subdivisions: Electronic Attack, Electronic Support, and Electronic Protect.

Electronic Attack (EA) can be further broken down into two categories: destructive and non-destructive (you may also hear these referred to as kinetic/non-kinetic or lethal/non-lethal). Jamming, exemplified by CREW systems, falls into the non-destructive side, whereas directed energy weapons and High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) belong to the destructive side. Here EW touches on Fires and 10 by targeting adversary assets such as communications systems, radars, cellular phones, and civilian broadcasting facilities.

Electronic Support (ES) consists of activities such as direction-finding, electronic collection, and threat warning. Here EW merges Ml functions with Fires by providing a targeting ability along with intelligence products.

Electronic Protect (EP) also contains two subsets, as it considers protection from both friendly and adversary electronic effects. Frequency deconfliction. in coordination with Signal, ensures that the multitude of emitters fouling the spectrum do not adversely affect our usage. In shielding friendly devices from enemy actions, EP seeks to mitigate changes in adversary tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) through such means as reprogramming equipment with updated loadsets and by masking friendly systems.
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Title Annotation:TRAINING NOTES
Author:West, Lou
Publication:Infantry Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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