By Electronic WarfareDecember 18, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 18, 2008) - The second pilot iteration of the Army's new Electronic Warfare Officer Qualification Course (FA29) is scheduled to begin Jan. 12 at Fort Sill, Okla.
The initial version of the 10-week-long course is currently under development at Fort Sill. Iteration 3 is scheduled to begin June 1. Typically, a new course requires three separate pilot iterations to receive certification.
Warrant-officer and enlisted military-occupational-specialty-producing courses will follow.
By 2010 the Army expects to have more than 1,500 Soldiers trained in the art of "blinding and deafening" America's enemies by wielding the radio spectrum as a weapon, said Col. Laurie G. Buckhout, Army's chief of electronic warfare.
"I strongly encourage unit commanders of deployable and deploying units to nominate interested captains and majors," said Lt. Col. Jim Looney, Fires Center of Excellence, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, Fort Sill. "Electronic warfare expertise is crucial to units deployed in support of OIF and OEF."
Buckhout said she wholeheartedly agrees.
"We've got to be able to protect ourselves from spectrum-using threats, which we can't really do for ourselves today," said Buckhout. "We have the Air Force and the Navy doing that for us now and that is getting a little old for them and old for us. We want to be able to attack, blind, deafen and isolate the enemy before he does it to us."
The FA29 course is part of the Army's effort to create and resource electronic warfare as an enduring core competency. Buckout said course establishment is key prior to implementing and institutionalizing EW force structure - from the Army service-component command to battalion levels - in the active component, Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve.
The FA29 course contains EW training above and beyond the training currently offered in the operational EW course (ASI 1J). Attending the FA29 course will not cause an officer's career field designator to change. However, upon establishment of the FA29 career field, officers who attended the pilot course may apply for career-field transfer through normal channels. In the interim, attendees will be awarded the ASI 1J designation.
"Electronic warfare is the new battlefield, it's our new domain," said Buckhout. "This course represents a huge change for the Army and it is revolutionary in the way the Army is now looking at holistic electronic warfare - we're waging war on the spectrum. It's not just for the intelligence community anymore."
EW is also very versatile, Buckhout said.
"With EW, you can suppress IEDs, you can stop communications, and you can do suppression of air defenses so you can stop people from shooting at you," she said. "To stop their radars from finding you, you can do radar suppression. You can also use the spectrum to jam or screw up or deceive them on their GPS. Imagine enemy aviators flying and all of the sudden they have no GPS - that'll screw them up. You can also take out enemy formations the same way, by taking out their radars and sensors and their battle command."
The course is not listed in the Army Training Requirements and Resource System. Officers interested in course information and registration should contact Lt. Col. Fred Harper, U.S. Army Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare Proponent, at DSN 552-8538, or commercially at (913) 684-8538, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested officers can also contact Looney at DSN 639-2832, commercially at (580) 442-2832, or via e-mail at email@example.com.