GAO: US loses control as Russia advances in electronic warfare (EW)

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The U.S. Department of Defense presented a report on the U.S. electromagnetic warfare force’s state, which U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published. According to the Pentagon report, Russia has shown excellent efficiency in this area, as has China. Department of Defense analysts say the United States is at risk of losing control of the battlefield if it does not control the electromagnetic spectrum.

“The U.S. risks losing control of the battlefield if it doesn’t control the electromagnetic spectrum, according to the Defense Department. This range of frequencies is critical for communications, navigation, weapons, and more. Russian electromagnetic warfare forces, described by the Defense Intelligence Agency as “world-class,” have demonstrated effectiveness in real-world applications against U.S. and foreign militaries. China also has advanced capabilities,” the report said.

The U.S. military warns that the measures, strategies, and improvements taken so far in this area have not shown the desired effect and have failed. Recommendations are attached to this report by the Department of Defense to outline the direction of the U.S. electromagnetic warfare force.

The report mentions Beijing’s progress in this area of ​​defense, saying that new military units have already been formed in the Asian country and new drones designed to conduct such military operations.

The State Department says even Russia has gone further and has accurate data on the capabilities of its units after being able to make “successful real-world applications against the U.S. and foreign military.”

Why is the United States losing control in the race for electromagnetic warfare?

According to the Department of Defense, there is organizational chaos among military units in the army and administration in the first place. This chaos is describing as “dispersed governance, limited full-time senior-level leadership, outdated capabilities, a lengthy acquisition process, increased spectrum competition and congestion, and an inexperienced gap staff and realistic training.”

The GAO writes in its report that between 2013 and 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense developed two strategies for working in the electromagnetic spectrum. Still, the ministry itself did not implement either. The right people have not been recruited, radiofrequency operations have not been integrated into the Department of Defense itself, important structures have not been reformed, and no process has been developed to oversee all these actions.

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What is the electromagnetic spectrum?

The electromagnetic spectrum (the spectrum) consists of frequencies worldwide that support many civilian and military uses, from mobile phone networks and radios to navigation and weapons. This invisible battlespace is essential to Department of Defense (DOD) operations in all domains — air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.

The interruption of U.S. forces’ access to the spectrum can result in a military disadvantage, preventing U.S. forces from operating as planned and desired.

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