DOD bolstering electromagnetic survivability of systems

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to "Wild Bill" Platoon, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment conduct electronic warfare training during Combined Resolve XV, Feb. 23, 2021 at the Hohenfels Training Area. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua)

The Department of Defense is trying to “reinvigorate” electromagnetic spectrum survivability within systems as some services look to rebuild their arsenal and the Pentagon is trying to harden itself against more sophisticated adversaries in this space.

As part of the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS), which essentially provides the review and validation of the requirements for programs, the Joint Staff is incorporating EMS survivability on new systems only.

“The Joint Staff as part of the JCIDS process, we have in the system survivability, KPP, or key performance parameter. There’s an EMS survivability and there’s a handbook that program managers have to have to follow and unfortunately, though, it’s for new programs coming through the system,” Brig. Gen. Darrin Leleux, deputy director for the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO) Cross-Functional Team and deputy director for EMSO and space requirements within the Joint Staff J8, said during a presentation at the Association of Old Crows symposium Oct. 27.

For the raft of legacy systems that remain in the field, Leleux said readiness reviews undertaken by Strategic Command should provide commanders some semblance of risk regarding how their systems might survive against certain threats. These reviews will provide commanders a risk-informed understanding of the capabilities they have to accomplish their mission.

“I think that EMS readiness assessments that I was talking about earlier, that is one place where we will discover the mismatches between the operational environment that forces are going to be deployed and the capabilities that are brought forward if they don’t have the necessary electromagnetic protections that are required in that [area of responsibility],” Leleux said.

To ensure overall EMS survivability of systems, he said, it will be a mix of reviews.

For “the new systems that are coming through, we are in reinvigorating that review as part of the JCIDS process, but it’s also going to have to be looking at those systems that are already deployed, and assessing whether or not they have the resiliency that’s needed in the competition that they’re going to be expected to be deployed in,” Leleux said.