Drafts call for MSDF to possess electronic warfare unit by 2025

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

The draft revisions for three defense and security-related documents presented by the government to the ruling parties on Friday call for establishing what is tentatively called a “core unit for intelligence warfare” in the Maritime Self-Defense Force, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The establishment of the new unit is part of a plan to reorganize the Self-Defense Forces, which also includes the Ground and Air SDF. The core unit will be tasked with obstructing the command-and-control system of adversaries and countering the spread of disinformation.

This unit will be established by 2025 and will have a strength of 2,000 personnel. Under its umbrella, there will be an “operational intelligence group,” a “maritime intelligence group,” and a “cyber group.”

According to government sources, it will be tasked with electronic warfare to disrupt the command-and-control system and communications functions of adversaries, and with protecting the communications within the SDF, while taking measures against disinformation. It will be modeled after the U.S. Navy’s 10th Fleet, which has no naval vessels or aircraft but specializes in electronic and cyber warfare.

The MSDF will also be strengthened by having its Escort Flotilla, Mine Warfare Force, and the like integrated to create a “surface fleet.”

The GSDF will have a new unit to deal with disinformation. It will also form seven units to operate Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles, which will serve as the mainstay of the “counterattack capabilities,” while establishing anew two long-range guided missile units to operate hypersonic missiles and the like.

The ASDF will be renamed as the “aerospace” SDF by strengthening its capabilities in the space domain. The Space Operations Group will be upgraded to a “space operations command,” under which a “space operations wing,” a “space operations command group,” and a “space operations intelligence group” will be placed.

Besides these, the main command centers will be set up underground and hangar protection will be enhanced. To procure the fuel necessary for operations, plans will be made to construct new fuel tanks and to lease private-sector fuel tanks.

The personnel capacity of the SDF will be maintained at the current level, and 2,000 of the GSDF will be transferred to the MSDF and ASDF, which are in dire need of personnel.