U.S. Strategic Command



53rd Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention

By Vice Adm. Charles Richard | U.S. Strategic Command | November 29, 2016


As Prepared

VADM Charles Richard, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Deputy Commander: Thank you Mr. Watters (Annual Symposium Chair, Raytheon) for that kind introduction. We rely on our industry partners to help us achieve our missions every day and appreciate your contribution to our joint forces. Thank you also to the Association of Old Crows – especially President Dave Hime – for convening us here today.

This is a distinguished group of military professionals with a rich history, originally tied together through the common bond of having served with U.S. Strategic Command’s predecessor – Strategic Air Command (SAC) – as electronic warfare and electronic countermeasures officers.

I wanted to honor that legacy today by letting you know that in his first week as USSTRATCOM Commander, Gen. [John] Hyten gave a series of remarks around the command, reinforcing the current relevance of SAC’s motto: Peace is our profession.

As a global, warfighting command, USSTRATCOM delivers strategic nuclear effects every day: Keeping the peace by maintaining a strategic deterrent. The current, strategic environment demands the same preparation your predecessors maintained during wartime so that we can deter today’s adversaries from thinking the reward would ever outweigh the risk of an attack on the United States.

That said, I wanted to thank you all for your tremendous contributions to electromagnetic spectrum capability superiority, upon which nearly all other capabilities and missions ultimately rely. I recognize the remarkable experience and expertise in this room.

As for me, my only qualification for being here today is as a licensed amateur radio operator since I was 12. That makes me an amateur in a room full of professionals. But in all seriousness, as deputy commander of USSTRATCOM, I’m honored to get to highlight the command’s role in advancing multi-domain joint electromagnetic spectrum operations across all services and domains. Our progress and current priorities for integration of electromagnetic spectrum operations is where I’ll focus my comments today.

Warfare in the electromagnetic spectrum is truly unique since its missions will be carried out in any theatre, any domain, by any service member, at any time, with nearly any device. Our forces must evolve their way of thinking to collaborate across this maneuver space in order to maintain the initiative and dominate our adversaries.

As the functional combatant command with oversight of joint electronic warfare capabilities, it is USSTRATCOM’s responsibility and opportunity to set the framework for integrating spectrum operations across the globe.

The joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO) office is the lead stakeholder in the Department of Defense (DoD) orchestrating the development of electromagnetic spectrum operations. It has become the nexus for all services’ and combatant commands’ spectrum operations. The integration of electromagnetic spectrum operations was placed in USSTRATCOM’s span of responsibility due to the spectrum’s global, multi-domain nature.

As the joint forces began raising concerns for dealing with congested and contested electromagnetic operating environments, DoD responded by recognizing and assigning electronic warfare as a separate and complex mission area, rather than letting it simply reside under information operations integration efforts.

This understanding of electronic warfare as an individual capability led to the President’s 2011 Unified Command Plan, which dictates that USSTRATCOM is responsible for joint electronic warfare in the following ways:

  • It must advocate for joint electronic warfare capabilities;

  • It must provide contingency electronic warfare support to other combatant commands; and

  • It must support combatant commands’ joint training and planning related to controlling the electromagnetic spectrum, as directed.

In addition, the DoD directive regarding electronic warfare policy (March 2014) directs that USSTRATCOM must:

  • Plan, execute and assess joint EMSO across all domains;

  • Develop and evaluate joint EMSO-related tactics, techniques and procedures in support of warfighter requirements; and

  • Incorporate joint EMSO into joint training and exercises.

All of our joint operations hinge on the United States maintaining asymmetric advantage in every warfighting domain. That advantage hinges on our freedom of access and maneuver within the electromagnetic spectrum. The central idea to joint EMSO is that electromagnetic spectrum superiority is essential to all joint operations. Achieving superiority in the air, on land, and in space and cyberspace requires achieving and maintaining electromagnetic spectrum superiority.

As such, USSTRATCOM’s Unified Command Plan responsibilities serve as acknowledgement that maintaining asymmetric advantage across the spectrum constitutes a deliberate DoD line of effort, of enduring strategic value.

Four years ago, USSTRATCOM’s director of global operations delivered this keynote address to say that we had just formed a joint EMSO office to serve as a single entry point into the command for all electromagnetic spectrum operations, including joint electronic warfare issues and activities across DoD.

Since then, USSTRATCOM has established its joint EMSO office, under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Ed Sauley (who is here in the audience today, and will address EMSO integration efforts in more detail later on). It’s only the beginning, but he and his team – to include the Joint Electronic Warfare Center and Joint Electromagnetic Preparedness for Advanced Combat – have made solid progress in their mission to integrate and synchronize spectrum operations.

For example, we are working with U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in developing standard operating procedures for their respective joint force commander's electromagnetic spectrum operations cells; 

We routinely advance EMSO integration through Joint exercises to include EUCOM’s Exercise Austere Challenge 15 and PACOM’s Exercise Pacific Sentry 16;

And earlier this year, USSTRATCOM hosted more than 70 EMSO experts across the services to inform the development of a future electromagnetic battle management system to improve situational awareness, decision support and command and control of spectrum-reliant capabilities.

In addition to these tangible steps in integrating spectrum operations across the joint force, the joint EMSO office has been the touchpoint for developing and aligning EMSO doctrine, to include coordinating:

  • The chairman’s joint concept for EMSO vision (Mar 2015);

  • The Joint Staff’s joint doctrine note for joint EMSO (Oct 2016);

  • The DoD’s electronic warfare (EW) strategy (Sept 2013); and

  • Convening the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee – the EW EXCOM – on which I serve as a member.

These foundational efforts have laid out a clear vision and path forward.

With that brief progress report, I’m proud to stand here – four years since USSTRATCOM’s last address to this audience – and say that we accomplished what we said we would do, and are gaining momentum. We have a joint EMSO office, a concept of operations in place, and are actively integrating spectrum operations across the services. With that, I want to elaborate on our agenda for the way ahead.

As I move now into discussing our future plans, keep in mind the current threat environment that informs our thinking and priorities:

With the rapid advancement in globally available, low-cost electronics eroding the United States’ technological advantage, the threat development is outpacing our response.

Simultaneously, we are competing with the commercial demand for bandwidth, and to complicate things further, we are more dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum than ever before, which increases our vulnerability to enemy exploitation.

To achieve spectrum superiority in an increasingly congested and contested spectrum environment, the joint EMSO effort is focused on the following priorities: enhancing the nexus among spectrum management, electronic warfare and intelligence; improving our command and control of operations in the spectrum; and changing outdated paradigms as to how we view spectrum management.

The electromagnetic spectrum reaches across geopolitical boundaries and warfighting domains. By managing and enforcing our will in the spectrum deliberately, we can achieve strategic advantage and enable the instruments of national power. That is a huge mission, with a tremendous payoff.

To secure this strategic advantage, we act in the spectrum to increase cost, delay and uncertainty for our adversaries, while we manage, protect and sense in the spectrum to reduce cost, delay and uncertainty for all friendly forces. It is important to note that the spectrum is the only physical maneuver space which allows us to influence the battlespace on such a profound level.

We gain advantage over an adversary when our control of electromagnetic energy and the flow of information enable faster decision-making. But to operate faster, we must improve our agility and situational awareness within the spectrum.

One unfortunate example of U.S. forces unintentionally degrading its own maneuver space occurred during Desert Storm, when we had EF-111s, EC-130s and EA-6Bs operating in their war reserve modes with their red-guarded switches up, resulting in our forces operating in an expanded electromagnetic operating environment. This caused a tremendous amount of false threat warning indications with our airborne fighting assets, which resulted in operators turning off their radar warning receivers to reduce the amount of distraction to their situational awareness.

Successful electromagnetic spectrum operations require real-time awareness of the current electromagnetic operating environment and available resources for effective decision-making. Electronic warfare support provides that first-level awareness to spectrum management efforts, supported by signals intelligence.

By accelerating our ability to communicate, fire and maneuver within the spectrum, supported by fused intelligence, we create an intrinsically competitive foundation for electromagnetic battle management – a prerequisite for reliable military superiority across every domain.

Allied superiority in air, land, sea, space and cyberspace cannot be gained without dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum.

To highlight the need for command and control technology, it was reported last week that the Air Force is soliciting input for technologies available within the next five years for a new or enhanced electromagnetic battle management capability, to improve situational awareness and command and control of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In an environment where our operations are contested, degraded and operationally limited; where there is an increasing demand for interconnectivity; where there is a growing reliance on the spectrum for precision weapons delivery, sensor accuracy, force and platform protection, precise navigation, and command, control and computers – the window for our adversaries to exploit that dependence becomes ever wider.

Successful operations in a contested degraded or operationally limited environment requires EMSO command and control by orchestrating the electromagnetic actions of land, air, maritime, cyberspace and space electromagnetic spectrum capabilities into an integrated and coherent concept of maneuver.

Finally, to achieve and maintain spectrum capability superiority, we need to challenge current thinking, and change paradigms regarding how we operate.

First of all, we must normalize and integrate the way we teach, train and target at the joint level, and advocate for changes, where appropriate. We need to develop joint education curriculum to include non-kinetic operations – from our senior leaders to our new recruits.

We also need to train our Joint forces to operate at all levels of warfare – from strategic to tactical – in a congested and contested electromagnetic spectrum environment. I am pleased that Exercise Northern Edge 17 – taking place this coming spring – will be another opportunity to test our forces against our ever-developing realistic scenarios.

Also, deliberate targeting in the EMS, normalizing electronic warfare operations, space and cyber into our concept of operations and joint operational planning is key to prioritize integration of EMSO.

Secondly, we need to implement requirements and acquisition reform, shifting from a stove-piped, resource allocation mindset, to an integrated, multi-domain maneuver space.

For example, the EA-18G Growler still carries a legacy, 1970s jamming pod. While there have been many upgrades, essentially the pod still has the same frequency coverage and power out as it did initially. Meanwhile, technology development to meet requirements for a next generation jamming pod to match the advanced capabilities of the Growler have been ongoing for far too long.

We have incredibly adaptive adversaries, advancing at the speed of global technology proliferation. Our requirements and acquisition process must become more unconstrained in order to keep pace with this reality.

Finally, a reorganization of fragmented, legacy organizational structure, currently separating various aspects of spectrum sensing, communications, and attack is in order.

Presently, different pieces of spectrum management are divided among our staffs, and lack integrated battle management systems and supporting architecture. For example, USSTRATCOM’s directorate for intelligence is responsible for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, our J3 directorate for global operations is responsible for operations and our J2 directorate for C4 (command, control, communication and computers) systems is responsible for spectrum management. The architecture that will support operations in the spectrum is as critical as the EMSO mission itself. We must be relentless in our pursuit of an adaptive and sustainable architectural solution for electromagnetic battle management.

Realizing the importance of this vision, our services are already pursuing their contribution to EMSO on their own. USSTRATCOM’s joint EMSO office, with its network of stakeholders, is positioned and empowered to synchronize those efforts. It has made impressive headway, given the complexity of the mission set, and the mission is only going to grow as we demonstrate success.

In closing, I wanted to acknowledge what has been, perhaps, a conspicuous omission of cyberspace operations from these remarks.

I certainly acknowledge the criticality of cyberspace to our success in warfighting, and believe the spectrum constitutes an inescapable, global space of strategic value whose soundness and availability can no longer be assumed, at great risk to our entire capability portfolio.

This is why the joint staff has designated USSTRATCOM with Unified Command Plan responsibility for assuring the advance of joint EMS operations for all joint forces. This works for me, since it directly influences USSTRATCOM’s ability to meet its strategic responsibilities for space operations, cyberspace operations, global strike operations, counter-weapons of mass destruction, ISR, and, of course, strategic nuclear deterrence.

Of course, it is the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines all working around the globe who will benefit from, execute and provide key support to the EMSO mission, in pursuit of decisive electromagnetic spectrum control.

From the soldiers on the ground countering improvised explosive devices; to the airmen degrading the adversaries integrated air defense systems and space capabilities; to the sailors utilizing the spectrum to minimize detection of nuclear submarines – it is the job of the commander and myself to make sure they have what they need to ensure United States’ spectrum capability superiority for rapidly sensing and eliminating today’s threats.

We are building every day on the legacy established by the men and women in this room. I want to thank this audience, especially the Association of the Old Crows, for its faithful support of this mission, and advocating for spectrum superiority. We have made so much progress in a relatively short amount of time, but my challenge to you is this: be disruptive. Innovate. Help me build a future for spectrum operations to overwhelm our enemies in which they cannot out-maneuver us, outrun us, or even endure.

Thank you, again, for having me today.