The Army may not currently have a traditional program of record for long-range electronic attack, but that’s not stopping officials from moving ahead to meet operational needs from the field.
Leaders are evaluating different options to meet those needs, including different ways of fielding capabilities in spirals and coordinating with coalition partners that do have such tools already, officials said at an Association of the U.S. Army event held Dec. 13 in Arlington, Virginia.
“As far as a program of record, I’m not going to put dates out because our models changed. As we’ve gotten those approved we’re going to go back and look at this new spiral and when we can move things at a faster rate,” said Maj. Gen. Patricia Frost, who heads up cyber and electronic warfare policy in the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7.
“I will tell you that today, based on operational needs statements, we have already delivered small capability to U.S. Army Europe. We have another phase of capability rolling out in the January-February time frame. And now we’re looking at other priorities in other theaters … what do we have available today, what might be available in six to 12 months?”
Frost said that in 2018 the Army will be looking to industry to help fill theater-level capability gaps, and she also noted that her office is working with the Army Rapid Equipping Force and the Rapid Capabilities Office to quickly develop and deploy EW capabilities.
Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Army Cyber Center of Excellence, said Army leaders are trying to executive against a different model that isn’t based on hard timelines but on operational needs statements.
“If we’re doing evaluations of capabilities late in [fiscal 2018], the first question right behind it is that we need decision points for potential acceleration,” Morrison said. “That’s just a different model that the Army is looking at, but when you have such a gap you need to have that kind of flexibility, and that’s how senior leaders are looking at it.
“And that’s not just in electronic warfare … it’s occurring in cyber, where an operational need is identified and we’re able to rapidly, below the [Army Requirements Oversight Council] level, get it approved as an operational requirement” and get solutions approved and fielded as soon as possible.
Another avenue the Army is pursuing in long-range electronic attack: coalition capabilities. Frost said there are now monthly meetings at the Joint Staff level convened by an Electronic Warfare Executive Committee, in which leaders from across the services are meeting to go over existing and future capabilities, who’s doing what and how they could fight together.
“We are laying out what is the joint war fighting capability, and then what are the services looking at within that space? Because we don’t want to look at duplication,” Frost said.
“All the services are resource-constrained in some manner, so what is needed for, say, the land components, and what is need for the joint war fighter? Those are very deliberate discussions in which we lay out our future programs and capabilities that we’re looking to spiral … so we have an understanding of how those would be integrated into joint war fighting.”