JED - February 2018 - 22

Big Challenges A
to Address EMSO


By John Haystead

The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2018


In the US, each of the four Services -
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines - as well
as the Department of Defense (DOD) writ
large, have different views on the priorities and expectations regarding what
is known as Electromagnetic Spectrum
Operations (EMSO). And, as is often the
case, that means they're taking different approaches toward achieving their
But, these individual differences
may be less important and less imposing
than recognizing the biggest EMSO implementation challenge, which is coming to common terms and developing a
shared understanding of the EMSO concept and the importance of the mission,
and moving out aggressively with a single-minded, long-term, assured-funding
approach to ensure rapid, affordable, interoperable and effective EMSO capabilities across the DOD. In fact, addressing
this larger common challenge, may pave
the way to solving the others.
JED is planning a series of articles
taking an in-depth look at the pathways
and progress to EMSO for each of the
Services, and this article will begin the
discussion with a big-picture analysis
of the current state of affairs. To help
with this objective, JED sought the support of Jesse "Judge" Bourque, currently
Senior Consulting Analyst, Expression
Networks LLC, supporting the Office of
the Secretary of Defense. Well known
to AOC members, Bourque has over 25
years of EMSO experience, including

as Operations Officer of USSTRATCOM's
Joint EW Center (JEWC), shaping the future of spectrum warfare. He supports
the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the DOD Chief Information Officer,
USSTRATCOM and the JEWC in pursuit of
operationally relevant, enduring, DODlevel governance for EMSO.

(Future Years Defense Plan)
Interest in, and recognition of, the
importance of EW, EC, EMW, EMSO, etc.,
has continually ebbed and flowed over
the years, depending on a number of
factors, but always involving available
funding levels. This has been, and continues to be the case, despite the obvious reality that funding levels don't
determine the threat or the capabilities needed to address it. Even so, the
focus on, and particularly investment
in, EMSO by all of the Services is often
shifted or re-organized into other more
expansive areas or comprehensive command structures, which are believed
to be more appealing or "sellable" to
This manifests itself in different
ways for each of the Services. However, one example, as noted by Bourque,
among others, is that "Generally speaking, the Services are all currently still
infatuated with the information warfare/cyber mantra." This is highlyrelevant, because although no one is
questioning the importance of cyber

warfare capabilities, or the overall notion of information warfare, an overemphasis on these areas, or others, can
and does cause confusion in defining
overall EMSO mission objectives and the
shifting of resources and expertise away
from the primary goal of assuring absolute EMSO superiority. This includes not
only investment in new technology and
new systems, but also collateral damage
in terms of maintaining adequate levels
of EMSO expertise throughout the Services. As Bourque points out, "If you let
your expertise age-out and move to different jobs and different places before
you've got a capability in place to train
new personnel, then eventually you will
erode to a point from which you can't
recover it. All you will have left is cyber
people who don't understand spectrum

Looking briefly at the positions of
the individual Services, it's no secret
that, following the end of the Cold War,
the Air Force began to shrink its Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) capabilities (with the retirement of the EF-111
Raven in the mid-1990s) in favor of putting its faith and funding into low-observable technology. As a result, the Air
Force's support jamming capability and
EW expertise is centered around a fleet
of EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, which
are mainly equipped for countering adversary communications networks.


JED - February 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2018

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Big Challenges Ahead as DOD Tries to Address EMSO Implementation
Tactical CEMA for the Mechanized Force
New Products
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - February 2018 - intro
JED - February 2018 - cover1
JED - February 2018 - cover2
JED - February 2018 - 3
JED - February 2018 - 4
JED - February 2018 - 5
JED - February 2018 - The View From Here
JED - February 2018 - 7
JED - February 2018 - Conferences Calendar
JED - February 2018 - 9
JED - February 2018 - Courses Calendar
JED - February 2018 - 11
JED - February 2018 - From the President
JED - February 2018 - 13
JED - February 2018 - 14
JED - February 2018 - The Monitor
JED - February 2018 - 16
JED - February 2018 - 17
JED - February 2018 - 18
JED - February 2018 - 19
JED - February 2018 - World Report
JED - February 2018 - 21
JED - February 2018 - Big Challenges Ahead as DOD Tries to Address EMSO Implementation
JED - February 2018 - 23
JED - February 2018 - 24
JED - February 2018 - 25
JED - February 2018 - 26
JED - February 2018 - insert1
JED - February 2018 - insert2
JED - February 2018 - Tactical CEMA for the Mechanized Force
JED - February 2018 - 28
JED - February 2018 - 29
JED - February 2018 - 30
JED - February 2018 - New Products
JED - February 2018 - EW 101
JED - February 2018 - 33
JED - February 2018 - AOC News
JED - February 2018 - 35
JED - February 2018 - 36
JED - February 2018 - Index of Advertisers
JED - February 2018 - JED Quick Look
JED - February 2018 - cover3
JED - February 2018 - cover4