Electronic warfare support (ES) is the
|“||[d]ivision of EW involving actions tasked by, or under direct control of, an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify, and locate or localize sources of intentional and unintentional radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning, and conduct of future operations.||”|
Thus, electronic warfare support provides information required for decisions involving electronic warfare operations and other tactical actions such as threat avoidance, targeting, and homing. Electronic warfare support data can be used to produce signals intelligence, provide targeting for electronic or destructive attack, and produce measurement and signature intelligence.
Electronic warfare support systems are a source of information for immediate decisions involving electronic attack, electronic protection, avoidance, targeting, and other tactical employment of forces. Directed energy may also support EW, such as a laser-warning receiver designed solely to detect and analyze a laser signal. Electronic warfare support systems collect data and produce information or intelligence to —
- Corroborate other sources of information or intelligence
- Conduct or direct electronic attack operations
- Initiate self-protection measures
- Task weapons systems
- Support electronic protection efforts
- Create or update EW databases, and
- Support cyber electromagnetic activities.
Activities related to electronic warfare support include —
Electronic warfare support and signals intelligence missions use the same resources. The two differ in the person who tasks and controls the assets, the purpose for the task, the detected information's intended use, the degree of analytical effort expended, the detail of information provided, and the timelines required. Like tactical signals intelligence, electronic warfare support missions respond to the immediate requirements of a tactical commander. Signals intelligence above the tactical level is under the operational control of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service and directly supports the overarching national security mission. Resources that collect tactical-level electronic warfare support data can simultaneously collect national-level signals intelligence.
- Overview section: U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Pub. 1–02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Apr. 2010) (full-text).
- Overview section: FM 3-36, at 1-6.