Kirk, Gillibrand Bill Would Boost Electronic Warfare Technology

Russia, China and Iran are Closing the Gap on U.S. Military, Leaving Servicemen and Women Vulnerable

S. 2486 Speeds Delivery of Electronic Warfare Tools, Gives Pentagon Flexibility in Tech Development

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced S. 2486, the Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act, which will enable the Department of Defense (DoD) to cut through acquisition red tape and provide more funding flexibility to develop electronic warfare technology. The U.S. military’s electronic warfare capabilities have fallen behind those of countries like Russia, China and Iran, leaving our servicemen and women vulnerable. This bill will get lifesaving electronic warfare technologies to the warfighter more quickly.

“It is critical that the United States military dominates the offensive and defensive ends of electronic warfare,” Senator Kirk said. “This bill will give DoD and industry leaders the tools to quickly develop critical electronic warfare technology for the warfighter, the importance of which I have seen firsthand as an Intelligence Officer with the Navy Reserve in Kosovo.”

“Red tape is standing in the way of our military having access to the technology it needs to lead in today’s complex and ever-evolving landscape,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This legislation will help ensure our service men and women are less vulnerable to national security threats and have access to the most up-to-date electronic warfare technology available.”

Without reforms to its electronic warfare technology and programs, the U.S. military will continue losing its competitive edge to countries like Russia, China and Iran. According to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, the Russia’s electronic warfare capability and sophistication is “eye-watering.”

Our country’s current acquisition process can take up to ten years, and often the technology being fielded is out-of-date by the time it’s approved by DoD. By including electronic warfare programs under the Rapid Acquisition Authority Program (RAA), S. 2486 allows program managers to waive acquisition rules and regulations to move more quickly in acquiring and fielding electronic warfare technology. 

The Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act (S. 2486):

  • Provides DoD with more funding flexibility for electronic warfare programs.
    • The bill allows any appropriated funds for electronic warfare to be used for development and fielding of electronic warfare capabilities.
  • Accelerates the acquisition process for electronic warfare technology.
    • Electronic warfare programs included under the Rapid Acquisition Authority Program (RAA), allowing managers to waive acquisition rules and regulations to more quickly field technology.
    • Currently the acquisition cycle is too long. DoD needs to be able to field a program within two years for it to be relevant.
  • Requires strategic plan for enhancing U.S. military’s electronic warfare capabilities.The bill directs the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to provide a strategic plan with measureable and timely objectives to Congress.
    • The report is to include how services plan to jointly work together on EW; streamlining acquisition and budget process; improvements in training with EW technology; capability gaps; and advancement in offensive capabilities.