By Combined Arms CenterFebruary 26, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, Feb. 26, 2009) -- "Battlefield events in Iraq and Afghanistan compelled the Army to rebuild an electronic warfare capability that it had allowed to slip," said Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, in conjunction with the rollout of the Army's newest field manual, FM 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations.
"We encountered a threat we were not prepared for and we must learn from this lesson to ensure that our force is agile enough to deal with future contingencies," Caldwell said.
Upon announcement of the Army's new Field Manual 3-36, Caldwell warned that the military services and other agencies of government should be keenly aware of the rapidly developing threat posed by technological advances in the realm of cyberspace.
"We need to take the threat of cyber attacks seriously," Caldwell said. "Look at the recent attacks in Estonia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan."
Caldwell went on to say that the Army is moving rapidly to build a new cyberspace force with its own unique role while also moving resolutely to rebuild and update its legacy electronic warfare capabilities under the leadership of the Capability Development Integration Directorate, a major subordinate organization of the Combined Arms Center, at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
"Over the past several years we have learned how critical offensive and defensive EW is to our operations. The necessity for a full- time, solely dedicated EWO cannot be over stated.," said then- Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno in a memorandum to the Army's vice chief of staff in December 2007. Odierno now commands Multi-National Force-Iraq.
The impetus to establish and rebuild the Army's electronic warfare capability came as a result of Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices, said Lt. Col. Fred Harper, a key analyst for the TRADOC Capabilities Manager Computer Network Operations Electronic Warfare Division under CDID at Leavenworth.
"At the initial stages of our involvement in Iraq, the Army found itself fighting against insurgents who were using relatively simple electromagnetic devices with great effect to attack our Coalition forces," said Harper.
Determined insurgents in Iraq began building large numbers of roadside bombs from salvaged ordnance left behind by the Iraqi military, which were then detonated in highly effective attacks against U.S. convoys and personnel using off-the-shelf commercial electromagnetic-based devices such as cell phones or garage door openers. This was followed by similar attacks in Afghanistan.
"In attempting to respond, the Army discovered that it had little internal technical ability on its own to counter such attacks," said Harper. As a consequence, the Army found itself fighting on complex urban terrain against insurgents who were using the EMS with great effect to attack Coalition forces which had limited ability to counter such attacks."
As a consequence of such setbacks on the battlefield, the Army found that electronic countermeasures had been elevated from a relatively obscure niche in the Military Intelligence community to a critical combat enabler widely regarded among both Soldiers as well as civilian leaders as pivotal in deciding ultimate success or failure in the overall conflict.
In responding to this threat, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, then commanding general, Multi-Nnational Corps-Iraq, dispatched a memorandum to the Pentagon leadership in February 2006 stating that the Army Electronic Warfare capability needed to be rebuilt quickly.
Chiarelli warned, "With the proliferation of RCIED (Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device) countermeasures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in future Joint Task Forces and Combined Joint Task Forces, the requirement for EW expertise is a reality for Ground Forces now and into the future."
Chiarelli went on to request, "support for a mid-term solution to embed EW expertise in the next OIF rotation force" together with further steps including "development of a program to produce Soldiers skilled in the conduct of electronic warfare to meet current and future battlefield requirements."
Subsequently, the Army leadership threw the weight of its full support behind institutional commitment to rebuild EW as quickly as possible into a core Army military capability.
To facilitate rebuilding EW capabilities, the Department of the Army established the U.S. Army Electronic Warfare Proponent under the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth. Later on, responsibility for the development of Computer Network Operations requirements and capabilities was given to the proponent by Caldwell and the organization was formally re-designated as the U.S. Army Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare Proponent.
Later, the organization was re-designated as the TRADOC Capabilities Manager-Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare Division. CDID now serves as the Army's focal point for managing and integrating Computer Network Operations, cyberspace and EW development.
Working closely with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and supporting TRADOC Centers of Excellence, CAC quickly developed additional skill-level training for EW personnel at unit level that would enable basic EW support immediately to forward deployed units using Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare systems.
At the same time, CAC commenced development of Field Manual 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations, the first new EW field manual for more than a decade; and, it initiated a Force Design Update to identify personnel and organizational structure gaps.
Subsequently, the FDU identified a variety of EW personnel requirements as well as recommended modifications to Army organizational structure, including the need for adding EW, targeting and electromagnetic spectrum operations capabilities to the theater, corps, division, brigade, and battalion organizational structure. In addition, the FDU identified a requirement for Electronic Warfare coordination elements from battalion through theater-level to provide operational and tactical level planning, coordination, integration, and synchronization of EW in support of Army operations.
The FDU further validated the requirement for EW professionals (officers, warrant officers, and noncommissioned officers) to man these EW Cells as shown below:
A-fEoe Electronic Warfare Officer (Captain - Colonel)
A-fEoe Electronic Warfare Targeting Technician (Warrant Officer 1-5)
A-fEoe Electronic Warfare Specialist (Sergeant - Sergeants Major)
In conjunction with re-establishing EW within the Army, CAC has also taken steps to develop and integrate computer network operations and cyber-electronics into the broader Army suite of capabilities to ensure that cyberspace is optimally exploited by Soldiers and leaders of the future.
It has initiated a process to build an Army Cyber Career Force together with cyber-electronic capabilities.
"Recent events in Estonia and Georgia clearly show how cyber attacks directed at nation-states and military forces can have an enormous impact on operations," said Lt. Col. Chip Bircher, former Futures Division Chief under CDID. "These actions and others have been a wake-up call for how critical it is for the Army to transform the way we operate both in and through Cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.
"Commanders have to have the capabilities necessary to achieve the effects necessary to support all phases of operations. As cyber-electronic capabilities continue to advance, we need to begin posturing ourselves now to meet the challenges potential adversaries could bring in a complex operating environment," Bircher said.
"Our goal is to make Cyberspace Operations and Electronic Warfare enduring Army competencies," said Col. Wayne Parks, director of CDID's TCM-CEW. "When fully implemented across the Army, the management plans will accomplish two objectives: promote within the Army culture a broad understanding by all Soldiers and their leaders of the capabilities and limitations of Cyberspace and EMS operations; and the creation of a professional corps of subject-matter experts..."