Words of Warfare

By Joe Gould / May 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM

As the Army beefs up its electronic warfare abilities, an article published by the Russian state news agency suggests that Moscow's plans for an equivalent electronic warfare cadre were "thwarted" by the country's economic crisis.

In the last several months, the U.S. Army has okayed an electronic warfare field manual and set aside 1,500 slots for an EW force. But similar Russian plans fell victim to "yet another army reform," the piece alleges.

The article, authored by Yury Zaitsev, an academic adviser with the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences, says electronic warfare "will play an increasingly greater role in future conflicts."

Russia has used electronic warfare against insurgent communications networks and roadside bombs in the North Caucasian region, said Zaitsev. And EW may have been used against Russian helicopter pilots in the same region when they found that their GPS devices displayed inaccurate readings.

While there may not be a Russian EW unit, the country has developed an EW weapon that can "fit inside a car trunk and can disable the power grid of a small country or an entire region in just a few minutes," Zaitsev said.

But he closes with this:

A couple of years ago, the Government discussed the issue of establishing an electronic warfare force. Well-informed sources say the Defense Ministry had drafted all the required documents and coordinated them at top military-political level. The new military branch was designed to obstruct enemy electronics in the air, on land and at sea, as well as in space, and to shield Russian military installations and government facilities.

These plans were thwarted, however, by yet another army reform, a decision to adopt new military uniforms, and the present-day financial and economic crisis. This is rather lamentable, as electronic warfare units will become an indispensable asset during a hypothetical conflict with any powerful enemy.

In the final analysis, electronic warfare will decide the outcome of future military conflicts.

However, a U.S. Army official wasn't buying Zaitsev's claims, contending, "They just want the public to think so. A nice ((information operations)) campaign."