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Army sets goal of specializing in electronic warfare by 2008

The Army wants soldiers to take the war on terrorism to the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Army hopes to make electronic warfare its own Military Occupational Specialty by March 2008, the chief of the Army’s Electronic Warfare Division said.

Ultimately, the Army hopes to have thousands of soldiers trained in electronic warfare, which includes jamming enemy communications and preventing insurgents from detonating roadside bombs, said Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout.

The Army is still working out the details of making electronic warfare its own career field, she told reporters Wednesday.

“Building a career field is a very complicated and tricky thing to do, because when you bring people into it, you have to make sure that they have upward mobility, you have to make sure that this is something folks want to do and that they’ll enlist for, etc.,” said Buckhout, former commander of the 32nd Signal Battalion in Darmstadt, Germany.

The Army has only recently gotten back into the business of offensive electronic warfare after a 30-year hiatus, Buckhout told reporters Wednesday.

The Army stood up the Electronic Warfare Division in May 2006, and now the Army has two schools to teach U.S. troops how to attack the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes radio and phone networks, she said.

Since 2006, the Navy has sent several electronic warfare officers downrange to assist ground forces, Buckhout said.

The Army hopes to replace about 150 of these sailors at the brigade and battalion level by March 2008, while some sailors with between 16 and 22 years experience in electronic warfare are expected to remain at the division and corps level, she said.

Buckhout said the Army cannot continue to rely on other services for its electronic warfare needs.

“Most of them are oriented toward airborne electronic attack,” she said. “We’re the only real large ground force out there, so what we’re doing is revectoring this and bringing all the tools they’ve been using but taking it towards ground electronic warfare, which is a whole new skill-set.”

Also, the sailors helping the Army with electronic warfare have their own jobs that they need to get back to, Buckhout said.

The Army wants to make electronic warfare a core capability, meaning all soldiers will have some training in electronic warfare training, she said.

“Every soldier should probably understand what a jammer is, what the threats are on the spectrum, and that’s something that will be taught in initial entry training,” Buckhout said.


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