US Department of Defense Unveils its Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy

The US Department of Defense has published the DOD Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy. According to this, their strategy is to align the DOD electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) activities with the objectives of the 2017 National Security Strategy, the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and national economic and technology policy goals. The strategy attests to the need for freedom of action in the electromagnetic spectrum, at the time, place, and parameters of DOD’s choosing as a required precursor to the successful conduct of operations in all domains. The Strategy builds upon existing joint and Service doctrine and operational concepts that incorporate the full range of military activities in the EMS.

The rise of mobile systems and digital technology across the globe has placed enormous strain on the available spectrum for DOD’s command, control, and communication needs. This strategy will help set the conditions needed to ensure warfighters have freedom of action within the electromagnetic spectrum to successfully conduct operations and training in congested, contested, and constrained multi-domain environments across the globe.

The strategy addresses how DOD will develop superior EMS capabilities; evolve to an agile, fully integrated EMS infrastructure; pursue total force EMS readiness; secure enduring partnerships for EMS advantage; and establish effective EMS governance to support strategic and operational objectives. Investment in these areas will speed decision-quality information to the warfighter, establish effective electromagnetic battle management, enable EMS sharing with commercial partners, advance EMS warfighting capabilities, and ensure our forces maintain EMS superiority.

The Department is dedicated to a unified, holistic electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) approach which ensures Freedom of Action in the EMS at the time and place of choosing. Implementing the EMS Superiority Strategy enables us to take that bold action can dominate the spectrum in all domains and, if challenged, win against enemies.

The modern electromagnetic operational environment (EMOE) is increasingly complex and is congested, contested, and constrained. This Strategy addresses the complexity by advancing EMS sharing and maneuver to ensure continued spectrum access, as emphasized in the NSS and the 2018 Presidential Memorandum on Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future. The Strategy supports the full range of activities DOD must conduct in the EMS across the competition continuum. It recognizes that the same technology used to enable the maneuverability required in the highly contested near-peer environments can also be used to enhance access in highly regulated peacetime environments. It incorporates an EMS enterprise focus on superiority in congested and contested EMOEs of conflict as well as the need to test, train, and operate in congested and constrained peacetime EMOEs.

Great Power Competition

The strategy highlights the tremendous advantage afforded to the competitor that gains and maintains EMS superiority across the competition continuum and that by developing innovative asymmetric EMS capabilities, DOD can protect expensive friendly capabilities from disruption or attrition, while simultaneously denying or degrading the effectiveness of adversaries’ high-priced systems.

Strategic Goals

DOD will focus on five interdependent goals: develop superior EMS capabilities; evolve to an agile, and fully integrated, EMS infrastructure; pursue total force readiness in the EMS; secure enduring partnerships for EMS advantage; and establish effective EMS governance. The Department’s evolution in the EMS is necessary for the U.S. military's ability to effectively sense, command, control, communicate, test, train, protect, and project force. Modernizing to maintain a competitive advantage over near-peer adversaries will enable DOD to assert EMS superiority and mitigate risks to U.S. national and economic security.

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