NEWS | Aug. 9, 2021

Department Prioritizes Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority, Implementing 2020 Strategy


The Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin III signed the 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy’s Implementation Plan (EMSSS I-Plan) on July 15. The Strategy’s I-Plan provides the Department of Defense with the direction and executive oversight needed to achieve the Strategy’s vision of “freedom of action in the electromagnetic spectrum, at the time, place, and parameters of our choosing.”

The Department’s air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace operations depend on the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). In the midst of commercial advances, and increasingly contested, congested, and denied spectrum environment, the Department is committed to prioritizing our warfighters’ freedom of action and achieving spectrum superiority while supporting the Nation’s economic competitiveness.

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the Senior Designated Official (SDO) and oversees the implementation of the EMSS Strategy and leads the Strategy’s execution and oversight.

"Today's EMS Superiority Strategy combined our electromagnetic warfare and spectrum equities for the first time ever,” said Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  “The Strategy's I-Plan provides direction to the Department to accomplish the Strategy's goals and objectives and realize the vision. Future challenges require us to fight and win in the EMS from the beginning, and commanders must plan to win the EMS in their area of responsibility. The Strategy's I-Plan sets us on a path to dominate the future battle space. While the services are organizing, training, and equipping better for EMS, we have more work to do. We are determined to get there and achieve spectrum superiority in all domains."

The Department’s advancement in EMS superiority is essential to successful modern military operations to mitigate risks to U.S. national and economic security. Due to the rapid pace of EMS technology development, DoD must continually reassess, develop, and adopt new capabilities, techniques, training, and enterprise-level integration across the Department and with international and domestic partners. The Strategy lays a foundation for an enduring EMS community, decisive EMS maneuverability, and maximized EMS-sharing. The I-Plan provides the direction for the Department to regain EMS dominance.

The U.S. Strategic Command is the lead for EMS operational advocacy.

“In today’s modern battlefield, the joint force has to achieve electromagnetic spectrum superiority,” said Navy Admiral Charles Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command.  “We have gotten used to a process designed for permissive environments that are intended to minimize programmatic and technical risk at the expense of operational risk. One of my big functions inside the EMSSS I-Plan is to bring the operational risk component back into the department processes.”

On Oct. 29, 2020, the Department published the 2020 Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy to align EMS resources, capabilities, and activities across the DoD to support our core national security objectives and remain mindful of U.S. economic prosperity. The Strategy has five goals:

Goal 1: Develop Superior EMS Capabilities

Goal 2: Evolve to an Agile, Fully Integrated EMS infrastructure

Goal 3: Pursue Total Force EMS Readiness

Goal 4: Secure Enduring Partnerships for EMS Advantage

Goal 5: Establish Effective EMS Governance

The DoD Chief Information Officer works in partnership with the Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross-Functional Team (EMSO CFT) to achieve the goals and objectives of the EMSSS. The EMSO-CFT is a unique team empowered to identify requirements, develop policies, and implement plans to establish EMS enterprise governance and improve EMSO capabilities across the Department to achieve EMS superiority, assuring military advantage over competitors.

The EMSSS I-Plan provides the Department with the vision, plan, leadership, and tools to build a Department-wide EMS Enterprise. The I-Plan requires accountability and results. It prioritizes greater oversight, integrating electromagnetic spectrum operations across DoD, governance and management reforms, progress on workforce issues, and conditions to facilitate a smooth transition from the SDO and EMSO CFT to enduring functions in the Department.

"The enterprise approach in the EMSSS I-Plan reaches beyond the traditional ‘silos’ and drives the Department to act in a more integrated fashion, mirroring the shared nature of the EMS,” said Acting DoD CIO, John Sherman. “It allows us to pursue, track, and measure identified EMS capability gaps; enables the DoD to define and refine our policy, processes, and procedures; and establishes effective and enduring EMS governance.  As we did with Cyber, we will define an EMS Workforce and look at what we need to do to increase and track our readiness across this strategically significant, cross-domain maneuver space.  Lastly, it is important to note the I-Plan defines enterprise EMS capabilities and establishes and executes new processes for funding, tracking, and reporting of those capabilities."