To help commanders better understand their proverbial terrain in the electromagnetic spectrum, some combatant commands have created cells with planners who specialize in electromagnetic spectrum operations.

These cells, known as joint electromagnetic spectrum operations cells, sometimes referred to as JEMSOCs, are in their nascent stages and located at four combatant commands, Maj. Gen. Lance Landrum, deputy director of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team, told reporters Dec. 18. Those commands are European Command, Africa Command, Central Command and Indo-Pacific Command.

The new cells have been hampered from a lack of personnel and resources, according to a report delivered to Congress this fall. As a result, the Pentagon is expected to set aside money to help establish the teams.

“They are intended to be a ground zero of subject matter expertise for the commander to interpret the electromagnetic environment and give advice in both planning and operational maneuver,” Landrum said.

The cells play into a larger Department of Defense push to create better mechanisms for understanding, championing and operating in the electromagnetic spectrum.

“I can very firmly say we’re challenged in the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Landrum, whose team is working to update department-wide strategy on the electromagnetic spectrum. “Our competitors see [our] dependency and so they see that dependency as a possible vulnerability and because it’s viewed as a possible vulnerability, our competitors seem to have focused on it.”

However, despite experts in these cells helping with planning, the services still need battle management tools to help see the spectrum where they’re operating.

While the Pentagon is working on big picture, theater wide battle management tools, military leaders don’t have access to such a system today. In the future, commanders want a program that will provide a picture of adversary networks, systems and space as well as a visualization of friendly systems.

DoD is currently evaluating several existing systems that have primarily been used for tactical operation but could serve as a baseline for such a battle management system.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.

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