A National Security Priority
Forum focuses on U.S. and allies' need to regain supremacy in electronic warfare
Electronic warfare needs to be a key element of U.S. defense strategy in order to counter technological gains by the nation’s adversaries, Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy told a forum of experts.
Kennedy, speaking in Washington, D.C. at the Association of Old Crows annual symposium, called on members of the association to partner with the Congressional Electronic Warfare Working Group to educate stakeholders about the field’s critical importance and the need to fund it.
“The strategic advantages our forces gain from information superiority are at serious risk when our EW capabilities trail those of our adversaries.” Kennedy said.
Raytheon sponsored the Association of Old Crows event, which also featured remarks by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems president Rick Yuse. Electronic warfare specialists are called “crows” because commanders referred to them by the code name “Raven” during World War II.
Raytheon has long been a leader in electronic warfare. Today the company is focused on the convergence of EW, cyber, signals intelligence and lasers. This combination is like carrying an unlimited magazine that enables warfighters to fight longer, according to Yuse.
To prevail in the digital battlefield, Yuse called for a range of investments in current and future EW systems to enable operational superiority. He cited a recent study by the Defense Science Board, which called on the U.S. government to increase its EW spending by $2.3 billion per year for at least five years.
That same study called the investment a “modest insurance policy” to protect U.S. advances made over the last few decades.
Renewed investment by the United States and its allies “is imperative” given the advances adversary nations have made in electronic warfare, Yuse said.
“Simply put, we have a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
The Defense Science Board study, shared during the symposium, concluded that “a restorative path is available, but it will take funding, commitment and a new spirit of leadership to close the growing gap.”
Kennedy said now is an opportune time to re-energize and re-invest in electronic warfare. He called on industry and the Department of Defense to give U.S. and allied warfighters the advantage they deserve.
For Yuse, that commitment extends to the next generation of “spectrum warriors” who can take advantage of the entire electromagnetic spectrum during combat. He concluded his remarks by pledging $25,000 to the Association of Old Crows’ education foundation, saying it’s the industry’s duty to encourage and inspire tomorrow’s electronic warfare leaders.