The First Thing We Cut

Electronic warfare isn’t as obviously constituent-serving as programs that sustain production of ships, airplanes, and vehicles, but needs robust investment and advocacy, said Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) Thursday. “In times of peace, electronic warfare is the first thing we cut,” he stated at the Lexington Institute-sponsored EW seminar on Capitol Hill. Larsen, a House Armed Services Committee member, said each service “needs a general” to be such an advocate to keep up the pressure to fund EW when finances get tight. The challenge is that electronic warfare is one of the fastest moving threat areas, but the hardware in which the Pentagon invests “will be around for decades,” he said. Larsen noted that Navy EA-18G Growlers, in their first combat action, “flew over 700 combat missions” in the region of Libya this year. “Demand remains high” for all EW assets in all theaters, he said. Lexington’s Daniel Goure said demand for the Growlers “is clearly going to exceed supply.” If there are fewer F-35s to help out with electronic warfare, “stress on the Growlers will go up,” he said.