The U.S. Department of Defense released its highly anticipated electromagnetic spectrum superiority strategy, aimed at guiding how the department will develop capabilities as well as partner on and pursue readiness within the spectrum to gain an edge on sophisticated adversaries.
In recent years, U.S. adversaries have sought high-tech methods to deny the electromagnetic spectrum, on which American forces often rely. These methods include jamming or spoofing communications, radars and munitions.
“The Nation has entered an age of warfighting wherein U.S. dominance in air, land, sea, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) is challenged by peer and near peer adversaries,” the strategy stated. “These challenges have exposed the cross-cutting reliance of U.S. Forces on the EMS, and are driving a change in how the DoD approaches activities in the EMS to maintain an all-domain advantage.”
“This jeopardizes the U.S. military’s ability to sense, command, control, communicate, test, train, protect, and project force effectively. Without the capabilities to assert EMS superiority, the nation’s economic and national security will be exposed to undue and significant risk.”
The strategy lists five strategic goals, each delving deeper into subordinate objectives. They include:
- Develop superior EMS capabilities.
- Evolve to an agile and fully integrated EMS infrastructure.
- Pursue total force readiness in the EMS.
- Secure enduring partnerships for EMS advantage.
- Establish effective EMS governance.
“The new strategy will have wide-ranging impacts across the DoD. It will shape the future of the department, influencing how the DoD makes decisions on how best to design, resource and implement EMS concepts as a new foundation for multidomain war fighting,” a defense official stated during a briefing to reporters on the strategy on background because the DoD would not let them speak on-the-record.
“The primary focus is a holistic approach to electromagnetic spectrum management and electromagnetic warfare,” the official said regarding departures from previous strategies.
In the past, the official said, some of those activities were siloed while the new strategy articulates freedom of action within the spectrum through a more holistic approach.
The strategy also noted that the DoD is transitioning from its definition that electronic warfare is separate from spectrum management to a more unified approach of electromagnetic spectrum operations, or EMSO.
The official said some of the particular technologies the department is looking for include dynamic spectrum-sharing technologies that need to incorporate sensing, accessing, sharing and maneuvers, frequency agility, frequency diversity, tools that minimize an EMS footprint, tools to reduce vulnerability detection, and resiliency against radio frequency-enabled cyberattacks.
“We’re also emphasizing modular, open-systems approaches, software designed systems, [a] more platform-agnostic approach instead of defined platforms as well as being multifunction,” the official said.
The strategy paints broad strokes for what’s desired and required beneath each strategic goal. However, the Pentagon is still working on a formal implementation plan to ingrain them within the department and armed services.