I learned a new term the other day, and it actually seemed to catch a lot folks by surprise, myself included. I am very used to hearing and am very familiar with the term “electromagnetic environment” or EME. For the US DoD, the EME is defined as (from Joint Publication 1-02):
“The resulting product of the power and time distribution, in various frequency ranges, of the radiated or conducted electromagnetic emission levels encountered by a military force, system, or platform when performing its assigned mission in its intended operational environment. Also called EME.”
Makes perfect sense to a long time EMC guy.
So what’s the “electromagnetic operational environment”? That’s the new term, by the way. Also known as the EMOE. Googling the acronym doesn’t help…unless you like pictures of a rather odd looking, ostrich like bird from Australia.
Googling the exact phrase was a little better and it turns out there are a variety of publications that reference that term. So I found myself looking at my old friend, Joint Pub 1-02, thinking that there’s no way that term is in there but sure enough, there it was:
“electromagnetic operational environment — The background electromagnetic environment and the friendly, neutral, and adversarial electromagnetic order of battle within the electromagnetic area of influence associated with a given operational area. Also called EMOE.”
Now, I’m confused! Sounds a lot like the original definition of the EME, one’s just a little more technical sounding than that other. “The resulting product of the power and time distribution, in various frequency ranges…yada, yada” versus “The background electromagnetic environment and the friendly, neutral, and adversarial electromagnetic order of battle…etc.” Doesn’t that sort of mean the same thing? Well yes…and no. A very big deal in the DoD EM Spectrum business today is Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, or JEMSO, which is essentially an integration of joint operational spectrum management AND electronic warfare (EW). Historically, particularly in recent actions, the lack of coordination between spectrum managers and EW operators has resulted in an unacceptable level of electronic fratricide between jammers and communications systems. NOT a good thing operationally!
So, how does the EMOE differ from the garden variety EME? The key words are at the end of the definition “within the electromagnetic area of influence associated with a given operational area.” Without going into a thesis (which I’m not qualified for anyway), the EMOE is actually a subset of the overall EME for a particular operational area and includes both friendly and enemy frequency use considerations. The EMOE is composed of the background EME and the friendly, neutral, and adversarial electronic order of battle (EOB) within the EM area of influence (a term for another day) associated with a given operational area. The EOB details all known combinations of emitters and platforms for both friendly and adversary force data. Confused? Me too…but basically it’s the EME we all know and love PLUS the intended use of the EM spectrum by both our side and theirs, whether for comms, radar, jamming or what have you.
So, what’s in a word? Quite a lot once you start peeling the onion…..but we’ve just scratched the surface here.