The Army is nearly tripling electronic warfare personnel – TTG

“BELCAMP, Maryland — The Army will nearly triple the number of electronic warfare personnel in the next two years to begin staffing specialized units and staff sections at every echelon from brigade up. The schoolhouse is preparing to increase the number of enlisted electronic warfare personnel from 180 to 500 in the next year to two years, Brig. Gen. Paul Craft, commandant and chief of cyber at the Army Cyber School, said Wednesday at the Cyber Electromagnetic Activity conference hosted by the Association of Old Crows.”

“Adversaries have placed a high level of importance on the electromagnetic spectrum, investing in capabilities to jam communications or even geolocate enemy units based on their electromagnetic signature. As this maneuver space has gained attention, the Army wants more skilled personnel that understand the environment and can translate it to commanders to make more informed decisions.”

“In 2018, the Army folded electronic warfare personnel into the cyber branch converging around an emerging concept the service called cyber and electromagnetic activities, or CEMA. For the high-end personnel, the schoolhouse would send them to the cyber mission force at U.S. Cyber Command. However, others will learn foundational concepts of cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum and could serve in new tactical electronic warfare units or in integrated cyber, electronic warfare, information operations units, as well as staff sections.”

“The growth in personnel “is because of the number of CEMA sections that we’re going to have in every brigade combat team, every combat aviation brigade, every division, every corps, every ASCC [Army Service Component Command],” Craft said. “The CEMA sections have existed, but they’re being built out.” The CEMA sections are cyber and electronic warfare personnel that exist in the staff section at whatever echelon they’re assigned to and act as planners and managers of their disciplines for the commander. The plan is to have a staff section at every echelon from brigade up in the next five years.”

“Craft also noted the Army is in the process of building electronic warfare platoons and companies that will also exist within the brigade, division and corps levels. As part of Army unit design updates, every brigade combat team will have an electronic warfare platoon and a separate signals intelligence network support team.”  (C4ISRNET)

Comment: My first reaction upon reading this was it’s about freakin’ time. Radio electronic combat has received a strong emphasis in the Soviet Army and now appears to be even more impressive in the Russian Army. I have no idea how the Chinese are doing. Our decades long immersion in chasing jihadis from cave to cave left us ignoring this field or half-stepping through it at best. I would hope the Air Force and Navy have faired better.

Given the direction the technology has gone, it’s no surprise that the Army has integrated the EW career fields into the cyber branch, now called the Cyberspace Electro-magnetic Activities branch. The Army Cyber School is located at Fort Gordon, Georgia. (I wonder what the new name is going to be?) The Army Signal School is also there. That place must smell of ozone from miles away. Perhaps they will all eventually merge into one massive branch or it will morph into a combined center of excellence like infantry and armor branches morphed into the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Benning.

The consolidation and expansion of personnel in the Army’s cyber electromagnetic activity arena is just one part of a doctrinal, organizational, strategic and tactical shift in DoD’s theater level operations. But more on that in my next post.

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13 Responses to The Army is nearly tripling electronic warfare personnel – TTG

  1. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Well, let’s see. There are:
    Cryptology, Traffic Analysis, Electronic Warfare, and Computer or Cyber Security.
    All are important, but require somewhat different basic knowledge.
    Each requires a high level of knowledge to be successful at.

    Up until circa 1976 there was the Army Security Agency, in which I served.
    The “schoolhouse” was the ASA Training Center and School at Ft. Devens.
    (E.g., I am a graduate of its 16-week ASATC&S EW/Cryptologic Officer Basic Course.)

    ASA had two missions:
    supporting the national sigint program, at various fixed Field Stations, and
    supporting the field (maneuver) army, from Field Army down to Brigade, via ASA Companies and Battalions.
    I wonder if in effect the Army is recreating the tactical part of ASA?
    And maybe realizing that the merger of ASA with general MI, into INSCOM, was a mistake?

    On a more general social note, after Sputnik in 1957 there was a great emphasis on educating young men in math and science, so we could “catch up to the Russians”.
    This resulted in a fairly large pool of mathematically literate people the Army could draw on to staff ASA.
    Now, of course, the rage in academia is all about “social justice”, as the left defines that phrase.
    I wonder how that will affect the skill level of Army recruits.

    • Fasteddiez says:

      Keith Harbaugh

      In a way, you answered your own question.

    • David says:

      One other part of our post-Sputnik educational emphasis was increasing language and area studies-particularly Russian/Soviet and East European languages. While we claim to be returning to great power competition, we don’t seem to be making concomitant investments in top level LREC skills that will enable us to better understand our rivals. I am certain the Russians are not skimping on their English language training…perhaps it is time to restart the old US Army Russia Institute- with its two year immersion style curriculum. (The Département of State sent a few Moscow-based diplomats to that school—including Ambassadors Bill Burns and Jack Matlock)…

      • James says:

        What I have long wondered is when will everyone in Moscow under 30 be able to speak English just as everyone under 30 in Warsaw currently can.

        In most of the world making sure that your population can all speak English is an important part of the nations education efforts – but the Russians resisted that for a long time. I understand that they are on track to catch up with Warsaw, and that would be a very big deal in my opinion.

  2. aka says:

    well, it will really depend on how many will go to actual electronic warfare and how many will end up in “information operations units”.
    So what do “information operations units” do?
    Are they going to end up as a facebook or youtube, posts and comments army?

    • TTG says:

      Info ops is a hell of a lot more than waging meme wars on FaceBook and Twitter. DoD defines it as “the integrated employment of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”

      All that Facebook/Twitter stuff would fall under PSYOP. The PSYOP school is as Fort Bragg, or at least it was the last I looked. I doubt the Signal School or the Cyber School at Gordon has anything to do with that stuff.

  3. Leith says:

    We had a WW2 Marine vet in our VFW chapter who worked SIGINT. He had great sea stories, I used to stick around after the meetings just to listen to him tell of his experiences. He was in a radio intelligence platoon at the battles of Kwajalein and Okinawa. Mostly did direction finding, although they also intercepted message traffic and had Nisei with them to translate. He said those first generation DF models weighed 100 pounds and they had to be backpacked, no jeeps and no jeep mounts. That 100 pounds plus their basic load was overwhelming so he and many of the guys in his unit had been college football players before dropping out to enlist.

    On Okinawa they set up just one hogback away from Hacksaw Ridge with three DF sites about a mile apart for triangulation. Kind of a weird command structure they had to report to with three different bosses. They had to set up relatively far away from friendly HQ because of interference. And none of the folks they were working for resupplied them. So after their rations were gone they survived by cumshaw and scrounging or Japanese field rations.

    After VJ Day they got shipped to Tsingtao in China to try to locate holdouts from the Kwantung Army and repatriate them to Japan.

  4. Rob Waddell says:

    Great post TTG..

    Big advance from the days when they were know as ‘sparkies’. Good for the US Army and good career prospects for those graduates who ‘do their time’ and want to move on and that suits the whole nation.

    Radio engineer graduates and technicians are in short supply everywhere in the world so the only way is to train them to those positions; what a great career for a tech minded 18-20 yo. ! I hope they manage to keep hold of them though; the civies like to poach ’em.

  5. Keith Harbaugh says:

    The following is relevant to this topic:

    U.S. Army cyber warfare experts are rediscovering electronic warfare (EW) for ground operations, as centralized command authorities combine cyber and EW operations into a new discipline known as spectrum warfare.

    For a look at EW equipment the Army once used, you can Google
    army tacjam
    army tacelis

    ASA also had airborne (both fixed and rotary wing) capabilities for comint, elint, and, I believe, EW, but I forget the names of the systems.
    But see

  6. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Also useful is this 48 pp. C&GS report (I can’t figure out how to copy the link to it):

    Electronic Warfare and Organizational Encopresis:
    The Neglect of the US Army and Its Intelligence Branch to Advocate for Warfighting Capabilities in the Electromagnetic Spectrum,
    by MAJ Kenneth T. King, 48 pages.

    This monograph focuses on stunted development of the US Army’s modern electronic warfare (EW) capability. It compares the technological change that occurred in the US Army, Air Force, and Marines as it relates to the electromagnetic spectrum. It explores how the Army’s Intelligence Branch, which was the proponent of the EW discipline from 1955 to 2005, mismanaged the discipline. Additionally, this monograph evaluates the Army’s different operational concepts and the degree to which they advanced or retarded EW capacities. The US Army and Intelligence Branch involuntary and intentionally neglected EW at different times throughout the history of the capability. A situation, from which the psychological disorder of encopresis is a metaphor. The US Army is still neglecting the EW discipline as of the writing of this monograph even as its competitors continue to advance its EW technology and tactics.

    • TTG says:

      The monograph is a DTIC PDF.

      The main point is that EW is not intelligence collection. It is not SIGINT. The same can be said for cyber ops or info ops. To tie any of these disciplines too closely to intelligence is a disservice to all.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        BTW, the author made one glaring error.
        The last CG of ASA, and the first CG of INSCOM, was William ROLYA, not Roya.
        Kind of surprised none of the reviewers caught that.

        On the relation between ELINT and EW, my training was that good ELINT was often a prerequisite for effective EW.
        At least that was what we were taught in 1973 at ASATC&S.
        Seems to make sense, although I was never a practioner of either.

  7. Leith says:

    I agree with Keith H. What we long ago used to call ESM was an intel function used to detect, locate, and understand how to avoid, jam, or deceive enemy radars, radios, etc. At least that was true in the Navy/Marine Corps community. I suspect it was the same in the USAF. That acronym has probably changed several times since last I heard it. But the concept remains valid.

    Regarding Major King’s monograph: He raises some good points, no way should INSCOM have been the emperor of EW. And his point of the fast rate of change in communications technology is well founded and suggests that EW systems whether air or ground or sea should be not be hardwired – they should be like delivery trucks able to quickly change out and accommodate any specific features needed. But he has missed others. He never mentions spoofing or deception which is much preferable to jamming. And never mentions decoys. He never brings up airborne EW pods or payloads. Never makes note of UAVs as EW platforms, which is the way the AF is going with their Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) and MALD-J jammer. The Navy is getting a MALD-N version. The Marines now have a General Atomics Reaper configured for EW as well as targeting. And they will probably eventually get MALD-Ns for the EW variant of their F35B. The Army needs something similar but configured to their threats and their concept of operations.

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