MODES OF CONDUCT: Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division conduct mission command and network communications on-the-move, during the Army’s three-week Armored Formation On-The-Move Network Pilot, at Fort Stewart, Georgia, on February 2. (Photo by Capt. Detrick Moore, PEO C3T)
Future multidomain operations against a near-peer threat would likely include electronic warfare, such as the ability to jam the satellite communications of U.S. forces on the battlefield. To combat these threats, the continual modernization of protected satellite communications capabilities remains a high priority for the Army.
In support of these efforts, the Army leveraged the Armored Formation on-the-Move Network Pilot at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to conduct a capability excursion to inform the potential use of one of several commercial anti-jam capability prototypes that it has been evaluating.
Eventual anti-jam solutions would augment current protected satellite communications systems such as the Army’s Secure, Mobile, Anti-jam, Reliable Tactical-Terminal, known as SMART-T. They could also provide additional near-term interim capability ahead of the fielding of future protected satellite systems that are in the works, like the new Air Force and Army Anti-jam Modem, or A3M, which will interoperate with the Space Force’s Protected Tactical Satellite program.
The anti-jam prototype system is in line with Army network modernization efforts to ensure systems are easy to operate, and to pull network complexity off the front lines to remote locations where they can be managed by more advanced signal Soldiers. During the pilot, the anti-jam capability was completely transparent to the Soldiers using their satellite communications equipment. When the managers of the prototype turned the system on from a secure remote location, the Soldiers inside the anti-jam protected bubble were unaware that anything had even occurred. They did not skip a beat and just went on with their fight in contested pilot environments without losing network connections.
Additional near-term features of the prototype solution could provide simpler network operations utility, as well as a reverse geo-location information capability that can actually pinpoint the origin location of the jamming. Units would then know if the jamming was self-inflicted by things such as closely located friendly satellite terminal emissions, or if it came from an adversary and that threat could be eliminated.
As part of the Army’s capability set strategy in support of its Capability Set (CS) 25 and CS27 resiliency and security goals, the Army used a DevSecOps approach to reduce risk prior to the excursion. Following multiple vendor demonstrations, the service leveraged the integration facilities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, working closely with its industry partner to conduct numerous laboratory-based experiments.
The Army is aware that our adversaries have the ability to jam signals. The anti-jam capability excursion provided a good look at what currently exists in the realm of the possible and what will be needed to support a large scale multi-domain operational fight.
—John Anglin and Amy Walker