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Senate to Debate NDAA

Posted By Amanda Crowe, Monday, June 11, 2018

On June 5, S.2987 the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 was introduced in the Senate. The bill will be debated and voted on during the week of June 11. Once passed, the Senate and the House will go into a conference committee to reconcile the differences between their respective versions of the NDAA. Whatever comes out of that conference will be voted on by both chambers to become law, the official FY2019 NDAA.

Below are select items of interest to the AOC community in S.2987. For more information on the FY2019 NDAA, please contact Amanda Crowe at

Independent assessment of electronic warfare plans and programs (sec. 242)

Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to enter into an agreement with JASON” (a scientific advisory group) to create an independent assessment of U.S. electronic warfare strategies, programs, order of battle, and doctrine, along with those of U.S. adversaries, to be completed no later than October 1, 2019. Should include capabilities of non-DoD entities (including allies) and recommendations for improvement.

Cross-functional teams in the Department of Defense (sec. 925)

Establishes three cross functional teams (CFTs): electronic warfare, personnel security, and the lethality of close-combat units. CFTs help integrate across DoD silos and are made up of experts who report to the Secretary on how to handle unique challenges. Intention is to bring together OSD, Joint Staff, Services, and the combatant commands.

The roadmap for EW includes: a review of the vulnerabilities identified in the May 2015 Electronic Warfare assessment; an assessment of the capability of U.S. forces to conduct joint electromagnetic spectrum operations against near-peer adversaries; and a description of actions, performance metrics, and projected timelines for achieving key capabilities for electronic warfare and joint electromagnetic spectrum operations. Also would include an analysis of any personnel, resourcing, capability, authority, or other gaps to be addressed in order to ensure effective implementation of the strategy across all relevant elements.

Guidance on the electronic warfare mission area and joint electromagnetic spectrum operations (sec. 1032)

This provision would establish a senior designated official and an associated cross functional team to update the June 2017 Department of Defense Electronic Warfare strategy and submit it, along with a road map of the referenced requirements and plans, not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act to the congressional defense committees. The roadmap would in part include the efforts undertaken in support of the 2017 DOD Electronic Warfare strategy and any updates or changes to the strategy since its issuance and an assessment of the capability of the joint force to conduct joint electromagnetic spectrum operations against peer competitors. The roadmap would also include an analysis of any personnel, resourcing, capability, authority, or other gaps to be addressed in order to ensure effective implementation of the strategy across all relevant elements of the Department.  Finally, in consultation with the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the cross functional team would provide an assessment of the electronic warfare capabilities of Russia and China, a review of U.S. vulnerabilities with respect to electronic systems, and a study of the manner in which Russia and China develop electronic warfare doctrine, with order of battle across multiple domains, and long-term research trends of each country in connection with such warfare.

Assessment of the electronic warfare capabilities of Russia and China (sec. 1661)

Development of Electromagnetic Battle Management capability for joint electromagnetic operations (sec. 1663)

The committee recommends a provision that would direct the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to designate a military Service with the responsibility for acting as executive agent for the development of an Electromagnetic Battle Management capability for joint electromagnetic operations.

Multiyear procurement authority for F/A–18E/F Super Hornet and EA–18G aircraft program (sec. 121) and an increase of $31.6 million for the EA-18G Offensive Airborne Electronic Attack Special Mission Pod.

B–52H aircraft system modernization report (sec. 142)

Requires a long-term modernization plan for the B–52H aircraft due 180 days after the enactment of this Act, including radar and electronic warfare modernization.

Repeal of funding restriction for EC–130H Compass Call Recapitalization Program and review of program acceleration opportunities (sec. 143)

Procedures for rapid reaction to emerging technology (sec. 212)

Directs the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering to establish a streamlined process that would allow the Department to identify areas of rapid technological change and indicate the need for immediate investment.

Defense quantum information science and technology research and development program (sec. 222)

This program would be established under the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering most effectively leverage the technological capabilities en- able by quantum science and technology to meet future military missions.  The purpose is to provide a strategic framework for DOD activities in this area, and to help ensure U.S. superiority in the field, especially with respect to national security missions and systems.  The Senate bill also increases funding for these activities through various accounts.

Authority for Joint Directed Energy Transition Office to conduct research relating to high powered microwave capabilities (sec. 225)

Report on comparative capabilities of adversaries in key technology areas (sec. 231)

Directs the Defense Intelligence Agency to complete a report that directly compares United States capabilities in near-term emerging technology (e.g., hypersonic weapons, directed energy) and longer-term emerging technology (e.g., artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences) with that of U.S. adversaries.

Powers and duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in connection with priority emerging technologies (sec. 901)

Grants authority to direct military and other elements of DoD in regard to hypersonics, directed energy, space satellite architectures, and artificial intelligence. Authority is good for one year, requires renewal.

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With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.