The theme of AOC EW Europe 2018 is ‘Innovation and Evolution in Global Electromagnetic Operations’ – why are innovation and evolution currently so important in the EM spectrum?
The reliance on the electromagnetic environment (EME) in today’s world, both for the civilian society and particularly during military operations, demonstrates that EW is becoming even more central to NATO’s activities before, during, and after operations across the spectrum of conflict. To ensure synergy and avoid electronic fratricide, all actors must consider the EME when planning and employing EW. Innovation and evolution are among the very basics of ensuring success in all missions, avoiding own vulnerabilities. Therefore one focus is the development of state-of-the-art tools for command and control of EW and the capability to enable fast exchange of EW data as a key to success.
How do you feel the EW community has evolved over the past 12 months?
Electronic Warfare has always found itself in an environment of changing interest. Like a waveform, the EW community faces its ups and downs. The current security environment has had the effect of a revival of interest in EW issues. This revival causes significant pressure on actors and organizations to utilise the operational need for prevailing in a contested EME. Increasing awareness of the importance of EW, especially in coordination with the other domains including Cyber and Space is crucial.
What do you think are the particular challenges facing EW capabilities in Europe specifically?
The increasingly contested EME in a densely populated geographical region like Europe is a challenge of its own. The ever growing number of technical equipment and networks relying on unimpeded access and usage of the EME is an opportunity and a challenge at the same time. New capabilities are likely to pose potential vulnerabilities that must be protected, hidden or defended. It is a challenge to raise the awareness of civilian and military leaders. It is however vital to gain the decision makers’ understanding and support and to integrate a level of situational awareness with regard to the contested EME and the challenges we face.
What can delegates expect to take away from your session?
The changing operational environment for NATO poses a significant challenge for many actors in the functional area of EW. The operational context of EW is changing, leading to new training and capability requirements for the services and the joint level. Ongoing training activities and possible doctrinal implications must meet modern operational needs. I will outline a potential “to achieve” list that will give an idea of the future EW activities from a NATO JEWCS point of view.
Why is AOC EW Europe a must-attend event for those working in the EW domain?
Future capabilities should ensure that they provide the level of support necessary to overcome today’s challenges in order to keep NATO at the edge of operations within the EME. Forums like AOC Europe provide the almost unique opportunity for liaising civilian and military end users, scientists and industry. Given the rapid developments in the operational environment and the security situation, discussions about challenges and possible solutions can be supported by bringing all the actors together. Technical solutions alone will not guarantee EME superiority, only the integration of modern systems, people and processes into the decision making cycle will finally support superiority in operations.