New Strategy Details Department Goals for Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority
(Source: US Department of Defence; issued Oct 29, 2020)
The Defense Department today released the "2020 Department of Defense Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy," a road map for how the U.S. military can maintain freedom of action in the electromagnetic spectrum at the time, place, and parameters of its choosing.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of radiation frequencies used to transmit information wirelessly. While frequencies above 300GHz make up infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light and x-rays, frequencies at 300GHz and below are used to transmit information for cell phones, television, radio, satellite communications, GPS and hand-held, two-way radios.

The Defense Department is one of the largest users of the EMS. For many years, the U.S. military remained uncontested in its use of the spectrum, meaning either domestically or abroad, wherever the military went, it was able to use whatever portion of the spectrum it wanted to facilitate its own communications.

It is no longer the case that the U.S. military has uncontested use of the EMS.

Speaking on background during a conference call early today, two defense officials explained how the strategy will be instrumental in helping the department maintain mastery of the EMS against near-peer adversaries, who are developing their own expertise in the EMS.

The strategy, one official said, aligns the department's spectrum-dependent activities with the National Defense Strategy's focus on lethality, alliances and partnerships, and reform with the goal of achieving operational superiority in the electromagnetic spectrum.

The strategy includes five goals to help the department attain that superiority:
-- Develop superior EMS capabilities.
-- Evolve to an agile, fully integrated EMS architecture.
-- Pursue total force EMS readiness.
-- Secure enduring partnerships for EMS advantage.
-- Establish effective EMS governance.

In the coming months, another official said, the strategy will be followed by an implementation plan that will operationalize and institutionalize the strategy. Development of the implementation plan has already started, the official said, through work with the department's chief information officer and other stakeholders in the department.

''The rise of mobile systems and digital technology across the globe has placed enormous strain on the available spectrum for DOD's command, control, and communication needs,'' said Dana Deasy, the DOD chief information officer. "This strategy will help set the conditions needed to ensure our warfighters have freedom of action within the electromagnetic spectrum to successfully conduct operations and training in congested, contested and constrained multidomain environments across the globe."

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Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy Released
(Source: US Department of Defence; issued Oct 29, 2020)
Today the Department of Defense announced the release of the DOD Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy.

“The rise of mobile systems and digital technology across the globe has placed enormous strain on the available spectrum for DOD’s command, control, and communication needs. This strategy will help set the conditions needed to ensure our warfighters have freedom of action within the electromagnetic spectrum to successfully conduct operations and training in congested, contested and constrained multi-domain environments across the globe,” said Hon. Dana Deasy, DOD chief information officer.

The purpose of the strategy is to align DOD electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) activities with the objectives of the 2017 National Security Strategy, the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and national economic and technology policy goals.

“This Strategy addresses how DOD will: develop superior EMS capabilities; evolve to an agile, fully integrated EMS infrastructure; pursue total force EMS readiness; secure enduring partnerships for EMS advantage; and establish effective EMS governance to support strategic and operational objectives. Investment in these areas will speed decision-quality information to the warfighter, establish effective electromagnetic battle management, enable EMS sharing with commercial partners, advance EMS warfighting capabilities, and ensure our forces maintain EMS superiority,” Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, wrote in the forward of the document.

The strategy attests to the need for freedom of action in the electromagnetic spectrum, at the time, place, and parameters of DOD’s choosing as a required precursor to the successful conduct of operations in all domains.

"The Department is dedicated to a unified, holistic electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) approach which ensures our Freedom of Action in the EMS at the time and place of our choosing,” said, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We cannot expect military success in any domain if we fail to take bold action to ensure that the United States and its Allies have freedom to act in the spectrum. Implementing the EMS Superiority Strategy enables us to take that bold action so we are able to dominate the spectrum in all domains and, if challenged, win against our enemies."

The Strategy builds upon existing joint and Service doctrine and operational concepts that incorporate the full range of military activities in the EMS.

The modern electromagnetic operational environment (EMOE) is increasingly complex and is congested, contested, and constrained. This Strategy addresses the complexity by advancing EMS sharing and maneuver to ensure continued spectrum access, as emphasized in the NSS and the 2018 Presidential Memorandum on Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future.

The Strategy supports the full range of activities DOD must conduct in the EMS across the competition continuum. It recognizes that the same technology used to enable the maneuverability required in the highly contested near-peer environments can also be used to enhance access in highly regulated peacetime environments. It incorporates an EMS enterprise focus on superiority in congested and contested EMOEs of conflict as well as the need to test, train, and operate in congested and constrained peacetime EMOEs.

Great Power Competition

The strategy highlights the tremendous advantage afforded to the competitor that gains and maintains EMS superiority across the competition continuum and that “by developing innovative asymmetric EMS capabilities, DOD can protect expensive friendly capabilities from disruption or attrition, while simultaneously denying or degrading the effectiveness of adversaries’ high-priced systems.”

Strategic Goals

DOD will focus on five interdependent goals: 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; and establish effective EMS governance.

“The Department’s evolution in the EMS is necessary for the U.S. military's ability to effectively sense, command, control, communicate, test, train, protect, and project force,” said the Hon. Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “Modernizing to maintain competitive advantage over near-peer adversaries will enable DOD to assert EMS superiority and mitigate risks to U.S. national and economic security.”


Click here for the full strategy document, on the Pentagon website.

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