Friday, February 10, 2017

EW: The Forgotten PSYOP Weapon


It’s been a pretty busy week and I almost didn’t make a posting. That is until I spotted an old piece about garage doors and the Navy. The headline reads “ Radio signal from U.S. Navy submarine base blamed for mystery of garage doors in Connecticut opening and closing at random” (see:; which is also the photo source).

The essence of the story is that radio signals from the Naval Submarine Base New London (which gives its street address as Groton, CT) were the probable cause of the bewitched garage doors. The sub base noted that the signals were part of the Enterprise Land Mobile Radio (ELMR) System.  A quick Google search came up with which claims that “This system is deprecated, and may no longer be in use or is superseded by another system. (see:

Having started my career in the EW/SIGINT world I know that there are good things and bad things associated with jamming. For those of you who are not EW aficionados, jamming means overpower a friendly signal so that its intended receiver cannot receive it.

The good news is that you can deny the enemy the effective use of his transmitters be they radios, television broadcasting or mobile phones. The bad news is that it’s not stealthy. Targets generally know when they have been jammed.  Another element is that jamming is generally a broad based weapon meaning all electronics are effected; although there are some ways to jam only selected frequencies.

The use of EW can also have a psychological effect. For example if an enemy force feels that they are not only surrounded physically, but they are cutoff electronically, this may induce them to surrender.

While TTP should dictate that EW should easily be brought into play, this is not necessarily the case. The tactical fighter typically does not have EW resources on hand. Furthermore, a sophisticated analysis needs to be performed of the impact zone of the proposed jamming to determine the nature of collateral impact.

What does this all mean?

It means that the MISO CDR needs to be thoroughly familiar with and connected to their counterparts in other disciplines. Today’s posting scratches the surface about EW. The posting urges MISO CDR not to overlook adapting tools of warfare that have not typically been included in PSYOP or MISO.

Reader comments invited as always.
I’m presenting at the RSA Conference in San Francisco next week – shoot me a comment if you want to connect.

1 comment:

_ said...

Great connections. None of this existed in my time. I sure hope young commanders today take the time to figure in such essential, yet somewhat obscure, variables.
Thanks, Doron