Walorski and Larsen Introduce Bill To Improve Electronic Warfare Capabilities

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Co-Chairs of Electronic Warfare Working Group push to ensure U.S. maintains competitive EW edge

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a time of changing and increasingly agile national security threats, Reps. Jackie Walorski, IN-02 and Rick Larsen, WA-02, today introduced a bill to help the U.S. keep its competitive edge in the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum domain. Walorski and Larsen are the co-chairs of the Electronic Warfare Working Group and members of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Electronic Warfare Capabilities Enhancement Act will help get innovative electronic warfare (EW) technology into the hands of warfighters more quickly so they can effectively defeat existing and emerging threats. The bill acknowledges the need to treat the electromagnetic spectrum as a critical operational domain, similar to air, land, surface and submarine warfare. It also places more responsibility with the year-old EW Executive Committee to guide a coordinated, Pentagon-wide approach to EW investment.

“As our military relies more and more on technology for everything from communications to targeting to unmanned vehicles, we need to ensure that these systems are not vulnerable to hacking, jamming, and other forms of electronic warfare. The Department of Defense established the joint Electronic Warfare (EW) Executive Committee to strengthen our defense against threats from our enemies, who have worked tirelessly to increase and expand their own capabilities,” Walorski said. “This legislation will empower the EW Executive Committee in procuring or updating protections to our military’s electronic infrastructure while also providing the Congress with the tools to properly fund and provide resources to these programs. In the global, and now digital, fight against terrorism, we cannot ignore the serious ramifications of failing to keep up with the ever-changing pace of military technology. We must ensure our service men and women have access to communications systems that will allow them to quickly assert their information dominance in the fight against global terrorism.”

“Our warfighters face a wide range of threats in the EM spectrum, from terrorist groups using cheap, secure, commercially-available technology to rival nations deploying highly innovative electronics. Too often, our women and men in uniform are using outdated technology in the increasingly contested EM spectrum,” Larsen said. “The way we develop, buy and roll out EW technology must focus on getting the right capabilities fielded more quickly. This bipartisan bill will put flexible, adaptive technologies at the front lines faster, giving our servicemembers the EW solutions they need to perform their vital missions.”

The Electronic Warfare Capabilities Enhancement Act makes a number of advances to improve the way the Pentagon buys and implements EW technology:

  • Gives the Department of Defense more flexibility, making it easier to modernize legacy systems and develop new EW technologies.
  • Provides leaders in the Pentagon with more and better tools to more rapidly acquire advanced EW technology.
  • Calls on the EW Executive Committee to report to Congress on a strategic plan to strengthen US EW capabilities, including new operational concepts, attributes needed in future EW capabilities, new training methods and requirements, and progress in streamlining acquisition processes.

The bill is a companion to S.B. 2486, the Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act, introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

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