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Monday, September 26th, 2022

House bill seeks to bolster military electromagnetic spectrum operations readiness

© BAE Systems

The U.S. military would take steps to secure access to the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) needed to use many communication and navigational devices and to ward off enemy attempts at jamming or deception, under a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) would be directed to develop capabilities to conduct modeling and war-gaming scenarios for joint electromagnetic spectrum operations under the bill, the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Readiness Act of 2018 (JEMSORA), H.R. 5522,

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), the sponsor of the bill, said the United States has “lost our edge” in the EMS domain and “need to quickly restore readiness in the electromagnetic spectrum to ensure we can execute the national defense strategy.”

“As a career electronic warfare officer in the Air Force, I understand the critical importance of dominating the electromagnetic spectrum in combat,” Bacon, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and a co-chair of the Electronic Warfare Working Group, said. “This legislation will ensure the Department of Defense remains focused on this goal by requiring that it develop an advanced simulation capability, ensure better joint integration, and provide regular updates to Congress.”

The bill calls for a joint force sufficiency assessment of joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (JEMSO) and an interim update to Congress on JEMSO readiness, command and control, organizational alignment and personnel management by January 2019.

Speaking in support of the bill, an electronic warfare advocacy group, the Association of Old Crows, echoed the measure’s call for “‘the unified governance framework necessary to optimize” JEMSO appropriately.

“The EMS is literally at the center of all modern military operations,” Association of Old Crows President Lisa Fruge-Cirilli wrote in a letter to Bacon. “It is a continuous physics-based maneuver space that we must project, execute and sustain control of to win any conflict.”

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), a cosponsor of the bill, noted that DoD operations have become “increasingly dependent on electromagnetic spectrum access across all domains.”

“To improve national security readiness, effectiveness and efficiency, Congress must encourage coordination of Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations,” Panetta said. “This bill will help inform procurement, force development and operational planning and keep the Department accountable to Congress.”