former commander of the European army; Ukrainian strategy could stop Russian electronic warfare ‘jamming’ efforts
Ukrainian forces could employ a specific tactic to limit the Russians’ ability to “block” or interfere with their command and control infrastructure.
Granted, much was made of Russian prowess in electronic warfare and cyberattack as early as 2014 during their previous invasion of Ukraine, but its operational functionality against Ukraine now seems arguably ineffective.
Senior defense officials briefing reporters made it clear that Russian cyberattacks have had an impact with some sporadic outages or outages, but that Ukraine’s command and control apparatus continues to function effectively.
EW can of course find electronic signals such as radar systems, radio frequencies, and even electronic systems used to guide weapons and “jam” them off or disrupt them to essentially “blind” an enemy. Retired US Army Europe Commander Gen. Ben Hodges (Ret.) Warrior said. This may be due to a specific Ukrainian effort to conduct more dispersed or disaggregated operations in order to “decentralize” command and control.
“On the Ukrainian side, they are able to mitigate some of the challenges of Russian cyber and jamming because they exercise command and control in a decentralized way,” Hodges told The National Interest in an interview.
A dispersed set of decentralized “nodes” within a combat system can help provide connectivity without necessarily relying on a single command and control infrastructure which of course could be more easily seen and targeted.
The Russians, Hodges explained, may not be experienced enough in disaggregated joint warfare operations and therefore suffer from an inability to locate an electronic signature effectively. A centralized command and control structure would of course emit a substantial electronic signal and would therefore be fully detectable by Russian electronic warfare sensors.
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“The Russians are very centralized systems. They are not very skilled and experienced in conducting large-scale joint operations. This was evident given their inability to properly sync,” Hodges said.
Watch on YouTube: Ukrainian war tactics have huge impact on Russian advance
Hodges said the Ukrainians will likely operate on radios only, with no networking equipment or next-generation sensors, but they are employing strategies that could effectively evade Russian electronic warfare efforts to locate what’s called a “line of bearing.” ” or an electronic signature.
The paradox of electronic warfare is also twofold in that the moment an electronic signature, whatever it is, is issued, the place of issue then becomes detectable by an enemy. For this reason, it would not be surprising if Ukrainians kept radios turned off when possible to reduce the possibility of being detected.
Kris Osborn is defense editor for the National Interest and president of Warrior Maven – the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a highly trained expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air military anchor and specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a guest military pundit on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.