The US Armies are vulnerable on the electromagnetic spectrum according to the US Air Force

In 2014, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Alan Shaffer, one of the most respected personalities at the Pentagon, sounded the alarm about the capabilities of American forces in terms of electronic warfare. According to him, the United States had nothing less than “lost control of the electromagnetic spectrum”, in the face of the progress made by its competitors such as Russia or China. He also added that the situation will deteriorate as all of the operational capabilities of the American armed forces will increasingly rely on intense use of this spectrum, so that the issue was critical for the future of the the very effectiveness of the US armies on the international scene. At that time, however, such talk, even from such a respected figure, had great difficulty in gaining traction, and Shaffer's concerns and predictions were moderated by the majority of other political and military actors in the Pentagon at the time. , so that the warning did not give rise to any awareness, in the United States any more than among its allies.

9 years later, the geopolitical and strategic context has obviously evolved considerably, between the war in Ukraine, the tensions between NATO and Russia, and the increasingly precise perspective of a probable future conflict between the United States and China around Taiwan. Unfortunately, in terms of electronic warfare and control of the electromagnetic spectrum, not only has the situation not improved for the US forces, but it has even deteriorated significantly. Thus, during congressional hearings on the Pentagon's 2024 budget, the commander of the US Air Force's new electromagnetic spectrum warfare wing, Colonel Joshua Koslov, also painted a very disturbing picture as to the capacities it actually has to try to reverse what is now identified as a structural weakness of the American armies, and more generally, of the Western armies, in particular in the face of China and Russia.

Krasukha russia Military balance of power | Defense Analysis | Awacs and electronic warfare
Russian jamming and electronic warfare systems, such as the Krazukha, have proven much more effective when used methodically by Russian forces in Ukraine

According to him, not only has the United States given a considerable lead to its competitors in this field, but the efforts to reverse the trend, in particular within its squadron, are encountering very significant difficulties. In terms of recruitment, on the one hand, Colonel Koslov encountered great difficulties in recruiting the personnel necessary for the conduct of the mission. Beyond recruitment, the senior officer also considers that the training approach used in this area is ineffective, as it is strictly oriented on the use of equipment and platforms, while more extensive training is essential for understand all the complexity of the field. Finally, and this is far from negligible, Colonel Koslov emphasized the fact that the dependence of the American armies, in particular the US Air Force, on the electromagnetic spectrum was evolving much more rapidly than the means provision to effectively control this spectrum.


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