SMDC takes lead in Army’s navigation and PNT operations

July 25, 2019  - By

News from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command

The secretary of the United States Army has designated the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command as the Army’s representative to identify and advocate for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) information as well as establish and formalize joint navigation warfare, or NAVWAR, requirements.

“Navigation warfare is really about taking a look at different position, navigation, and timing signals and figuring out how the signals flow; the potential for adversaries to disrupt our ability to use them in the future; and how can we not only protect ourselves from the enemy denying us with those abilities, but also how can we do the same to our enemies and affect them and disrupt them in a multi-domain operational environment,” said Col. Timothy G. Dalton, USASMDC/ARSTRAT U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, Capabilities Manager for Space and High Altitude, or TCM SHA.

Soldiers in the field learn how to operate in a NAVWAR environment. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Soldiers in the field learn how to operate in a NAVWAR environment. (Photo: U.S. Army)

What NAVWAR Does. NAVWAR allows the Army to take deliberate defensive and offensive actions to assure U.S. forces PNT information through coordinated employment of space, cyberspace and electronic warfare operations. PNT data enables the Army to precisely move, shoot and communicate; extend its operational reach; control the tempo of operations; and perform mission command, all without adversarial interruption.

NAVWAR capabilities include electronic protection which includes systems and capabilities required to defend platforms and systems against electronic acts in the GNSS electromagnetic spectrum.

The Army has more than 250,000 GPS-dependent systems.

Additionally NAVWAR provides electronic support to sensors and software used to search for, intercept, identify, locate or localize, and report sources of intentional and unintentional radiated GNSS electromagnetic interference for mitigation and planning future operations.

NAVWAR can also provide electronic attack with capabilities to seize and sustain the initiative by actively degrading or denying the GNSS electromagnetic spectrum to adversaries in multi-domain operations.

The Army is dependent on the use of this data with a typical brigade combat team depending on more than 28 different systems and 600 total systems that leverage PNT. The Army has more than 250,000 GPS-dependent systems.

“As the Army goes forward in multi-domain operations, what we see the battlefield becoming is a contested environment,” Dalton said. “What that means is there are adversaries that will look to challenge the United States across all operational phases and domains. These enemies will have the capability to disrupt signals, like GPS, that can impact a wide range of military and civilian activities.

New NAVWAR Concept. SMDC is developing a TRADOC-sponsored Army NAVWAR concept that will be used to establish a baseline for how the Army will execute the NAVWAR fight.

The Army is highly dependent on the use of GPS-delivered PNT data. NAVWAR prevents the use of GPS by hostile forces while ensuring unimpeded use for U.S. forces and allies.

“In the command’s advocacy role we work with the joint and Army communities to examine what the Army needs to be able to accomplish the mission through navigational warfare,” Dalton said. “We work with a community of interest to determine the requirements that will build capability and reduce shortfalls in this mission area.

“This includes activities like updating doctrine, our organizational structure, ability to train the force, and ultimately determine if we need additional equipment, or holistic solutions to protect capabilities and disrupt the enemy on the navigation warfare side,” he added.

Training and Research. SMDC, in conjunction with U.S. Forces Command and the Joint Navigation Warfare Center, supports training events under degraded GPS conditions. The goal is to enable tactical formations to develop and train tactics, techniques and procedures that enable Army formations to work.

“We help develop and focus the capability requirements for the Army,” Dalton said. “But we are integrating with a larger community, led by the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross-Functional Team that is focused on modernizing the Army in this mission area.”

SMDC is the Army lead for institutional unity of effort on NAVWAR with several research, development, test and evaluation and capability integration efforts working on the issue independent of one another.

“It is definitely an exciting time for NAVWAR,” Dalton said. “The Army, services and Department of Defense, as a whole, have started to embrace the importance of this mission area and understand the competitive advantage the U.S. and our partners can gain while denying the adversary the ability to conduct operations with respect to navigational warfare.”

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