Should the Military Treat the Electromagnetic Spectrum as Its Own Domain?

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Should the Military Treat the Electromagnetic Spectrum As Its Own Domain? image

November 19, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: November 19 on

Military leaders are reluctant to treat the electromagnetic spectrum as a separate domain of warfare as they do with air, land, sea, space, and cyber, even as the service increasingly recognize the importance of superiority in this area.

At the Association of Old Crows conference on October 30, representatives from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force weighed in on a lingering debate:  whether the electromagnetic spectrum should be considered its own domain.

In short, while the spectrum can legitimately be described as a physically distinct domain, it does not make sense logistically for the Department of Defense to declare it a separate domain of warfare, they said.

“It’s something that we’ve had a lot of discussion about … In one way, you can argue that the physical nature of the electromagnetic spectrum, the physical nature of it being a domain. However, I understand the implications and those are different challenges for a large organization like the Department of Defense. So I think that there’s a little bit of a different discussion when you talk about domain and what that implies for the Department of Defense and each of the departments in a different way,” said Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, director of electromagnetic spectrum superiority for the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements.