Video On Demand

Addressing an Increasingly Congested and Contested Electro-Magnetic Spectrum

September 15, 2010 • 12:00 – 7:30 pm EDT

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to invite you to a conference on the Electro-Magnetic Spectrum (EMS) on Wednesday, September 15.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) increasingly underpins all aspects of our daily lives, from remotely opening garage doors to controlling appliances, to gaming, banking, shopping, to enabling the use of infrared and radar sensors, GPS, and satellite communications by fisherman, firemen and fighter aircraft.  Policies and processes to manage EMS affect both national security capabilities and concerns as well as economic infrastructure and policy. 

This has at least three major implications.  First, the EMS is increasingly congested as uses and users proliferate.  Capturing and addressing all of the implications presents a significant challenge for the US government.  Second, opportunities for adversaries to contest commercial and military spectrum activities are also rising.  This is in part a simple function of the pervasiveness of spectrum-dependent operations.  But potential vulnerabilities are compounded by the fact that commercial entities (into which the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Homeland Security frequently have little insight) are the main drivers of technological evolution, and fewer and fewer of the leading companies and manufacturers are American.  Thus, thirdly, DoD is challenged to develop timely and relevant offensive EMS capabilities in a market driven by foreign entities. 

These realities have collectively created a situation that, if not addressed, jeopardizes US national security capabilities. At the same time, the loss in US market share is a manifestation of decreased competitiveness, resulting in increased economic risk.  Addressing the EMS is thus not only a security imperative, but also a commercial and economic one.  DoD, other agencies of the USG, and the private sector all have vested interests in maintaining an active and leading US position in EMS technologies.  Ensuring advancement of both economic and security interests requires a broad and fully integrated strategy.  This conference aims to develop both a common understanding of the current EMS-related conditions that threaten US security and prosperity and a basic framework for a comprehensive strategy to better posture us for the future.


8:00 - 8:30  Registration and Breakfast

8:30 - 8:45   Welcome and conference admin – Maren Leed, CSIS

8:45 - 10:15   Panel 1 -- An Operational Perspective on Future Spectrum Challenges and Use

  • Moderator: Brig. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, STRATCOM Deputy J3
  • Don Boian, USCYBERCOM J3 Technical Director
  • Jaymie Durnan, Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Director Defense Research & Engineering (AT&L) 
  • Kevin “Spanky” Kirsch, Director of the Office of Special Programs, Dept of Homeland Security
  • Blair Levin, Communications and Society Fellow, Aspen Institute

10:30 - 11:30 Keynote Address:  Representative Rick Larsen (D - WA)

11:45 - 1:15   Panel 2 Spectrum Implications of Future Technologies (Working Lunch) 

  • Moderator: Vanu Bose, Vanu, Inc.
  • John Chapin, Visiting Scientist, Communications and Networking Group, MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics
  • Ken Dworkin, Associate Deputy Director Technical SIGINT and Electronic Warfare, National Security Agency
  • Kaigham Gabriel, Deputy Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Ali Khayrallah, Director, Ericsson Research, USA
  • Mike Nelson, Visiting Professor of Internet Studies, Communication, Culture, and Technology Program, Georgetown University

1:30 - 3:00       Panel 3 – Increasing US competitive advantage in spectrum-related technologies

  • Moderator: Linton Wells, Distinguished Research Professor, National Defense University
  • David Aucsmith, Senior Director, Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments
  • Andrew Clegg, Program Director, Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS), National Science Foundation
  • COL John Hickey, Jr., USA, Joint Spectrum Center, Annapolis, MD
  • Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate, Google
  • John Kneuer, President, JKC Consulting, LLC
  • Brett Lambert, Director of Industrial Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense

 3:00-3:15     Concluding remarks – Jim Lewis, CSIS

Dress is business attire or working uniform.
To RSVP please contact 
Background paper to be distributed to all participants in advance of conference.

James Andrew Lewis
Senior Vice President; Pritzker Chair; and Director, Strategic Technologies Program