U.S. ARMY ELECTRONIC WARFARE CAP / SLEEVE BRAIDS

The hatband on the service cap of Electronic Warfare officers (Field Grade, Company Grade, and Warrant) is manufactured in the branch colors of Golden Yellow and Black (cable 65001 and 65018, respectively). Golden yellow is used for sleeve ornamentation the Army Service Uniform, the lapels and sleeves of the Blue Mess Dress uniform, and the lining of the Blue cape for officers in the grades O-1 to O-6.
 
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The United States Army was one of the early leaders in the development of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies during World War II, and the need to use EW capabilities identify and neutralize Warsaw Pact Command and Control functions meant a great deal of emphasis was placed on ensuring EW technologies at least kept abreast (and preferably surpassed) those of threat forces. But doing that meant keeping EW technologies, doctrines, and capabilities away from the prying eyes of Soviet military intelligence and even espionage assets, which had the unavoidable side effect of “stovepiping” the entire EW field into a small, tightly knit clique that operated independently of conventional units.

With the end of the Cold War, the need for sophisticated and expensive EW technologies and capabilities seemed to dwindle to insignificance, and EW concepts and doctrines were no longer a consideration in planning combat formations. Indeed, so little emphasis was placed on EW that the Army simply stopped allocating officers from the Military Intelligence community for EW training in the mid-1990s. At the same time, digital communications and wireless technology were advancing at a breathtaking speed, with off-the-shelf computing and telecommunication products displaying levels of power and sophistication undreamed of by military planners just a few years earlier.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the launch of Operations Enduring Freedom in 2001 and Iraqi Freedom in 2003, these two separate trends merged to form what could justly be described as an existential threat to American forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda was not only using cheap, easily obtained cell phones to remotely control Improvised Explosive Devices, but also was taking advantage of the Internet for coordinating attacks and recruiting new fighters. This was all being done in the EMS, or electromagnetic spectrum—once the domain of tech-savvy EW Soldiers and Officers.

In response, the Army took the immediate and necessary action of calling upon the EW expertise of Joint Forces, and over 300 EW officers were attached to Army ground forces in order to defeat or neutralize Al Qaeda’s operations and capabilities. At the same time, it made achieving dominance of the EMS at the unit level a top priority. In January 2009, the Army established the 29A Area of Concentration, Electronic Warfare Officer, the Warrant Officer position of EW Technician (290A), and MOS 29E, EW Noncommissioned Officer.

And more changes are expected to come for EW Soldiers and Officers. In 2016, the Army announced it was incorporating the Electronic Warfare division in a new cyber directorate to manage both Cyber Operations and Electronic Warfare.
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