JED - December 2016 - 34

interview

US Re p. Joe Pit ts
At the 53rd Annual AOC Convention and Symposium this year, the Association will award
the Gold Medal, its highest honor, to US Rep. Joe Pitts. Congressman Pitts first became
involved in electronic warfare while serving as an electronic warfare officer (EWO) on B52s in the 1960s. In 1999, just two years after Congressman Pitts was elected to the US
House to represent Pennsylvania's 16th District, he formed the bi-partisan EW Working
Group (EWWG) to educate his congressional colleagues and focus more attention on important EW issues. Congressman Pitts will retire in January 2017, after serving 20 years
in the House. JED spoke with him about the EW Working Group and what he hopes to see
it accomplish in the future.

JED:

How did you first get involved in electronic warfare?

Congressman Pitts:

The Journal of Electronic Defense | December 2016

34

My introduction into EW was from
my service in the US Air Force. It
was certainly a defining experience.
It was rather jarring and surreal to
be an EW officer at the time. What
stands out to me was, essentially, the
fact that you could hear and see the
enemy pinging you and targeting you
as you were conducting a mission. As
an EWO, I was always detecting the
emerging threats and had to wait to
see if we ended up scoring a hit. It
was a very unnerving experience. 

JED:

What events or trends
prompted you to establish the EW
Working Group in Congress?

CP: The idea of an EWWG grew out

congressional oversight of US and
NATO intervention in Kosovo. There
were numerous trends and policy
considerations surrounding that
conflict. There were a lot of new
questions and "unknowns" that
were garnering attention. Then, during the air campaign, when we lost
an F-117 Nighhawk, it revealed that
stealth, while an extraordinary capability, was not enough to ensure
air superiority. The cat-and-mouse
game of EW continued. Add to this
a growing competition for spectrum
that was taking place in the late '90s
as the digital/information age was
defining policy every front. From an
EW perspective, what stood out to me
was that the questions we were asking - about the role of EW in military

operations as an enabling capability
of our air power - these were not new
questions. These were questions the
US was asking back when I was an
EWO in B-52s.
I was concerned that we couldn't
answer some of the big questions and
learn new lessons moving forward if
we were unable to answer old questions and learn lessons from the
past. So for EW, it was something
that I felt I could do, at least in a
small way, to help us - Congress,
the Defense Department and industry - learn from the past and better
plan for the future. Congress didn't
understand EW. Many military leaders didn't understand EW, and it was
clear that over the previous several
years we stopped or dramatically
slowed investing in EW across the
Services. What Kosovo showed me
was that EW was still a "first in, last
out" capability. We needed it in 1999
as much as we needed it in previous
conflicts - and we would likely need
it as much, if not more, in the future.
I wasn't sure what Congress could or
needed to do to advance EW from a
policy or funding standpoint, but
I knew we could address one major
shortfall - education and awareness.
We needed to move the conversation forward. That's why I started
the EWWG - to not only understand
EW as a capability, but raise awareness about how essential it is and
will continue to be for success in any
military operation.

JED:

What were your top-level
goals for the EWWG when you first
started it?

CP: Again, the goal was to get the

conversation started and put a long
overdue spotlight on EW. It's easy,
or was easy, for EW to get lost in
the conversation for all the reasons
we've talked about for years. But
we learned very quickly that if you
asked the right questions, you could
get the right answers. We needed to
do that for EW. I wanted the EWWG to
be the connective tissue that brought
Congress, the Pentagon, industry and
academia together to move the conversation. Early on, we didn't have
any designs on what 21st Century EW
should look like, but we wanted to
fix some of the things that we felt
were holding it back, for example: an
office in OSD that would serve as the
belly-button for EW strategy, organization and investment in next generation capabilities - very similar to
the charter of the EW EXCOM today.
The EWWG is very pleased about the
work of the EW EXCOM and we hope
they succeed at their mission.

JED: Has the EWWG exceeded your
initial expectations? How so?

CP:

In some ways, yes. When we
started the EWWG, I didn't expect
for it to still be going strong almost
18 years later. We have several core
members who have dedicated a tremendous amount of their time over
the years to advancing the mission,
goals and objectives of the EWWG. The
AOC has played an important role in
this. They were early partners with



JED - December 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - December 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Interview: Col Jeffrey N. Aldridge, USAF
Interview: US Rep. Joe Pitts
The Future of Airborne Electronic Attack
Regaining the Advantage – Cognitive Electronic Warfare
Technology Survey: Flightline and Portable EW Simulators
AOC EW Singapore Preview
New Products
Report from the 2016 EW GCC Conference
Crows in the Community
The Heat is On
EW 101
Report from the 2016 AOC CEMA Conference
2016 AOC Award Winners
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - December 2016 - cover1
JED - December 2016 - cover2
JED - December 2016 - 3
JED - December 2016 - 4
JED - December 2016 - 5
JED - December 2016 - The View From Here
JED - December 2016 - 7
JED - December 2016 - Conferences Calendar
JED - December 2016 - 9
JED - December 2016 - Courses Calendar
JED - December 2016 - 11
JED - December 2016 - From the President
JED - December 2016 - 13
JED - December 2016 - 14
JED - December 2016 - The Monitor
JED - December 2016 - insert1
JED - December 2016 - insert2
JED - December 2016 - 16
JED - December 2016 - 17
JED - December 2016 - 18
JED - December 2016 - 19
JED - December 2016 - 20
JED - December 2016 - 21
JED - December 2016 - 22
JED - December 2016 - 23
JED - December 2016 - 24
JED - December 2016 - 25
JED - December 2016 - Washington Report
JED - December 2016 - 27
JED - December 2016 - World Report
JED - December 2016 - 29
JED - December 2016 - Interview: Col Jeffrey N. Aldridge, USAF
JED - December 2016 - 31
JED - December 2016 - 32
JED - December 2016 - 33
JED - December 2016 - Interview: US Rep. Joe Pitts
JED - December 2016 - 35
JED - December 2016 - 36
JED - December 2016 - 37
JED - December 2016 - The Future of Airborne Electronic Attack
JED - December 2016 - 39
JED - December 2016 - 40
JED - December 2016 - 41
JED - December 2016 - 42
JED - December 2016 - 43
JED - December 2016 - 44
JED - December 2016 - 45
JED - December 2016 - 46
JED - December 2016 - 47
JED - December 2016 - 48
JED - December 2016 - 49
JED - December 2016 - 50
JED - December 2016 - 51
JED - December 2016 - 52
JED - December 2016 - 53
JED - December 2016 - 54
JED - December 2016 - 55
JED - December 2016 - Regaining the Advantage – Cognitive Electronic Warfare
JED - December 2016 - 57
JED - December 2016 - 58
JED - December 2016 - 59
JED - December 2016 - 60
JED - December 2016 - 61
JED - December 2016 - 62
JED - December 2016 - Technology Survey: Flightline and Portable EW Simulators
JED - December 2016 - 64
JED - December 2016 - 65
JED - December 2016 - 66
JED - December 2016 - 67
JED - December 2016 - 68
JED - December 2016 - 69
JED - December 2016 - 70
JED - December 2016 - AOC EW Singapore Preview
JED - December 2016 - 72
JED - December 2016 - 73
JED - December 2016 - New Products
JED - December 2016 - 75
JED - December 2016 - Report from the 2016 EW GCC Conference
JED - December 2016 - 77
JED - December 2016 - Crows in the Community
JED - December 2016 - 79
JED - December 2016 - The Heat is On
JED - December 2016 - 81
JED - December 2016 - 82
JED - December 2016 - 83
JED - December 2016 - 84
JED - December 2016 - 85
JED - December 2016 - EW 101
JED - December 2016 - 87
JED - December 2016 - 88
JED - December 2016 - 89
JED - December 2016 - Report from the 2016 AOC CEMA Conference
JED - December 2016 - 91
JED - December 2016 - 92
JED - December 2016 - 2016 AOC Award Winners
JED - December 2016 - 94
JED - December 2016 - 95
JED - December 2016 - 96
JED - December 2016 - 97
JED - December 2016 - 98
JED - December 2016 - 99
JED - December 2016 - AOC News
JED - December 2016 - 101
JED - December 2016 - 102
JED - December 2016 - 103
JED - December 2016 - 104
JED - December 2016 - Index of Advertisers
JED - December 2016 - JED Quick Look
JED - December 2016 - cover3
JED - December 2016 - cover4
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