Congress

New bill seeks to add agility to electronic warfare development

Shutterstock image (by Pavel Ignatov): Radio antenna, digital concept.

Two senators are calling for more funding flexibility for the Defense Department to research, develop and deploy electronic warfare technology.

On Feb. 4, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act to reduce bureaucratic impediments to DOD's electronic warfare programs.

"Red tape is standing in the way of our military having access to the technology it needs to lead in today's complex and ever-evolving landscape," Gillibrand, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. "This legislation will help ensure our servicemen and women are less vulnerable to national security threats and have access to the most up-to-date electronic warfare technology available."

Kirk and Gillibrand said they are concerned that countries such as Russia, China and Iran are catching up to U.S. military capabilities in this area.

The Pentagon is getting into the act as well. In August 2015, the department established the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to accelerate deployment of electronic warfare technology after a DOD study concluded that the military had "lost focus on electronic warfare at the programmatic and strategic level."

"It is critical that the United States military dominates the offensive and defensive ends of electronic warfare," said Kirk, who is a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer.

The bill would provide funds for developing and fielding electronic warfare capabilities. It would also give program managers the flexibility to waive acquisition rules and regulations so they could expedite the process of obtaining and implementing warfare technology.

The bill would also require the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to update Congress on its progress.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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