As the fifth national security cutter USCGC James (WMSL-754) takes her place policing U.S. territorial waters and beyond, she is expected to conduct electronic warfare (EW)—exploiting the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and gathering intelligence. Unfortunately, her EW suite most likely will remain at bare steerageway. It is time the Coast Guard play more fully in the EW realm.
Regaining control and a thorough understanding of the EMS will be a daunting fiscal, training, and material challenge. Coast Guard operators need exposure in real-world operations, to stand watches in adversarial waters to become proficient and hone their skills. Much of their schoolhouse education is untapped; follow-on or refresher training at Navy EW training commands is costly; and there isn’t a dedicated Coast Guard EW shore command that provides afloat EW training.