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DISA Advances Electromagnetic Battle Management System

Powerful tool will support U.S. combatant commanders and other leaders.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is developing an important solution to provide clear situational awareness for electromagnetic spectrum, or EMS, operations. The agency expects to roll out an initial version of the Electromagnetic Battle Management System, or EMBM, next spring, according to Alan Rosner, program manager, Joint Spectrum Center, Defense Spectrum Organization, at DISA.

Rosner spoke during a panel session of AFCEA International’s TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore in October 27.

The cloud-hosted, service-oriented architecture-based EMBM will provide a crucial, integrated suite of electromagnetic spectrum-related tools, services and data—including serving as a centralized platform for refined data about electromagnetic spectrum operations, Rosner said.

The system is an operational concept at this point. DISA officials are working with its main customer of the EMBM, the U.S. Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, to develop requirements. The funding began for the EMBM in fiscal year 2021 under an adaptive acquisition framework, which dictates rapid development milestones for emerging, critical technologies.

“The rules essentially say that you need to have that capability within a year of beginning the program, so we got focused immediately on what we could do to enhance situational awareness,” the program manager said. “We are working now on extensions to the Joint Spectrum Data Repository (JSDR) to be able to support any enhancements to situational awareness. We will be in a position next spring to put that minimum viable product out there, and we will continue to advance situational awareness as we go forward.”

The EMBM is being built on the shoulders of the Global Electromagnetic Spectrum Information System, or GEMSIS, which contains many tools still used departmentwide to support use of the electromagnetic spectrum on a global basis, Rosner said. GEMSIS includes frequency assignment measures and management of any capabilities in the DoD that rely on the EMS, all of which must be coordinated. GEMSIS also contains the JSDR that features related technology information and key tools, including dashboards and geographical displays.

The more modern EMBM is being targeted to assist the U.S. combatant command leaders—and possibly the Joint Task Force that may be stood up to support of EMS operations—to enhance the commanders’ abilities to plan and manage the use of the EMS during day-to-day operations, Rosner explained.

“There are a number of requirements that we're working on for EMBM, the most important of which is for situational awareness,” he said. “We are just trying to understand at any given time what's going on inside the electromagnetic spectrum for any given area.”

The commands all will use the EMS “in some capacity to move information up and down from various systems, and that's true of virtually all tactical systems,” Rosner continued. “What can a commander do inside of that EMS domain space, what are his is options.”

As a “multisource data fusion tool for rapid analysis,” the EMBM is being designed to provide a clear picture and options quickly. Rosner offered that the system is a key command and control tool, and ultimately support joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2.

“The EMS goes across all of the domains in JADC2,” he noted. “We see EMBM as the capability provider for the EMS space for JADC2. It's very important.”

Another crucial aspect of the EMBM is to support joint planning processes. Rosner reported that DISA is employing another contract vehicle, an other transaction authority, or OTA, to find “new ideas” on how to marry EMBM’s situational awareness capability with the joint planning tools.

In addition to the department’s demand, spectrum use is growing with commercial providers and in various host nations, Rosner said. “There is also the enemy,” he warned. “I tell people there's only one EMS and it's all shared. If there are operations near an adversary’s space, we have to consider an overall picture of the U.S.”