By Sean KimmonsDecember 2, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Electronic warfare Soldiers will soon be working more closely with their cyber counterparts, as Army officials plan to move both specialties into the same career field and put new doctrine to the test.
Within two years, Army officials hope to have a cyber electromagnetic activities operational detachment ready to train for future warfare.
"We're going to look at an operational capability that we're going to deploy to a theater to practice what we preach," said Brig. Gen. Patricia Frost, director of cyber for the Army's G-3/5/7.
The electronic warfare 29-series career field will also fall under the cyber operations 17-series career field by October 2018, she said. Before that happens, new electronic warfare operators will begin training on a foundation that also includes cyber and signals intelligence.
"That is really critical when we look at what the foundation is needed to operate in this space," Frost said Thursday during a panel discussion hosted by the Association of the Old Crows, an international organization specializing in electronic warfare and information operations.
The changes are in furtherance of her directorate's top priority of integrating cyber with electronic warfare and information operations in order to keep Soldiers at the cutting edge.
"We maneuver in the electromagnetic spectrum," Frost said. "Almost all joint warfighting functions require access if you're going to perform an electronic war at its max efficiency."
In multi-domain battle, access to those capabilities could also be spread much easier among the Army, its sister services and allies if they all share a holistic approach to defense.
"How we defend and share defense technologies is very important," she said. "You want every commander to be able to see every domain. We want them to be well informed going forward in combat operations."
But this may be complicated if the Army and its joint partners decide to use cyber and electronic warfare differently.
"At the end of the day, it's not an Army fight, it's a joint fight," the general said. "So we need to understand all the capabilities across the joint warfighting force that's operating in this space."
That's one of the reasons the focus now is on training up and forming the cyber force before rolling out equipment.
"I'm not concerned about the resourcing today," Frost said. "I'm more concerned about the reorganization and the training of the personnel."
"You can deliver a material solution and capability to a theater," she added, "but if you don't have the people who trained behind that, that material will just sit somewhere in a container."
(Follow Sean Kimmons on Twitter: @KimmonsARNEWS)