Report establishes electronic-warfare rules

The Federation of American Scientists has posted a new publication issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff covering joint-forces doctrine for electronic warfare.

The report, "Joint Publication 3-13.1, Electronic Warfare," released Jan. 25, establishes the rules for electronic-warfare planning, preparation, execution and assessment in support of joint operations across U.S. military services, and the basis for involvement in multinational operations.

As the electromagnetic spectrum gets more crowded with broadcasts from devices of every kind, from sensors to video feeds on unmanned aerial vehicles, computers to radios to wireless devices, all in support of network-centric operations, the risks to military forces from EM disruption grow significantly. This publication lays out the scope of electronic warfare and addresses the organizational responsibilities for protecting spectrum use and disrupting enemy forces' spectrum use.

There are three main elements of electronic warfare: electronic attack, electronic protection and electronic-warfare support.

Electronic attack "involves the use of electromagnetic energy, directed energy, or ant radiation weapons to attack personnel, facilities or equipment with the intent of degrading, neutralizing or destroying enemy combat capability and is considered a form of fires," the document states. Electronic protection "involves actions taken to protect personnel, facilities and equipment from any effects of friendly or enemy use of the electromagnetic spectrum that degrade, neutralize or destroy friendly combat capability."

Electronic-warfare support involves "actions tasked by, or under direct control of, an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify and locate or localize sources of intentional and unintentional radiated [electromagnetic] energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning and conduct of future operations."

Because the Global Information Grid ? the Pentagon's primary electronic conduit for secure and unclassified network traffic ? relies on the electromagnetic spectrum, "[o]ne primary consideration of [electronic warfare] activities should be their effect on the [GIG] ? (including tactical communications systems) and the possibility of spectrum fratricide on friendly communications," the publication warns.

Coordination of any EW activities has to be carried out by several organizations, including the specific theater network operations control center, joint management office and the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, in order to "deconflict" effects of electronic warfare on the GIG. Electronic-warfare tactics also must be deconflicted with the specific spectrum requirements of systems used by network-enabled operations, the publication states.

Patience Wait is a staff writer for Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Government Computer News.

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