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Full Spectrum Warrior
March 6, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Inside the new arms race to control bandwidth on the battlefield

Navy Places Priority on Advancing Electronic Warfare
Air Force launches spectrum warfare program covering EW, optical, GPS, and cyber warfare
How the Army Plans to Fight a War Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Spectrum Warfare: The Cat-And-Mouse Game Continues
EA involves the use of the three primary weapons types to degrade, neutralize, or destroy enemy equipment, facilities, or personnel. That includes jamming or spoofing the enemy’s own use of the electromagnetic spectrum and directed energy systems, including lasers, radio frequency (RF) weapons, and particle beams.

EP is the flip side, using defensive and counter-threat technologies to protect personnel, facilities, and equipment from all aspects of electronic attack.

ES, meanwhile, comprises actions tasked by an operational command- er to search for, intercept, identify, and pinpoint electromagnetic energy-weapons and common background-to determine what EW operations, offensive and defensive, are required to avoid and target enemy threats. Data gathered by ES operations also can be used for signals intelligence (SIGINT), electronics intelligence (ELINT), and communications intelligence (COMINT).
posted by the man of twists and turns (23 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Eponysterical?
posted by atrazine at 8:20 AM on March 6


twists and turns are on ballistics and kinetics, not EW ..
posted by k5.user at 8:23 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Interesting stuff. Here's some more on the ORBIT (Open Access Research Testbed for Next-Generation Wireless Networks) radio grid testbed used in the DARPA Spectrum Challenge.
posted by exogenous at 8:24 AM on March 6


Eponysterical?

More buttons, fewer dials.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:24 AM on March 6


The sad and ironic thing will be seeing nuclear weapons used in war for no other reason than to disrupt communications.
posted by three blind mice at 8:27 AM on March 6


ORBIT (Open Access Research Testbed for Next-Generation Wireless Networks) radio grid testbed

This is the most tortured acronym I have ever seen.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:32 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


This is the most tortured acronym I have ever seen.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man


MANPADS
posted by exogenous at 8:35 AM on March 6


I used to talk to Iraqi mobile network operators for work and they all complained about the issue with US patrols jamming cell service around their immediate area.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:47 AM on March 6


The spectrum challenge was fun, I got hung up on a trick I was trying to pull to split my bandwidth among subcarriers, and got punted in the 2nd round.

Cyber war can be won, by making everyone's computers secure. Trying to own spectrum is like trying to make water not wet.
posted by MikeWarot at 8:52 AM on March 6


twists and turns are on ballistics and kinetics, not EW ..

It's all fun and games until someone subverts your communications system to make it look like no man is shooting at you.
posted by atrazine at 8:55 AM on March 6


MikeWarot: Cyber war can be won, by making everyone's computers secure.

But isn't that like saying conventional war can be won by making everyone's skin bulletproof?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:56 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


The sad and ironic thing will be seeing nuclear weapons used in war for no other reason than to disrupt communications.

That's highly unlikely, given the political role of nukes. Any nuclear weapons use will almost certain be restricted to a situation of all-out war.

So on the plus side, if someone used a number to fry your iPad, you can probably expect the city-busters to hit in twenty minutes or so.
posted by happyroach at 9:01 AM on March 6


> The sad and ironic thing will be seeing nuclear weapons used in war for no other reason than to disrupt communications.

(How is that "ironic" by any stretch of the imagination:?)

But no one's going to do that. If you wanted to generate an electromagnetic pulse, there are better ways to do that, ways where you can control the intensity and even the direction of the pulse, ways where you can re-use the equipment even.

> > Cyber war can be won, by making everyone's computers secure.

> But isn't that like saying conventional war can be won by making everyone's skin bulletproof?

Not the same thing. It's quite easy to make a computer secure (assuming your operators are all trusted, and if your operators are subverted there's really nothing you can do) - simply cut it off from all network communications. From that basis, creating your own proprietary highly-authenticated network is quite a lot of work but doesn't require any theoretical or engineering breakthrough to accomplish.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:05 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: " simply cut it off from all network communications"

I think Rock Steady's analogy holds, because the utility of having computers networked is so much higher than not having them networked that "just unplug it from the network" is rarely an acceptable option, and even in this reductio ad absurdum case, bad things happen -- malware can now jump airgaps via USB keys and other channels, and operators make mistakes, no matter how trusted they are.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:38 PM on March 6


I said: "Cyber war can be won, by making everyone's computers secure."

The Reply: But isn't that like saying conventional war can be won by making everyone's skin bulletproof?

Actually, multilevel secure computing has been a real thing since the 1970s... it'll be on your machine in about 10-20 years, I think.


On the other hand, you'll never be able to completely jam an RF communication system via purely technological means. And if that wasn't enough... you can always shift to using longitudinally polarized systems, which go through Faraday cages, and can't possibly work according to most physics books, in spite of evidence to the contrary.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:18 PM on March 6


With all due respect, while some (but not all) security problems have theoretical solutions that have been successful mostly on classified / closed networks in areas where the controlling entity is willing to pay for that level of security in dollars and performance tradeoffs, none of them have been put into a workable system without those unacceptable tradeoffs for the average user. You even acknowledge that it will take 10-20 years for this to trickle down to everyday machines, but you also say "cyber war can be won." No, it can't, at least not at a cost that people are willing to bear.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:36 PM on March 6


From the article
... low-power GPS jammer ...
To prevent the smuggling of these devices, which are illegal in the US, the Air Force Research Laboratory is developing a jammer detector that can be installed at border crossings.
That's not the first place a detector like that would be deployed. The whole blurb seems odd -- like disinformation.
posted by surplus at 2:48 PM on March 6


I wonder if the military is working on a wireless optical communication system, at least for GPS, if not for aircraft communications.
posted by surplus at 2:55 PM on March 6


NASA is using laser communications with the LADEE lunar spacecraft. I imagine on a battlefield all the smoke and dust would be an issue, not to mention the line of sight requirement unless you bounce lasers off satellites or something.
posted by exogenous at 4:00 PM on March 6


I agree, exogenous. Smoke is too easy a countermeasure on land.
posted by surplus at 4:54 PM on March 6


All we have to do is drop the Comcast on our enemies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:40 PM on March 6


The whole blurb seems odd -- like disinformation.

The problem is that disinformation is hard to distinguish from dumbth.
posted by sneebler at 7:55 PM on March 6


Interesting post. Thanks, the man of twists and turns.
posted by homunculus at 12:23 AM on March 7


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