Air Force leaders hope that by placing a general officer focused on electronic warfare on the planning staff at the Pentagon, they can improve the service’s strategy and force development in that area.
Following the Air Force’s year-long study on electromagnetic spectrum operations, the service decided to create an electronic warfare directorate within its A5/8 division for strategic plans and programs. The A5 oversees strategy, requirements and the new Air Force Warfighting Capability, which is responsible for Force design.
"To me it's [about] getting out of the hardware business," Vice Chief of the Air Force Gen. Stephen "Seve" Wilson said.
“What we told the chief is, ‘you didn’t have a dedicated leader to ensure that we continue to implement those things year after year, day after day,’” said Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, the directorate’s new leader and the author of the study. Gaedecke spoke at the Association of Old Crows International Symposium Oct. 30 .
The Air Force had done away with much of its capability in the electromagnetic spectrum. Now, it is having to reinvigorate its capabilities and its workforce.
Without a coherent strategy, dollars for new electronic warfare systems won't be as effective, a congressman said.
“We’ve gone decades with nobody in charge,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska, told reporters at the same conference. “I was angry when I was active duty because I thought we walked away from the best EW doctrine and capabilities in the early 90s. When I retired, we were second or third best.”
Gaedecke explained that in the A5, the electronic warfare directorate can shape the design of the Air Force. Additionally, as part of the Air staff now, he said, he is being included in forums, such as budget discussions, that rarely included representatives from electronic warfare in the past.
At the operations level, the Air Force also integrated electronic warfare under a single commander along with cyber, information operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance within 16th Air Force.