What is Cross-Domain Electronic Warfare?

Cross-Domain Electronic Warfare refers to the ability of electronic warfare (EW) devices and systems to contribute to, enhance, and work seamlessly across all six domains in which military organizations operate – air, land, space, sea (maritime), human (cyber), and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).

Also known as Cross-Domain EW, full implementation of this capability is a strategic directive of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) being applied across all departments and platforms to provide the most comprehensive tactical advantage to U.S. and allied forces.

This requirement stems in part from a situation where, until recently, EW systems from different departments of the DoD – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force – were all developed specifically for use on platforms within each branch and could not effectively communicate across departments. This happened for several reasons, including past technology limitations, the budgeting process, policies favoring compartmentalization of tasks, platforms, and information to support mission structures, and more. Advances in EW technologies – including an approach stressing open, modular, updatable architectures – has reduced past technology limits, making EW systems applicable to most platforms with comparatively minor reconfiguration. This improves functionality, reliability, modernization, and implementation speed while cutting costs by minimizing a reliance on custom solutions that were once unavoidable.

Another key driver of the Cross-Domain Electronic Warfare directive is a significant change in threat tactics by potential adversaries. This includes an increase in disruptive signal jamming capacity by near-peer competitors and a serious rise in cyber threats to the operational security of companies, utility networks, and governments, including defense departments and intelligence agencies. While these changes cause a lot of concern, they also present opportunities to more effectively use over-the-horizon Cross-Domain EW systems – rather than human soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines – to intimidate, disrupt, and defeat adversaries.

While Cross-Domain Electronic Warfare systems greatly improve integration of EW capabilities across departments, they also improve effectiveness within each department. Each department is often thought to specialize in one domain – Air Force: air, Army: land, Navy: maritime, etc. – but they all operate in multiple domains, and Cross-Domain EW assures that their helicopters, jets, ground vehicles, ships, unmanned vehicles (drones), and more can all work together more productively.

To assure comprehensive development and integration of EW systems that communicate and operate across all domains effectively, most military branches and intelligence agencies choose experienced defense community technology partners with a proven record of delivering rapid innovation and dependable production of advanced EW solutions.

 


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