Army initiates electronic warfare capability
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dorneman controls the switch panel to raise the Joint Land Electronic Netted Sensor (J LENS) tower during maintenance at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The J LENS is used to provide security for Kandahar Airfield.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 7, 2006) - The Army is developing a new core competency for career Soldiers and officers interested in becoming electronic warfare specialists.

"As the Army continues to face an increasingly sophisticated, learning and adaptive enemy, who will engage in asymmetric warfare characterized by irregular tactics, terror, and the use of the most deadly casualty-producing means available to them, we find ourselves needing to develop new ways to attack and defeat these adversaries," said Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace Jr., Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.

"As nation-states, both friendly and hostile, move forward into ever more technologically-complex domains, we need new tools and capabilities to better address a full spectrum of challenges."

In the early stages of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, commanders quickly realized that they needed highly trained and qualified Electronic Warfare personnel within the Army.

The Navy was able to step in to assist in this fight by providing trained electronic warfare operators, both commissioned and enlisted, to support ground forces. This effort proved to be such a combat multiplier that in April 2006, Headquarters Department of the Army established the Electronic Warfare Division as part the Army Asymmetric Warfare Office.

The Electronic Warfare Division's mission is to oversee electronic warfare policy, programs and resources within the Army.

In May 2006, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army directed G-3 to establish electronic warfare as an enduring core warfighting competency within the Army. Specifically, he directed the G-3 to develop an electronic warfare force structure and operational concepts which strengthen the Army's strategic vision and supports the ground force component commander allowing for seamless employment within the joint warfighting environment.

Under the Vice Chief's guidance, the Army is planning the development of a military occupational specialty and an officer career field. These Soldiers are already embedded in units and preparing to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to do "battle hand-off" with the Navy EWOs on the ground.

"The Army has come a very long way in a few months, said Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout, chief of the Army's Electronic Warfare Division. "Today, we have EW training bases at Fort Huachuca and Fort Sill turning out enlisted and commissioned Soldiers who carry the electronic warfare additional skill identifiers or ASIs of 1K and 1J tactical and operational electronic warfare operators."

One of the greatest emerging warfighting domains is the electromagnetic spectrum, the largely invisible space over which radio waves, light waves, and directed energy can travel.

The Army has long developed systems which depend upon the spectrum for communications, radars, targeting assets, laser and radio frequency guided munitions, Global Positioning Systems, Blue Force Trackers and all manner of sensors for collecting intelligence and information.

Currently, the Army is developing a much more robust network in its Future Combat Systems program. This will connect many new manned and unmanned systems that will enhance Soldier capability and protection.

"Over the years, despite its reliance on the electromagnetic spectrum, the Army has not kept pace with the development of appropriate tools and skill sets to ensure unimpeded use of this domain," Buckhout said.

"Today's enemy is as sophisticated as we are - and in many cases, less tied to conventional means of warfare," she added. "This means we must poise ourselves to both defend our use of the spectrum and also to be prepared to take the fight to the enemy. One of our most important weapons in this fight is electronic warfare."

Army transformation is building capabilities required to execute the full spectrum of operations required of Army organizations today and expected in the future.

Lessons learned from these operations indicate EW to be vital for the Army to meet its full spectrum requirements; therefore, the Army is accelerating its effort to build EW capability to enhance ground combat operations. Training and Doctrine Command has been designated the Combined Arms Center as the Army's Electronic Warfare Proponent.

(Ey is assigned to the Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.)

Page last updated Thu December 7th, 2006 at 11:48