Enable breadcrumbs token at /includes/pageheader.html.twig

Army Expanding Electronic Warfare Training for Every Soldier

Officials plan for EW training at every Army base.

The U.S. Army is planning to expose every soldier, regardless of military occupational specialty, to electromagnetic warfare at their home bases.

“Every soldier in the Army has to understand the impacts of EW [electronic warfare], Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, commander of the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence, told reporters during a media roundtable at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta conference. 

The Army’s cyber school is partnering with the infantry and armor schools at the Maneuver Center of Excellence on a pilot project to include EW training during combat maneuver exercises “So, what the cyber school is currently doing, in partnership with the Maneuver Center of Excellence, our infantry and armor school, is going out and exposing the infantry and armor students to the effects of jamming, to the effects of geolocation through the EMS [electromagnetic spectrum] while they’re in school,” Gen. Stanton reported. 

Over time, the Army will expand the training to all soldiers. “The intent is to build that into the professional military education for the entire Army. We’ll start with the maneuver center, and then expand to the other centers of excellence,” Gen. Stanton added.

Todd Boudreau, deputy commandant, U.S. Army Cyber School, said the Army change is fueled by lessons learned and suggested it will ultimately save soldiers’ lives.

“What we’ve looked at is a pivot and how we are looking at home-station training for the maneuver forces. A lot of work has been done in creating a contested EMS environment,” Boudreau told reporters. “But what we’ve noticed from our own lessons learned, through [combat training center] rotations, through observations in the world right now, is that if an organization, a unit, is experiencing an electromagnetic attack, that means the adversary has identified you. They have located you. They have targeted you. And they have chosen to radiate you. They could have just as well chosen to eradicate you.”

Gen. Stanton stressed the importance, and some of the challenges, of providing the EW training at soldiers’ home stations. “You can’t just turn on a jammer anywhere in the back 40. You have to have a developed, controlled environment, have the authorization on the electromagnetic spectrum, including at altitude, to turn on these systems,” he pointed out.

The commander noted that soldiers are exposed to EW attacks at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. “We own large portions of the electromagnetic spectrum for training purposes at Fort Irwin. Now, what we need to do is take those same lessons and bring them back to home station so that the first time a soldier is exposed to being jammed is not when they’re being graded in their final exercise, or worse yet, in a real-world situation,” Gen. Stanton offered. "Now, that’s complicated. There are a lot of specific regulations we have to work our way through because many of those are localized, so we’re working our way through that right now.”

The cyber school is responsible for the Army’s electronic warfare training strategy and is exploring the resources needed at each base for robust home station training. 

Cyber Center of Excellence officials are already expanding EW training capabilities at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Until recently students have trained on a 2-acre lot, so only two classes could train at a time and can create spectrum interference for one another. 

Now, the Army has approved and budgeted for a roughly 600-acre training ground, but the base has identified enough funding to allow the training area to be used early. “That will allow us to go from crawling with our students to engaging the environment, movement and maneuver, light discipline, noise discipline in a combat environment,” Boudreau said. “We also have an airspace expansion program, which is on the cusp of approval. That will give us well above 10,000 feet to be able to do [unmanned aerial systems] and other drones effective for EW.”

Gen. Stanton added that electromagnetic warfare soldiers will likely be in the fight with infantry, armor and other forces. “Our electromagnetic warfare soldiers are likely going to be on the front lines with the units that they support. That’s where they can achieve that fix, that geolocation of enemy assets.”

Enjoying The Cyber Edge?