Test & Evaluation

Electromagnetic Environment Effects (E3) Testing

Electromagnetic Environment Effects (E3) Testing tests the ability of a system to operate in its intended electromagnetic environment.  Failure to conduct E3 testing can adversely affect the operational effectiveness of military forces, equipment, systems, and platforms. Additionally, today’s complex military operational environment is characterized by an increasingly congested electromagnetic spectrum coupled with a reduction of spectrum allocated for exclusive military use. The mix of DoD-developed and Commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) electronic equipment increases the importance of effectively managing E3 and spectrum usage in the battlespace. It is the responsibility of the program manager to ensure, and the responsibility of the Developmental and Operational Test Agencies to validate, the readiness of systems to be fielded into this environment. Historically, failure to verify equipment/platform electromagnetic compatibility in the item’s intended operational electromagnetic environment has caused costly program delays and adversely affected operational safety, suitability, and effectiveness.

Electromagnetic Environmental Effects (E3)

Defined in Joint Publication 1-02: The impact of the electromagnetic environment upon the operational capability of military forces, equipment, systems, and platforms. It encompasses all electromagnetic disciplines, including electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic interference; electromagnetic vulnerability; electromagnetic pulse; electronic protection, hazards of electromagnetic radiation to personnel, ordnance, and volatile materials; and natural phenomena effects of lightning and precipitation static.

A series of evaluations should be conducted to demonstrate that an item’s engineering design is complete and sound, that E3 has been effectively controlled, and that E3 limitations and vulnerabilities have been identified and documented. These evaluations and the associated test requirements vary depending on the item under consideration and the operational Electromagnetic Effects associated with its intended use. General test requirements and guidelines for electromagnetic compatibility are contained in:

  • MIL-STD-461: Interface Standards: Requirements for the Control of Electromagnetic Interference Characteristics of Subsystems and Equipment
  • MIL-STD-464: Interface Standards: Electromagnetic Environmental Effects, Requirements for Systems
  • MIL-HDBK-237: Electromagnetic Environmental Effects and Spectrum Supportability Guidance for the Acquisition Process

These evaluations should be initiated at the earliest practical point in the item’s life cycle so that deficiencies can be identified early and corrected. Program managers are encouraged to contact their DoD Component E3 representatives to establish an E3 control and evaluation plan for their acquisition program.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/25/2021

Rank: G1

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