New Army manual combines cyber, electromagnetic operations

The Army has codified its approach operations in the electromagnetic spectrum with the release of a field manual for what it calls cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA).

The 96-page manual, “FM 3-38, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities,” describes the concept of CEMA, how the elements of CEMA function separately and together, and defines the respective roles of commanders and soldiers in CEMA.  The Army says it’s the first doctrinal field manual of its kind.

As defined by the manual, CEMA comes at the intersection of cyber operations, electronic warfare and spectrum management. The manual directs commanders to integrate the elements of those three areas in order to create a unified ground force.

The Pentagon, of course, has long emphasized cyber operations, whether they involve wired or, increasingly, wireless systems. And as those wireless systems proliferate with the addition of sensor systems, drones and other unmanned vehicles, electronic warfare — both offensive and defensive — has become critically important.

Carrying out those operations depends on managing the ever-more crowded spectrum, which the Defense Department addresses with its recently released Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy, a plan to meet military needs while freeing up 500 megahertz of spectrum for commercial use by 2020.

Cyberspace and the spectrum together afford “the ability to share information, communicate, integrate, and synchronize operations across all warfighting functions and echelons,” the manual says. But they also give adversaries an easy way to recruit, organize, train and carry out attacks, whether they’re cyberattacks against U.S. networks, jamming Global Position System signals to unmanned aircraft or radio-detonated improvised explosives.

Integrating and synchronizing operations within cyberspace and the spectrum can not only improve situational awareness and military operations, but help defend against attacks. “CEMA provide commanders with the ability to gain and maintain an advantage in cyberspace and the EMS,” the manual says.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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