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US Army wants to converge through the electromagnetic spectrum

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has honed in on the electromagnetic spectrum as the center of its multidomain operations success, according to a top officer at the heart of the effort.

The Army’s new Management Office-Strategic Operations (DAMO-SO), stood up in January within its operations and plans directorate, is the office now in charge of cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, space, enterprise IT networks, tactical communications networks, data architectures and artificial intelligence.

The organization’s goal is to integrate, synchronize and prioritize critical elements of warfighter transformation and develop multidomain data enabled warfighting systems, its director, Brig. Gen. Martin Klein, said during a virtual presentation Oct. 14 as part of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting.

But, “the main thrust of our directorate is really to look within the electromagnetic spectrum and to ensure that the capabilities that will provide our Army with those decisive advantages in the new contemporary environment,” he explained.

“We’re certainly striving to build data and digital transformation as a core competency within our Army. As we look at navigating through the electromagnetic spectrum, we do that with a very intimate understanding that the electromagnetic spectrum touches all domains, but it touches the land domain probably more than any other.”

Klein has previously said his office will serve as the Army point of contact for joint initiatives with the other services, namely Joint All-Domain Command and Control. That effort aims to link sensors and shooters for faster command and control and battlefield effects. The Army and Air Force have recently signed an agreement to move forward with what they are calling Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2), which folds in partner nations.

DAMO-SO’s chief of staff, Col. Yi Se Gwon, added that spectrum is the baseline medium for which the current and future force will be dependent upon.

That dependence runs from the enterprise data systems to the warfighting networks that are going to form the infrastructure for CJADC2, Gwon said, which both units and capabilities will ultimately need to be able to execute non-kinetic maneuver in contested battlefields.

DAMO-SO is also keyed in on the Army’s three tenets of multidomain operations, which include convergence, calibrated force posture and multidomain formations.

Klein’s presentation noted that CJADC2 is fundamental to these tenets, particularly convergence, which a chart outlined as linking the right artificial intelligence sensors to the best “shooters” — meaning either a platform or capability — as well as the right command and control node to create near real time joint kill webs.

“For the Army, convergence is really rapidly and continuously integrating capabilities throughout multiple domains, not only within Army platforms, but within joint platforms,” Klein said. “These sensors are not only sensors that sense and detect enemy formations with our intelligence capability, but it’s also sensing the right logistics, having predictable logistics.

"Having the ability for commanders to develop certain technical means to get after developing courses of action, but really tying the thread, closing that very important kill chain, enabling a commander to understand, act and decide faster than the adversary within the appropriate authorities.”

Drilling even deeper, officials have discussed something they’re calling “layered convergence,” a pattern which would feature include cyber capabilities that stimulate the environment, space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance targeting, electronic warfare degradation of radars and other systems, long rang precision fires striking targets from far distances and space-based ISR conducting the battle damage assessment.

“This layered convergence means that the ability of cyberspace operations forces to use the [electromagnetic spectrum] to deliver effects is going to be time phased, with high altitude ISR including capabilities like our [Multifunctional Electronic Warfare] Air capability to both sense the adversary, apply effects and geolocate to be able to simultaneously bring your non-lethal capabilities and your lethal capabilities to bear to generate effects on the battlefield,” Adam Nucci, deputy director of DAMO-SO, said during a virtual presentation as part of the Sept. 29 Association of Old Crows conference.

In order to realize these effects for CJADC2, a transformational shift in culture is going to be required to ensure success.

“Our activities during competition, how we develop targets, our approach to how we integrate non-lethal fires, theater ISR, information, joint airspace, is really going to require transformation from the way we’re currently doing business,” Gwon said.

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