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Greenert: Sailors Must Get Smarter on Electro-Magnetic Spectrum


The Navy personnel need to more deeply cultivate an understanding of the nuances to the electro-magnetic spectrum in order to be properly prepared for future conflict, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said Jan 14 at the Navy’s Surface Warfare Association Annual Symposium, Crystal City, Va.

“We have to understand the spectrum from the gamma rays up here to the radio waves down there. We have to know where we have our radars, [communications gear] and WiFi,” Greenert told the audience.

Greenert emphasized the importance of understanding one’s electromagnetic signature, meaning what electronic equipment or signals might be detectable by a potential enemy.

“We have to know our signature and we don’t know it very well right now. We think we turn everything off and are silent. We’ve done some objective measurements and we are not silent. When we’re not silent we’re being targeted,” he said.

Describing it as electromagnetic maneuver warfare, Greenert said the ability to jam and spoof incoming threats would be increasingly important in a high-tech future.

“Safety, protection and the means to protect yourself because we ain’t going to be able to shoot down everything that is shot at us. Getting out into the electromagnetic spectrum and understanding jamming and spoofing and defeating by other means is the way of the future,” he said. “If someone is firing a missile at us we are better off jamming and spoofing it rather than finding something that can keep up with it,” he added.

The Navy’s USS George Bush aircraft carrier recently finished communications exercises which took up some of these issues, Greenert added.

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