Navy declares EMS a full-fledged warfighting domain

The Navy announced it has elevated the electromagnetic spectrum to a battlespace domain, joining cyber, land, sea, air and space.

A new Navy policy recognizes the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain "on par with sea, land, air, space and cyber."

The policy pushes "an enterprise approach to all activities necessary" for Navy electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) operations, including the department's "roles and responsibilities for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating Electromagnetic Battlespace programs, policies, procedures, and controls to enable DON superiority," according to the document. The change, which took effect Oct. 5, was announced publicly on Oct. 22.

The EMS enterprise, as defined in the new policy, includes "all electronic systems, subsystems, devices, and equipment that depend on the use of spectrum to properly accomplish their function" whether acquired or procured from commercial companies.

The Navy CIO will be responsible for resolving any conflicting policies on the federal or Defense Department level and will serve as a principal advisor to the Navy Secretary on EMS, according to the policy memo written by Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly.

The Navy CIO is also expected to be the public face of EMS in policy talks on the national, federal, DOD and international stage. Specific duties include overseeing spectrum management, helping mold regulatory processes to protect capabilities and operations domestically and abroad as well as providing an executive governance structure for the Navy's primary advisory group that will be used for EMS strategy, policy and doctrine development.

The role of spectrum warfare and its potential convergence with cyber has been a big topic in military circles over past several years, with strategists divided on how to manage the two battle domains. Army Cyber Command leadership anticipates the domain to possibly replace, cyber in warfare planning.

"In three, four, five years from now, we'll no longer be called Army Cyber Command. We're going to be Army Information Warfare Operations, or Information Dominance Operations," Army Cyber Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty said during an August event.

"We're going to be something else that's actually going to reflect the totality of the capabilities, the challenges, the opportunities of operating in this environment."

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