U.S. Dept. of Defense
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DoD Official Emphasizes Importance of EM Spectrum

Dec. 10, 2021
The DoD’s Chief Information Officer, Kelly Fletcher, spoke at the 2021 AOC meeting in Washington, DC on the need to re-establish EM spectrum superiority.

Speaking at the 58th Annual Symposium and Convention of the Association of Old Crows (AOC) in Washington, DC, Kelly Fletcher of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) highlighted the importance of controlling and guarding the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. As the world uses more EM bandwidth for voice, data, and video communications, relying on the internet as its hub, it is also facing growing threats of adversaries that might cut off the use of that EM spectrum.

China and Russia are both developing strategies and technologies to occupy EM spectrum and deny it to other users. Serving as the DoD’s chief information officer (CIO), Fletcher told AOC attendees that any EM-spectrum superiority once enjoyed by the U.S. and allies can no longer be taken for granted: “Our adversaries know how important this technology is to us," she said. "We know we have some vulnerabilities, and our adversaries know about them, and they're going to try to take advantage of them. What really makes me concerned most, frankly, is that there are probably vulnerabilities that we don't know about and that our adversaries are trying to find.”

Fletcher described some of the measures needed for the DoD to retain control of EM spectrum, including teaming with industrial and academic partners as well as with other government agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NCIA), and working with international bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Military sharing of the Fifth Generation (5G) cellular wireless communications network with its commercial service providers and users will play a key role in the future command of EM spectrum, along with significant investments in research and development (R&D) of technologies that will aid in optimization of EM spectrum. The DoD is developing an unclassified Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy plan to follow these guidelines.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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