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Camp Pendleton Marine Group Makes History Focusing on Electronic Warfare

marines first

By Debbie Gregory.

On July 6th, a new command known as the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force’s (I MEF) Information Group made history at Camp Pendleton by becoming the first of its kind among the Corps’ Marine expeditionary forces.

“It’s a centerpiece of some of the changes the commandant wants us to make in our support to warfighting,” said Col. Roberta L. “Bobbi” Shea.

The command is skilled in cyber, electronic warfare and intelligence, all critical needs as the service looks to build capacity to conduct information warfare at all.

“In the past, the group’s primary mission has been moving and supporting Marines as they go forward to command forces in theater,” Shea said.

Col. Shea handed over command of the newly designated I MEF Information Group to Col. Dawn Alonso, who most recently served at Central Command.

Marines trained in intelligence gathering and electronic warfare in closer contact with commanders and troops on the ground to degrade the enemy’s ability to exploit the information environment, capitalizing on social media and defending the country’s abilities against cyber vulnerabilities.

Shea pointed to such examples as the use of drones, law enforcement Marines picking up fingerprints or exploiting found cellphones on the battlefield, and imagery analysts gathering information from satellites.

Among the changes that are part of the transition are new Marine personnel, increased intelligence and cyberspace training, and a move to new facilities on the base.

While military officials called the re-designation a first at the Marine Expeditionary Force level, an increased focus on new technology and cyber warfare threats are among the Corps’ broader changes, mandated by the Marine Corps Commandant to “modernize the force.”

The re-designation is the first among the Marine Corps’ three MEFs, with I MEF at Camp Pendleton, II MEF at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and III MEF based in Okinawa, Japan.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Electronic Warfare School Preps Soldiers for Tech Battles

ew

By Debbie Gregory.

Ft. Sill is home to the Army Electronic Warfare School, a program that puts soldiers at the forefront of a key component of the Army’s overall fighting strategy.

Rather than fighting with bullets or bombs, troops are learning how to disrupt an enemy’s communications systems, using electromagnetic signals. Soldiers are also learning how to defend against such attacks.

Because it’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving threat environment, the school gives soldiers a highly technical education. They start with the properties of electricity and radio waves, and then move into electronic warfare systems.

In December, 2012, the Electronic Warfare Specialist Basic Course graduated the first 28 soldiers. They received the EW collar insignia at a graduation and cresting ceremony. A crest identifies a Soldier’s military occupational specialty, and inside the crest are symbols that describe a Soldier’s duties. The EW crest features a lightning bolt, key and shield.

The lightning bolt represents the Army’s intent to rapidly, decisively and precisely strike at the adversary with an electronic attack. The key symbolizes the means by which Soldiers unlock access to knowledge of the adversary, and the safekeeping of friendly capabilities and knowledge through electronic support and protection. The shield represents the unconditional commitment to electronically protect people, information and equipment from danger and harm.

Approximately 500 students graduate from the program each year. Strong math skills are really the only requirement needed to do well.

While they’re at the school, soldiers are exposed to a broad range of electronic warfare techniques, from jamming enemy communications to defeating radio-controlled roadside bombs. The program also trains soldiers to cope with a so-called hybrid threat, or an enemy that uses cyber attacks as part of a larger strategy that also includes conventional warfare.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke to a group of national security experts and defense officials, saying that electronic warfare was one of several areas where the U.S. Defense Department was investing in hopes of countering threats and “challenging activities” made by Russia.

Defense officials have said the Russian military is using its sophisticated electronic warfare capability to jam Ukrainian military communications in eastern Ukraine.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.