DoD pledges militarywide alignment on electromagnetic spectrum ops

WASHINGTON (c4isrnet): The Department of Defense released its much anticipated plan to implement its electromagnetic spectrum operations superiority strategy, promising departmentwide coordination to buy needed technologies and align operations.

Officials shared a few details about the classified plan, including that a high-level oversight team has established procedures to integrate joint spectrum operations. In the fall, EMS strategy oversight responsibilities will transfer to the DoD chief information officer for enterprisewide approach.

Members of Congress and outside experts have long been waiting for the implementation plan noting the strategy lacks teeth without a robust plan to realize its goals. Officials initially expected to release the plan around March, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin didn’t end up signing it on July 15.

The EMS strategy and accompanying implementation plan will be a critical component for success of the DoD’s emerging Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept, which seeks to more seamlessly connect sensor information to shooters to allow for faster decision-making. That vision for how to win future conflicts against advanced adversaries relies on the ability to control the spectrum. Without control, adversary disruptions could prevent friendly forces from communicating, accessing location data or seeing incoming threats typically detected by radars.

Ahead of CIO assuming oversight, a team lead by the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff established processes and procedures to develop, integrate and enhance joint electromagnetic spectrum operations across all domains. That oversight group is working within the EMSO Cross Functional Team.

“The CFT handoff of oversight of the electromagnetic spectrum superiority strategy I-plan to the DoD CIO early this fall establishes the enterprise approach and focus needed to maintain EMS superiority,” Vernita Harris, director of the spectrum policy and programs directorate within the DoD CIO office, told reporters.

The plan will establish a new entity beneath Strategic Command called the Joint EMSO Center, or JEC. This two-star organization will have expanded authorities to evaluate, assess and certify joint electromagnetic spectrum operations readiness and identify deficiencies in capabilities across the joint force.

“What we’re really doing here is answering the question are we ready and able to operate in a complex electromagnetic operating environment,” said Brig. Gen. AnnMarie Anthony, deputy director for operations for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations.

The implementation plan created a framework to drive investment prioritization within the EMS by establishing capability planning guidance.

“To date, the department has lacked a comprehensive portfolio-based approach to prioritize, synchronize and integrate EMSO capability investments,” said Brig. Gen. Darrin Leleux, deputy director of the EMSO CFT.

While the services set their own budgets, officials said they are in sync, and there are mechanisms in place for greater alignment in procurement of new capabilities that integrate and close gaps in contract to adversary capabilities.

The capability development plan is one way officials hope to develop a prioritization scheme between components and services.