The US Army has announced approval for the establishment of a new Electronic Warfare (EW) 29-series career field to support future electronic warfare capabilities and other technological innovations.

The new career field, which will rise to nearly 1,600 personnel over the next three years, will be aimed at providing commanders and their staff with guidance on how the electromagnetic spectrum can impact operations and how friendly EW can be used to gain an advantage in support of tactical and operational objectives.

Army chief of electronic warfare, Col Laurie G Buckhout, said that the initiative was part of the new administration’s emphasis on technical investments and new technological innovations in particular.

“The creation of a large cadre of full-time EW specialists is a critical step in the right direction to addressing the very complex challenge of controlling the electromagnetic environment in land warfare,” said Buckhout.

The need for greater EW capability was realised in Iraq in 2006, when navy electronic warfare officers had to be placed alongside ground combat units to counter the emerging remote-controlled IED threat.

Army vice chief of staff, Gen Peter W Chiarelli said that future battlefields will be determined by resourceful enemies attempting to leverage the electronic spectrum.

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“Building an EW structure within the Army will greatly enhance our ability to tightly integrate non-kinetic and kinetic capabilities across the Army and as part of joint operations,” he said.

To develop EW experts, Fort Sill, Oklahoma is now conducting a series of pilot EW courses. Warrant officer and enlisted pilot courses are expected to begin in spring 2009. The third officer functional area pilot course is scheduled to begin on 29 June.

By Daniel Garrun.