U.S. Army adding EW, cyber warfare capabilities to brigade combat teams

The U.S. Army is beefing up its brigade combat teams (BCTs) with electronic and cyber warfare technologies and capabilities to bolster survivability and maneuverability on the modern battlefield.

Reports American military media:

Years of training led Army Cyber Command to develop expeditionary cyber-electromagnetic teams that can be tailored to the needs of brigade commanders for specific missions and deployments.

The next step is bringing that capability to the division- and corps-levels of the Army, officials said.

Over the past three years, since the Army launched the Cyber Support to Corps and Below pilot in 2015, teams have conducted nine rotations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, refining their Cyber-Electromagnetic Activities Team structure.

Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commander of the Cyber Center of Excellence, told C4ISRNET last year that by creating such teams the Army can “bring together and really start getting after the basic tenets of multi-domain battle in a fused, synchronized and integrated fashion, [which] is something the Army really has to start getting after.” [source]

Analysis: This reflects the Pentagon’s ongoing effort to provide U.S. ground forces with an additional capability for the modern battlefield involving a near-peer competitor that has largely been unnecessary in fighting the low-intensity wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — though some EW in the form of counter-IED has been utilized. What makes this capability unique is that it is specialized and modular; that is, teams are “plug and play.” BCT, division and Corps commanders can request them as add-ons to current, traditional force structure when deploying to an EW-cyber-contested environment. 

Russia, especially, has demonstrated enhanced EW capabilities in recent months as demonstration, in part, during last fall’s Zapad 2017 military exercises.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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