Secrecy News

Secret Systems Clutter the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The difficulty that the military has in allocating the efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum for military operations is aggravated by the fact that some of those uses — involving intelligence platforms and sensors — are secret even from military planners themselves, a new Pentagon doctrinal publication notes.

“Coordination with intelligence units and agencies can be challenging for many reasons, to include classification issues, disparate data formats, and separate technical control or reporting channels,” the publication states.

“In many cases, the JSME [joint spectrum management element] does not have adequate visibility or knowledge of intelligence sensors, platforms, or systems in order to accomplish accurate deconfliction.”

“In order to capture all aspects of intelligence spectrum use, the JSME must understand that intelligence platforms such as UAS/unmanned ground system will have spectrum requirements for both a payload (e.g., imagery or data) and control frequencies to operate the platform.”

“Intelligence is a heavy user of sensors that employ both active and passive techniques. Active sensors are usually accounted for, but the passive sensors will also require spectrum consideration so they perform properly.”

See Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Joint Publication 6-01, Joint Chiefs of Staff, March 20, 2012 (at page V-12).