House NDAA provision would require Army to create Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence

Legislation part of the annual defense policy bill would require the Army to create an Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence, moving training and doctrine from the Cyber Center of Excellence.
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to "Wild Bill" Platoon, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment conduct electronic warfare training during Combined Resolve XV, Feb. 23, 2021 at the Hohenfels Training Area. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua)

A House subpanel wants to direct the Army to establish a dedicated center for electronic warfare training.

A provision in the fiscal 2025 Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act from the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces would require the Army to create what it calls the Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence within the service’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Centers of excellence are the primary organizations within the Army for training soldiers in their field — be it artillery, aviation or now even electronic warfare — and developing doctrine.

In 2017, the Army decided to take electronic warfare, which was independent, and move it under the cyber branch, in part, due to the close relationship at the tactical level between radio frequency signals and cyber. At the time, the Army was looking to combine these capabilities on the battlefield for integrated radio frequency-enabled cyber effects.


However, in preceding years, experts have noted that there may be limited utility in what some refer to as “tactical cyber” from the Army’s perspective.

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict has shown, electronic warfare will be a critical capability moving forward. Some inside and outside Congress have warned that electronic warfare within the Army still has not gotten the attention it needs as it is subservient to cyber.

“Establishing a dedicated Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence reflects both the indispensable role electronic warfare plays on contemporary battlefield, the unique permeation of electronic warfare across every domain the Army operates in, and the necessity to elevate electronic warfare holistically,” Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, said in a statement to DefenseScoop. “The lessons learned from Ukraine have showed us that the Army has been caught flatfooted in this critical domain and we need to get on track—establishing a dedicated Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence is an important step in that direction.”

According to the proposed legislation, the Army would have a year after it is enacted into law to transfer electronic warfare-related programs, projects and activities of the Cyber Center of Excellence — where they currently exist — to the Electronic Warfare Center of Excellence.

The subpanel’s bill will be marked up along with all the subcommittees within the full Armed Services Committee on May 22.


Editor’s Note: This story was updated to add comment from Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia.

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