New Electronic Warfare Strategy Awaits DoD Approval

The U.S. Defense Department has finished drafting a strategy to improve its use of electronic warfare (EW), and the document is expected to receive high-level approval soon, an official said Nov. 29.

“This time next year, we will have a signed EW strategy by either this secretary of defense or the follow-on secretary of defense,” said Navy Capt. Casey Casad of the Joint Staff’s Force Structure, Resource & Assessment Directorate. “It’s written, it’s been sent up, it’s waiting to be signed.”

An E/A-18 Growler electronic attack aircraft in the foreground shadowed by a F/A-18 Super Hornet. Photo by Boeing.

An E/A-18 Growler electronic attack aircraft in the foreground shadowed by a F/A-18 Super Hornet. Photo by Boeing.

Casad and other speakers at an Association of Old Crows conference in Washington, D.C., said that EW is stove-piped among the traditional domains of air, land and sea, as well as among new ones, such as cyber, space and undersea. Integrating EW across those domains would improve the ability of the services to fight technologically advanced foes, the speakers asserted.

To remove such bureaucratic hurdles, "that strategy is going to call for some development in our organizational constructs, and it takes to task the services in some ways," Casad said. "We know that is going to take senior-level governance to harmonize some of those things."

Air Force Col. Jeff Aldridge, director of U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Electronic Warfare Center at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, said that threat development is outpacing the U.S. response, thanks partly to a slow acquisition process. Another challenge is that the services will continue to have unique needs, no matter how much jointness they achieve.

“There is no one size fits all,” Aldridge explained. “The Army may have over 10,000 apertures that are fairly static, whereas the Air Force may have as little as 40 to 50 apertures traveling at 400 to 500 knots across a very large area.”

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