Long time readers know that ComNavOps has frequently pointed out that the major underpinning of the entire Third Offset Strategy, which is networking and unmanned vehicles, is based on the foundation of unhindered communications. You can’t operate a network, data links, or control unmanned vehicles if you can’t assure your communications. I’ve also pointed out that the assumption of unhindered communications is very suspect. Against a peer, communications will be jammed, spoofed, disrupted, hacked, etc. This calls into question the very foundation of the Third Offset Strategy and the military’s entire warfighting concept.
With that backdrop, USNI News website reports that the Russians have established a Murmansk BN mobile, truck-based communications eavesdropping and jamming system in
Crimea aimed at our destroyers in the Black Sea (1).
Personally, I welcome Russian jamming attempts. Maybe we’ll learn what vulnerabilities we have and, more importantly, maybe we’ll learn how to conduct operations without transmitting (EMCON), as we routinely did during the Cold War.
Far more interesting and disturbing is this quote from the article.
“What’s it going to do to Aegis? Probably nothing. But maintaining data links could be an issue,” Carlson [Retired Navy captain and naval analyst Chris Carlson] said.” [emphasis added]
This is exactly what I’ve been talking about. All of our fancy cooperative engagement capabilities, our fantasized regional networking, the entire F-35 combat concept of sharing data, our universal shared tactical picture, our weapon guidance, and the entire distributed lethality concept are all based on unhindered data links. What happens when a peer figures out how to disrupt or degrade our communications?
|Murmansk BN System|
We’ve created an immense potential vulnerability and Russian and
can see it and have the capability to take advantage
of it. We desperately need to start
conducting realistic tests and find out whether our entire combat concept is
based on a fatal weakness or whether we can operate in the face of peer level
electronic warfare and communications disruption. We need to find out before we go to war, not
Note: The point of this post is not to debate the effectiveness of the Murmansk BN system. The point is to note the need for robust and realistic testing of our datalink communications which forms the foundation of our entire future military capability.
(1)USNI News, “
Official: U.S. Installed System in Russia Crimea to Snoop on Destroyers, Jam Communications”, Sam LaGrone, U.S. 1-May-2017,