Electronic warfare (EW) refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum. EW can be applied from air, sea, land, and space by manned and unmanned systems, and can target communication, radar, or other services. EW includes three major subdivisions: Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Protection (EP), and Electronic warfare Support (ES).
Electronic Warfare Support (ES), is the subdivision 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 (EM) energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning, and conduct of future operations.
An overlapping discipline, signals intelligence (SIGINT) is the related process of analyzing and identifying the intercepted frequencies (e.g. as a mobile phone or RADAR). SIGINT is broken into three categories: ELINT, COMINT, and FISINT.
Where these activities are under the control of an operational commander and being applied for the purpose of situational awareness, threat recognition, or EM targeting, they also serve the purpose of Electronic Warfare surveillance (ES).
Electronic attack (EA) or electronic countermeasures (ECM) involves the use of the electromagnetic energy, or anti-radiation weapons to attack personnel, facilities, or equipment with the intent of degrading, neutralizing, or destroying enemy combat capability and is considered a form of fires (see Joint Publication [JP] 3-09, Joint Fire Support).
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