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berets and M-16s greet the visitor at the front gate. Last fall, I was permitted through the two checkpoints for a rare look inside. Perhaps ironically, Ardisana Hall was experiencing a building-wide power failure the day I visited. In the dark, I was escorted upstairs to the second-floor office of ESC’s commander, Maj. Gen. Doyle E. Larson, who explained an errant beer truck had just crashed a transformer. I never found out whether he was being facetious. Despite the uniform, Larson strikes the visitor as more of a civilian intelligence type. Reserved, articulate, almost scholarly in his approach, he’s no Curtis LeMay. His background is heavy with intelligence assignments: Russian language training at the Army Language School, senior military representative to NSA, director of intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Command, to name a few. Larson likes to portray electronic warfare as giving the U.S. a smarter bang for its buck. The eight-foot Russian bear looks less ominous if his head has been cut off and his right paw doesn’t know what the left is doing, his theory goes. One military catch phrase for this kind of strategy is “force multiplier,” the art of appearing stronger by incapacitating an enemy’s ability to fight. C3CM is an idea designed to appeal to hawks and semi-doves alike. The hawks love everything remotely connected with space-age technology. The semi-doves like the “less-is-more” appeal of a weapon that doesn’t depend on megatonnage for victory. But electronic warfare still costs money. ESC’s budget for operations, maintenance, and procurement shot from $113 million in fiscal 1979 to a projected $198 million in fiscal 1983. The 1983 figure represents a 22 % increase over the previous year. The Air Force has only increased its budget by 10% during the same time frame. Degrading or destroying “the enemy’s command and control while protecting our own” involves interference against any signal moving through the air. In war exercises, the ESC sets up containers packed with jamming equipment and ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES AUSTIN, TEXAS M31 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip orders technical sergeants to flick electronic buzz onto pilot frequencies. They also try convincing pilots to turn back to base or deviate from flight patterns. Real electronic warfare is infinitely more complex. ESC has language experts specialized in mimicking Russian radio talk. Real Russian communications can be recorded and replayed over the air waves to give pilots wrong information. ESC can interfere with data links. A pilot making a computerized instrument landing in bad weather might find himself touching down on a lake instead of a runway. But electronic warfare is not all neat 21st-century gadgetry. Pentagon fears over effects of electromagnetic pulse from nuclear blasts might prompt creation of a new “electron bomb.” EMP \(in of electrons emanating from nuclear explosions that are capable of knocking out “. . . the potential for going nuclear is conveniently forgotten. The emphasis falls on new convential military technology such as electronic warfare.” entire electronic “C3” systems. The Pentagon generals’ basic nightmare these days has Uncle Sam’s head being severed, not by a direct hit on a particular military installation, but by EMP waves surging through the air. To counter EMP, the Pentagon is contemplating a bomb that would release electrons, but no nuclear fireball or fallout. Such a device, the theory goes, could be directed toward an enemy’s communication system during wartime without breaching the nuclear threshold. ESC’s RESEARCH and practice of electronic warfare techniques constitutes only part of its function. Gen. Larson acknowledges ESC has a “peacetime intelligence mission,” but will say little else about it. To find out what this mission is, one need look no further than ESC’s own in-house publication, The Spokesman. Designed as an introduction to ESC for recruits and officers, it’s filled with features on exotic locales in which the command operates, as well as photos of the reigning “Miss ESC.” But a clue to the real ESC comes just inside the front cover with a picture of the FLR-9 antenna system, a series of concentric circles formed by poles with wires strung between them. “The FLR-9 antenna system is a traditional symbol of the Electronic Security Command mission,” Spokesman says, rather ingenuously. In fact, the FLR-9 is an antenna for monitoring communications worldwide. Its circular arrangement enables the Air Force listener to tune into 360-degrees’ worth of radio communications, as well as track a given signal’s point of origin. Spokesman also reveals that ESC’s first wing and largest single unit the 6940th Electronic Security Wing is based at Fort Meade, Md. This also happens to be the home of the NSA. Along with electronic units in the Army and Navy, the ESC provides a percentage of NSA’s eavesdropping manpower. ESC maintains listening posts on all the Cold War’s front lines: Berlin, Korea and Greece, to name a few. Like all other military personnel basking in the slush of Reagan defense spending, ESC officers are quick to point to a “growing Soviet electronic warfare capability.” After some conversation, the officers are willing to admit the Russians are far behind the U.S. in jamming equipment sophistication. But once again, the Russian bear seems to be making up for it with massive numbers of jammers. Ultimately, electronic warfare is not simply an inexpensive way of multiplying American power against a potential enemy. Rather, it is an integral part of the Pentagon’s new strategy for fighting a frightening all-out war. By this view, the unthinkable is suddenly thinkable. A war against the Soviets might not end Strangelove-style with a massive nuclear exchange. Pentagon planners are now thinking “Air-Land” or “strike deep”: holding the Russian first-attack wave while blitzing the second. In this strategy, the potential for going nuclear is conveniently forgotten. The emphasis falls on new conventional military technology such as electronic warfare. That “conventional” tactics could presage a nuclear exchange, even at the battlefield tactical level, is never mentioned during Defense Department briefings. On the contrary, men such as NATO Gen. Bernard Rogers ,see conventional tactics as the West’s best insurance against nukes. Whether increasing reliance on conventional strength will raise the nuclear threshold, or lower it \(simply by making an unpredictable war become a topic of hawk-dove debate. El 14 APRIL 22, 1983