For the first time, a conventional U.S. Army unit was
granted approval to use electronic countermeasure (ECM)
equipment on United States soil.
countermeasure equipment is designed to block both incoming
and outgoing signals from electronic devices. In the
explosive ordnance disposal community, having such devices
means that Soldiers can block potentially explosive or
hazardous devices from sending or receiving transmissions
from an outside source.
The Army have used ECM
equipment before in wartime situations; however, the use of
such equipment for training in the United States is heavily
October 31, 2017 - Scott Swanson, a spectrum analyzer with Fort
Carson Counter IED Academy, demonstrates the frequencies radiated
from ECM devices during a multi-day training exercise to be
certified operators of the unit’s electronic countermeasure
equipment at Fort Carson, Colorado. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)
Electronic warfare personnel with the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD)
worked with the FBI, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal
Communications Commission (FCC), and U.S. Strategic Command
(USSTRATCOM) to gain appropriate authorizations to employ ECM
equipment in a controlled environment, Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, at one of
the installation’s many ranges.
During employment of the ECM
equipment, 71st OD GP will train and certify EOD technicians on the
operation and use of the devices. This will enable the unit to train
and certify more technicians from subordinate commands.
training is unique in that the 71st OD GP had to gain approval from
the FBI, FAA, FCC, and USSTRATCOM; who individually, have strict
guidelines that prevent such devices from being used in the United
States. The guidelines ensure the safety of the American public by
restricting the use of devices that disrupt the normal operation of
law enforcement or emergency communications.
Capt. Steven White, 71st OD GP electronic warfare officer, the
process to gain approval to use ECM equipment began in December
White said the approval process culminated with
Soldiers educated on proper use of the equipment, the ranges that
the ECM equipment could defeat Radio Controlled IEDs, as well as how
to properly employ the equipment.
A combination of classroom
academics and hands-on practice exercise, led by CW2 Eric Bermudez
and SFC Justin Randall, electronic warfare technicians with 71st OD
GP, were used to educate the Soldiers prior to being evaluated on
the final day of the exercise.
November 1, 2017 - U.S. Army Cpl. Alexander LeBlanc, an EOD
technician with 774th Ordnance Company, 242th OD BN, 71st OD GP,
transport ECM equipment to the site of a simulated explosive device
during a multi-day training exercise to be certified operators of
the unit’s electronic countermeasure equipment at Fort Carson,
Colorado. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)
“We are establishing a precedent,” Randall said. “Having
our teams certified on the ECM equipment is just the
Soldiers, who completed the exercise,
were certified as operators of the ECM equipment and are now
able to employ ECM capabilities in support of combatant
commanders or other government agencies to counter chemical,
biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive and weapons of
mass destruction threats.
White said the next step
will be extending the exercise to Soldiers of 242nd Ordnance
Battalion. Eventually, he added, the exercise will reach
“What we learn here will change the way the Army currently
trains and employs its troops,” said White.
He added that
until this training, EOD technicians had only notional experience
using ECM equipment.
“Instead of just stating, ‘we are
radiating,’ Soldiers were able to actually see the effects of what
active ECM systems can accomplish.” White said.
of a training environment provides a level of confidence for a
Soldier that simulated training simply cannot, according to White.
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds
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