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AOC 2018: New Pentagon team to address EW gaps

2nd December 2018 - 17:28 GMT | by Marc Selinger in Washington, DC

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The Pentagon is forming a team to identify gaps in US electronic warfare (EW) capabilities and develop recommendations for addressing them, it emerged at the recent Association of the Old Crows (AOC) 55th International Symposium & Convention in Washington, DC.

Officials from the US Department of Defense (DoD) have picked a potential team leader but have not yet presented their recommendation to Defense Secretary James Mattis for his consideration, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said on 28 November.

Lord said the ‘cross-functional’ team, which will look across equipment, personnel and procedural areas, will serve as a ‘working group’ for the DoD’s existing EW Executive Committee, which she chairs with US Air Force Gen Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The EW Excom broadly assesses the effectiveness of EW programmes across the military services. The new team, which was mandated by Congress, will ‘give us an ability to deep dive’ into specific capability shortfalls, Lord said.

‘Whenever we have a directed cross-functional team, it allows us within the department to bring all the different voices together and focus on a particular warfighting challenge,’ she told the AOC audience. ‘This direction is going to allow us to provide even more focus on this critical area.’

The requirement to create the team is included in the FY19 defence authorisation act, which became law in August. Lawmakers have expressed concern that the US is losing its EW technological edge over China and Russia, and they have urged DoD to act swiftly to restore American superiority.

Lord said the Excom is scrutinising radar advances by potential adversaries and the impact they could have on US aircraft. The F-35 is receiving particularly close attention, and capability improvements that emerge for the stealth fighter are expected to help guide enhancements to other aircraft.

‘While the details are classified, we are taking very deliberate actions to address this technical challenge,’ she said.

Marc Selinger

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Marc Selinger


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