The House-Senate agreement on a fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill requires DoD to give Congress further insight on electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) and says that DoD should provide unclassified versions of any updates to last year’s classified Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy implementation plan.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), a senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee’s panels on intelligence and special operations and cyber/innovative technologies/information systems, sponsored the language on the unclassified versions.

The conference deal “includes provisions to enhance oversight of department operations in the information environment, including both military information support operations and cyberspace operations,” per a joint explanatory statement. “However, we are concerned that there is not yet sufficient clarity on how the Department of Defense plans, executes, mans, trains, and equips for [EMSO].”

In six months after the enactment of the fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill, DoD is to provide the congressional defense committees with a briefing that outlines authorities governing EMSO; the level of delegation regarding those authorities within operational scenarios; coordination and integration of EMSO within information and other domains; stakholders and their EMSO equities; and metrics to evaluate EMSO.

“As part of this briefing, the department should provide current operational vignettes illustrative of the full lifecycle of electromagnetic spectrum operations,” according the joint explanatory statement.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed the 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy’s classified Implementation Plan–the “I-Plan”–on July 15 last year (Defense Daily, Aug. 6, 2021).

The strategy is meant to propel DoD electromagnetic spectrum innovation in light of what DoD officials have said has been a lag in those advances in the last two decades due to U.S. electromagnetic superiority in conflicts against violent extremists.

U.S. Strategic Command is standing up a two-star commanded Joint EMSO Center, which is to evaluate, assess, and certify joint EMSO readiness and to identify joint force EMSO deficiencies and opportunities to improve mission effectiveness, interoperability, speed, and survivability.

“We are aware that the Department of Defense is considering establishing a Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Center at U.S. Strategic Command and view such an effort as value additive to supporting the joint force in planning, training and operations for the combatant commands with respect to electronic warfare,” the conferees on the fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill said.

While Section 151 of the House version of the fiscal 2023 defense authorization bill would have required DoD to notify the appropriate congressional committees within 48 hours of the department’s execution of a clandestine information operation, the conference agreement does not contain that provision.

The 2020 DoD Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy highlights future desired capabilities, including dynamic spectrum sharing, frequency agility; frequency diversity; wide tuning ranges; minimizing EMS footprint; reducing vulnerability to detection; and resiliency against radio frequency (RF)-enabled cyber attacks; modular, open system approaches; and software-defined systems.

The Association of Old Crows said that “Congress’ oversight role in how DoD implements the [Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority] Strategy is significant in finally addressing gaps that have existed for far too long.”

The U.S. Air Force wants the future Collaborative Combat Aircraft to have a jamming role.

In June last year, the Air Force stood up the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing under Air Combat Command to focus on offensive electronic warfare and consolidate all Air Force electromagnetic spectrum efforts (Defense Daily, June 25, 2021).