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Blackwing Offline
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lack of attention to electronic warfare has put soldiers directly at risk. - March 8th 2009, 03:07 AM

Viewed by its sister services as the less brainy branch of the armed forces, the Army over recent years had neglected to maintain its own ability to fight electronic warfare, relying instead on the expertise of the Air Force and the Navy. But the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have introduced deadly new threats and proved how that lack of attention to electronic warfare has put soldiers directly at risk.
Information-age attacks, like improvised explosive devices detonated by cellphones, radios and garage door openers, have claimed more lives than any other type. And there are high-tech benefits that must be managed, including friend-or-foe tracking devices and surveillance drones that beam video straight to troops in battle. In response, the Army is developing its own electronic warfare teams. The initial goal is to train more than 1,600 people from enlisted ranks through the officer corps by 2013, and to double that in the following years, giving the Army enough of these specialists to rival its sister services and surpass all of the NATO allies combined. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli was the first person to sound an alarm that the Army's neglect of electronic warfare was endangering troops. General Chiarelli was serving as the No. 2 commander in Iraq when he sent a memorandum to Army leadership at the Pentagon in February 2006, warning that soldiers were unable to operate the new high-tech gear that was being rushed to the war zone to counter the rising threat of improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s.

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