I first got wind of something that made me nod with approval in the latest Armed Forces Journal;
... the service is embracing — or re-embracing — the Cold War-era discipline known as emissions control.No kidding. EMCON is one of those things in the last decade and a half we got overconfident on; lazy and sloppy - so it is outstanding news that we are making an effort to, sigh, re-invent the wheel. Wheels are good. It looks like we are going to re-learn EMCON. Good; BZ to all and trophies for everyone.
In a recent exercise, for example, the crew of the aircraft carrier Nimitz practiced turning off all its trackable emissions, from radars and navigation systems to computers and even Wi-Fi. What initially took an hour eventually took just three minutes.
It’s a skill once employed against the Soviet Navy, then left to atrophy. Now it is being championed by Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. “What our potential adversaries are bringing in, more than anything else, is something that finds and tracks a radar,” Greenert told attendees at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space convention. “If you control your own emissions, you control the future of warfare.”
Maybe, maybe not. But resurrecting EMCON is a good step.
My second thought was what happened to "those guys" who used to give us a good "EMCON Audit," for the lack of a better description, to let us know if we are REALLY conducting EMCON? I hope we fully utilized those guys, otherwise we are just doing the EMCON equivalent of writing our own FITREP. All those bluetooth devices and such .... good though, very good start.
Then I found the speech the above quote came from; the CNO's speech at the Sea Air Space Lunch on 08 April 2013.
Like all well mentored Evangelicals, when someone quotes you a Chapter and Verse, make sure and go to the original text and read then 10 Verses before and after so you can get the proper context.
Well, that is when Tigger became Eeyore again. The quote;
But you’ve got to change the mindset. The kids have got to understand the
significance of it because we haven’t really looked at this for well, generations. So many of them sort of understand it. If they’re a cyber warrior they get it big time. But the day - to - day people out at sea, we really haven’t laid that out for them. They don’t understand the idea of real EM hygiene.
They know cyber hygiene now. They know how to put a thumb drive in, at least many of them do, and insert their own virus. But similarly, we’ve got to understand you don’t just turn stuff on. You just don’t start radiating, rotating and radiating.
When I get the intel summaries today and they find out somebody’s got a new whatever, by far what our potential adversaries are bringing in, more than anything else, is some [inaudible] finds and tracks a radar or something that provides a seeker, is a seeker that is outside our frequency band, low probability of intercept, something that we just [inaudible], we don’t have there.
It’s not a new boom as much. It’s in a whole new realm. That’s kind of where a lot of our potential adversaries are going.
You go to school today. If you’re going to study Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, you’re going to employ it on a ship. Forty weeks. Today if you go to school, we send our kids to school, and you’re going to look at what’s called a SLQ-32 which is our electronic warfare main piece of gear, to a two week school. So we’ve got to get kind of the mindset changed out there and see what we think about it.No, no, no, and damblit, no!
1. Stop calling young Sailors "kids." These are men and women, all Sailors. Don't sound so bloody patronizing to those who put their lives on the line every day, and tomorrow you may order to kill and be killed, it is disrespectful.
2. It hasn't been "generations" it has been singular - "Generation." We stopped taking EMCON seriously when I was a mid-grade LT, the mid-1990s. If you consider that a generation takes leadership control when they are at roughly the 30-yr of service mark; that would be the earliest cohort who started service in 1965. That would be ... yes; the Baby Boomer generation. Funny, for a generation that spent the balance of their career in the Cold War, one would think they would cling to EMCON - but oh well, I guess they were going to try to transform out of that hard work. Let's see, Gen-X hits the 30-yr mark in about three years .... 'Nuff said.
3. It isn't that "the kids" don't "understand" EM hygiene - it is that their leadership has not made it a priority and trained them on it. If you fail INSURV, you don't say, "The kids just don't understand PMS .... " Really. Don't blame the younger generation - they are fine - it is the leadership's priority for the last couple of decades that is the issue.
4. So, intel is reminding us that our potential enemies are learning institutions that won't just sit there and let us kill them? You mean they won't grant us supremacy in all warfare areas? How is that fair? Really? What great insight; that must rate a warfare pin or something.
5. TLAM school takes as much time as from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Henderson Field? Ummmm .... which one is that again? 40-weeks? Really? As for the SLQ-32 at 2-weeks; I'm OK with that. If you don't like the product - revamp the curricula. BTW, SLQ-32 has been around since the 1960s and the program to replace it was started in the 1990s, I think. I'm not sure how many cancels and restarts we are on this, but SLQ-32 will be around awhile longer methinks.
I'm sorry, but I'm in a nit-picking mood. If this wasn't the CNO - the most senior uniformed officer in the Navy - and from a navy.mil URL, then perhaps it wouldn't bother me; but .... who is approving the transcripts from the CNO?
So years and year ago, the Cold War, we actually had our mission control down pat. That’s a picture of the America in a fjord, way back in the ‘70s, early ’80s, where we snuck this thing upunder [MCON] and parked her up there. We measured very closely if anybody knew that ship was being followed of [inaudible], if anybody could track this thing, and we found that they couldn’t. We were pretty good at [MCON] and we’ve gone away from it. Now we need to get back.Hey, I love what they did for VALIANT SHIELD, and I hope they do it as a normal part of workups - but can we first of all take care of something a 1943 WAVE YN3 would never let cross her desk?
So recently we took the Nimitz and we said okay, we’re going to, in an exercise called Valiant Shield. We said we want you to turn all of your [EN] stuff off. So they said, in [inaudible] condition and whatever. It took over an hour to get everything turned off. You turn the big stuff off, and it starts coming down, and somebody’s going what the hell is that? Somebody turn that off. What is that? It’s anything from WiFis to computers to you name it that we’re pulling out there.
Sub-par Staff work people. It is EMCON not MCON. Never say your boss is [inaudible], that is just rude. Talk to the Staff, they'll tell you what he meant. If this is what we do for our top officer, what are we doing for lesser mortals? Very bad messaging.
Oh, speaking of EMCON and aircraft carriers - we've got EMALS all patched up now? How about with rail guns in the future?
With a red hat; targeting with nothing but EW ... a little sporty, but very effective.
EMCON is back? Good - so is tracking ballistic missile submarines in open ocean. If you need some pointers on that, drop me a line.
UPDATE: More fail over at SB if you need additional facepalm to get your week started off right.