Electronic warfare

Electronic warfare (EW) is any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum (EM spectrum) or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum. EW can be applied from air, sea, land, and/or space by manned and unmanned systems, and can target humans, communication, radar, or other assets (military and civilian).[1]

The Electromagnetic Environment

Military operations are executed in an information environment increasingly complicated by the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum portion of the information environment is referred to as the Electromagnetic Environment (EME). The recognized need for military forces to have unimpeded access to and use of the electromagnetic environment creates vulnerabilities and opportunities for electronic warfare in support of military operations.[1]

Within the information operations construct, EW is an element of information warfare; more specifically, it is an element of offensive and defensive counterinformation.[2]

NATO has a different and arguably[citation needed] more encompassing and comprehensive approach to EW. A military committee conceptual document from 2007 (MCM_0142 Nov 2007 Military Committee Transformation Concept for Future NATO Electronic Warfare)[citation needed] recognised the EME as an operational maneuver space and warfighting environment/domain. In NATO, EW is considered to be warfare in the EME. NATO has adopted simplified language which parallels those used in the other warfighting environments like maritime, land and air/space. For example, Electronic Attack is offensive use of EM energy, Electronic Defence (ED) and Electronic Surveillance (ES). The use of the traditional NATO EW terms, Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), Electronic Protective Measures (EPM) and Electronic Support Measures (ESM) has been retained as they contribute to and support Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Defense (ED) and Electronic Support (ES). Besides EW, other EM operations include Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). Subsequently, NATO has issued EW Policy and Doctrine and is addressing the other NATO defense lines of development.

Primary EW activities have been developed over time to exploit the opportunities and vulnerabilities that are inherent in the physics of EM energy. Activities used in EW include: electro-optical, infrared and radio frequency countermeasures; EM compatibility and deception; Radio jamming, Radar jamming and deception and Electronic counter-countermeasures (or anti-jamming); electronic masking, probing, reconnaissance, and intelligence; electronic security; EW reprogramming; emission control; spectrum management; and wartime reserve modes.[1][2]