Pentagon unveils first iteration of joint electromagnetic visualization tool

The Electromagnetic Battle Management – Joint has released its first minimum viable capability for situational awareness of the spectrum.
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class David J. Aguilera monitors the electromagnetic spectrum of air and surface contacts in the combat information center aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61), Feb. 16, 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jared King/Released

Commanders now have a tool to visualize and plan operations within the invisible confines of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Electromagnetic Battle Management – Joint (EMBM-J) released its minimum viable capability release for the first iteration of the tool, called situational awareness, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency, the manager for the program.

While invisible to the naked eye, the spectrum has become an increasing strategic maneuver space in recent years, with adversaries seeking to block vital access that enables communications, precision weapons and navigation.

Officials have long been calling for a command-and-control tool within the spectrum to be able to visualize it and plan operations based upon areas of congestion and adversary jamming.


This cloud-based platform integrates various electromagnetic spectrum capabilities and functions into a single system that collects data into a single visual display, DISA said in a release. Without it, forces won’t be able to act faster than adversaries on the battlefield.

“What this does today that warfighters don’t have in their hand is that it provides the ability to bring a number of different information feeds, a number of different data sources together in one picture — and that more than anything else, allows the joint force to make sense and act much more quickly,” Kevin Laughlin, deputy director at program executive office spectrum within DISA, told reporters during a media call Friday. “In terms of risk, we’re mitigating essentially the timescales so we can make sense of the information and act more quickly and make decisions faster than our enemies.”

While other similar systems are used by the services, those exist at the very tactical level for them to execute operations. EMBM-J resides more at the operational and strategic level for commanders and joint task force headquarters joint electromagnetic spectrum operations cells to understand their non-visual terrain better.

“Effective use of the electromagnetic spectrum is essential for successful military operations,” Brig. Gen. Ann-Marie Anthony, Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operation Center director, said in a statement. “This system is crucial for the full integration and visualization of spectrum operations.”

Laughlin equated this system as part of the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) effort, the Pentagon’s top initiative that envisions disparate networks and sensors from each of the services and international partners connected together to share data seamlessly and connect the dots faster than adversaries can.


This situational awareness tool is just the first of the planned capabilities for EMBM-J, Laughlin said. The next iteration will focus on decision support to allow forces to plan and direct operations within the spectrum, he noted.

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