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The Pentagon is reportedly getting serious about electronic warfare
The Pentagon reportedly plans on establishing a new task force to "regain U.S. dominance in the electromagnetic spectrum" after U.S. service members experienced Russian jamming tactics firsthand in Syria, according to documents obtained by Al-Monitor.
According to Al-Monitor, the new task force will produce an "updated electronic warfare strategy and roadmap"f for Congress under the guidance of Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation's highest-ranking officer.
The Al-Monitor report came just days after James Faist, the Pentagon's under secretary for defense research and engineering, advised the defense industry to prepare for time-sensitive, rapid-prototyping efforts for "really urgent[ly] needed" electronic warfare missions."
Russia's aggressive expansion of its EW capabilities in conflict zones and the resurgence of "great power competition" as the Pentagon's central strategic focus have made bridging that EW capability gap a major priority.
After flexing its electronic warfare muscles during the annexation of Crimea following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the Russian military ramped up EW testing in war-torn Syria, disabling U.S. communications networks EC-130 aircraft in what then-U.S. Special Operations Command chief Gen. Raymond Thomas called "the most aggressive EW environment on the planet from our adversaries."
Indeed, members of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command got a taste of future warfare with Russia during a 2018 deployment to Syria, continuously training from an "electromagnetic perspective," as Col. George Schreffler III said this past February.
Those capabilities are now shifting to the Arctic. In March 2019, the Norwegian government claimed it had proof that Russian forces actively disrupted GPS signals during Trident Juncture, the largest NATO war games since the end of the Cold War conducted around Northern Europe and the Arctic in late 2018. Those efforts, according to Norwegian government, actively disrupted both civilian and military air traffic and navigation.
And according to Russia military officials cited by the country's Izvestia newspaper, Moscow's Northern Fleet at the end of May established an EW "shield" along Russia's Arctic coast are capable of jamming satellite and drone communications, GPS signals, and other navigational system at ranges of up to 5,000 and 8,000 kilometers, depending on weather conditions.
As Breaking Defense notes, the DoD disbanded most of its electronic warfare asserts following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. And with Russia's capabilities expanding by the day, it'll be up to Pentagon leaders like Selva and Faist to rapidly develop systems to fight back.
"[Electronic warfare is] an area that we're behind our adversaries, we're not moving fast," Faist "When we mentioned the idea of doing this there was just a groundswell of enthusiasm ... because we've just lost so much capability."
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The U.S. military is sending an unspecified number of troops to Saudi Arabia following an attack on Saudi oil refineries that the U.S. government has blamed on Iran, top defense officials announced on Friday.
Saudi Arabia had requested international help to help protect the country's infrastructure following the Sept. 14 attacks by Iranian drones and cruise missiles, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon news briefing. The United Arab Emirates has also required help.
"In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature, and primarily focused on air and missile defense," Esper said. "We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves."
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.