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By Senior Airman Aliviah Williams
/ Published March 16, 2023
Students attending the Electromagnetic Warfare Operators Course learn what the electromagnetic spectrum is and how to navigate it with the assistance of the ground multiband terminal system at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, March 10, 2023. The EWO course focuses on giving the operators a higher level of mastery and understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and how to exploit specific systems. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Aliviah Williams)
Guardians attending the Electromagnetic Warfare Operators course gather in front of the ground multiband terminal at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, March 10, 2023. The GMT system is used to teach the students how to understand and navigate the electromagnetic spectrum. (U.S. Space Force photo by Senior Airman Aliviah Williams)
I can teach you how to drive a car, but I also need to teach you the rules of the road, said U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Etan Funches, 3rd Combat Training Squadron commander.
Space Delta 3 is now administering the new Electromagnetic Warfare Operator Course, designed to teach operators essential tasks and concepts that a member needs to know in order to be an electromagnetic warfare operator.
Funches stated the EWO course is a necessary and pivotal addition to the future training and readiness of Guardians.
As operators, the two most important criteria the Guardians focus on in training are space and the electromagnetic spectrum. With the EWO course, operators receive a higher level of mastery and a better understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum before they learn how to operate and exploit a specific system -- similar to Funches’ car metaphor.
Previously, operators had what was called Mission Qualification Training, or MQT, which certified operators on their assigned system. Now, prior to completing the MQT, operators will “learn the rules of the road” and approach the more in-depth training with a stronger foundation of EW concepts and practices.
With the course geared toward a more hands-on approach, operators will learn how to control a system on a live trainer, called the Ground Multiband Terminal. The GMT is a mobile communications system that can be set up to provide rapid communications capabilities using U.S. military communications satellites and will serve as initial foundational Electromagnetic Spectrum training for all Space Delta 3 EWO’s, said U.S. Space Force Capt. Bilal Riddick, 3rd CTS student flight commander.
“We see the requirement [for a better approach to training]. We see the need, and we want to close that gap,” said Funches.
The implementation of this new course allows operators the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, while simultaneously operating and exploiting the electromagnetic spectrum effectively, which in turn helps them use the system better and become better operators.
Developing this course has been a collective, total force effort. DEL 3 leveraged the expertise of the Air National Guard and Reserve units as well as aggressor squadrons and other Space Deltas.
This new and innovative training will facilitate a more informed and healthy discussion between instructor and student while in the classroom. The training is slated to occur at least six times a year with a goal of once a month, so it shortens the time members are waiting to take the class.
“Our job in the delta is to ensure the U.S. has an advantage when it comes to space operations,” said Funches. “Our goal as space operators is not just to leverage the spectrum, it's to dominate.”