Brig. Gen. Tad Clark, director of the Air Force’s electromagnetic spectrum superiority directorate, said modern wars will increasingly involve electromagnetic warfare, particularly to shape the battlefield when conflicts begin.
Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, pointed to SpaceX’s ability last month to swiftly stymie a Russian effort to jam its Starlink satellite broadband service, which was keeping Ukraine connected to the Internet. SpaceX founder Elon Musk steered thousands of Starlink terminals to Ukraine after an official sent him a tweet asking for help keeping the besieged country online.
“The next day [after reports about the Russian jamming effort hit the media], Starlink had slung a line of code and fixed it,” Tremper said. “And suddenly that [Russian jamming attack] was not effective anymore. From [the] EW technologist’s perspective, that is fantastic … and how they did that was eye-watering to me.”
The government, on the other hand, has a “significant timeline to make those types of corrections” as it muddles through analyses of what happened, decides how to fix it and gets a contract in place for the fix.
“We need to be able to have that agility,” Tremper said. “We need to be able to change our electromagnetic posture to be able to change, very dynamically, what we’re trying to do without losing capability along the way.”
Comment: Not really news by now, but sharp work by Musk, SpaceX and Starlink. First they got the terminals into Ukraine within a few days. Next they moved the satellites into place to optimize reception and then they spanked the Russians’ much vaunted radio-electronic combat capability. I was expecting much more from the Russians in this field, but it appears their marketing far out stripped their true capabilities here as in the rest of their military.
Space Force is young enough to grasp the agility, inventiveness and boldness of Musk’s deployment and defense of Starlink and incorporate those traits into its very soul. That would be a marvelous thing… a true hacker mentality. Semper Supra!