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21st Century Military Operations in a Complex Electromagnetic Environment

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Technical Report

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Defense Science Board Washington

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High-end electronics technology that was once available only to defense system developers in a few large countries is today available worldwide and can be utilized by both large and small actors for electronic warfare EW capabilities. To address this situation, the Defense Science Board performed a year-long investigation of the ability to conduct U.S. military operations in a complex and congested electromagnetic environment. The study examined four operational support capabilities common to most military mission areastactical communications satellite communications positioning, navigation and timing PNT and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance ISR. Three representative mission areas were also examinedtactical air combat, fleet defense, and ground warfare. Without exception, the ability to perform required functions and conduct required operations was seriously lacking in all seven areas in all but relatively benign EMS environments. Modern U.S. military operations base much of their success on the information dominance these abilities provide. Today, many countries, both near peers and regional powers, have the potential to limit the ability of U.S. systems to sense, communicate, network, and synchronize operations. The study recommends several actions intended to mitigate the most critical deficiencies and vulnerabilities within the seven specific areas investigated.

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