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US Army tags electronic warfare, deep sensing as top priorities

US Army soldiers conduct electronic warfare operations during field exercises at Camp Atterbury. (US Army)

The US Army's top officer is leading an effort to implement changes to the ground service's strategy for capability development on electronic warfare (EW) and deep-sensing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, identifying both areas as top priorities for research, development, and procurement.

“I think we recognise that EW is an area that the army has probably made limited investment in as a capability during two decades of counter-terrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” US Army General Randy George told reporters during a briefing at the Association of the US Army's (AUSA's) annual symposium in Washington, DC in October.

“As we look at the army's role as part of a joint force, globally employed especially in the Indo Pacific region … we want to look at the EW portfolio and figure out where we need to place, you know, investment, and what areas we can potentially accelerate,” he said.

Unlike aviation and ground combat systems, “there's no clear single proponent for [EW] in the army”, Gen George said, noting that key decision makers for these capabilities are scattered across the service.

EW capability development “is shared between a variety of organisations like [US] Army Cyber Command, the intel community, [and] we have a PEO [Program Executive Office] that deals with sensors and EW systems,” Gen George said, adding that most of the service's investments have been focused on electronic attack and counter-EW capabilities for mounted and dismounted units.

“We're looking to bring that community together, to kind of relook the entire portfolio … from beginning to end,” he added, regarding the service-wide push to streamline development and deployment of EW capabilities.

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