Navy Electronic Warfare In Washington State

December 7, 2014
Navy EA 18G Growler Jet

Navy EA 18G Growler Jet

The Naval Air Base at Whidbey Island is proposing to add another 36 “Growler” jets to the existing 82 jets currently based there. This is part of a sweeping new plan by the Navy to increase the electronic warfare training taking place in northwest Washington. According to The Peninsula Daily News which reported on protests in Port Townsend;

“The proposal to add aircraft is “to support an expanded Department of Defense mission for identifying, tracking and targeting in a complex electronic warfare environment,” according to the description of the proposed action on the Navy website at”

Voicing her opposition to the plan at the meeting one protestor stated:

““This is just a dog-and-pony show,” said Paula Spina of Whidbey Island.
“The Navy is just taking steps to justify a decision it has already made.” (1)

The Growler Electronic Warfare jets, which have already caused noise complaints in San Juan County are tasked to fly as low as 1,200 feet while operating radar jamming equipment. To give a comparison, Mount Constitution on Orcas Island is 2,400 feet in elevation. The planned EW training has citizens on the Washington coast packing public meetings with reasonable questions and concerns. But the problem doesn’t just lie with the jets and increased noise, the plan is to station large trucks in the National Forest on the Olympic Peninsula that are equipped with large radar units. These trucks will beam a radar signal that the jets will seek out, and in actual application would target with a powerful radio frequency beam and “jam” or disable the radar truck. As reported in the defense industry website “”:

“What’s really needed is a whole new concept of electronic warfare, officers told me this week. It’s a concept in which jamming is not just an “enabler” for conventional attacks but a weapon in its own right.”(2)

As Dahr Jamail reports in an excellent article in the“Truthout”news site:

“Enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted so as to be capable of melting human eye tissue, and causing breast cancer, childhood leukemia and damage to human fetuses, let alone impacting wildlife in the area. – “If it gets its way, this means the Navy would be flying Growler jets, which are electronic attack aircraft that specialize in radar jamming, in 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day.”

The article further states:

“Mike Welding, the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island spokesman, recently admitted to reporters that any antennas emitting electromagnetic energy produce radiation.

“As a general answer, if someone is in the exclusion area for more than 15 minutes, that’s a ballpark estimate for when there would be some concern for potential to injure, to receive burns,” he said.” (3)

Pacific Beach, on the coast north of Aberdeen is one of the focal points for the electronic warfare training. A permanent tower would beam a signal, presumably for the jets to target along with radar trucks in the forest, but in a recent public meeting it was revealed that Navy ships may also be involved. On November 19th a public meeting was held at Pacific Beach Elementary School and was broadcast by radio station KBKW. The operators of local television and radio stations had brought up instances where Navy ships at sea disrupted local broadcasts with their electronic gear, and asked Navy officials if they could expect more disruptions. Many of the people at the meeting expressed concern about the harmful effects of radiation on people and wildlife, as well as the effect on tourist trade. When questioned about the ranks of Navy operators manning the radar trucks, the Navy officials had to admit that they were going to use civilian contractors. Such contractors would have no governmental accountability. In a 12-page pdf by former Federal employee Karen Sullivan, the case is well made that the Navy has violated Federal law by not notifying the public about the proposal. One of the few public notices posted by the Navy was in the Post Office in Forks Washington. According to Sullivan, this comes at a time where the Navy will also be expanding underwater explosive and sonar training in our waters. (4)

What does this mean for Northwest Washington State?

There will be more low jet flights and loud noise as planes and helicopters fly in and out of Naval Air Whidbey. Various areas will be affected by electronic radiation. Once the Navy – or any other military service – gets its foot in the door, there is no turning back and the program will undoubtedly increase in scale and area. As it stands, Forest Service official Dean Millett is the individual solely responsible for issuing the Navy a permit to operate in the National Forest, and Millett is scheduled to retire soon. The Forest service was forced to extend its public comment website but has closed it again. Residents on the Washington coast are preparing legal action to demand an injunction to stop the program and require a true and accurate environmental impact statement. If you are concerned about the increasing militarization and the possible effects of electronic radiation, please educate yourself about the electronic warfare program. You can read over 3,000 comments on the Forest Service website at:

(1) Hundreds gather, speak minds at Port Townsend open house for proposed Growler jet additions

(2) Navy Forges New EW Strategy: Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare

(3) Dahr Jamail | Navy Plans Electromagnetic War Games Over National Park and Forest in Washington State
Monday, 10 November 2014 11:34 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

(4) PDF by Karen Sullivan

(5) Further information:

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One Response to Navy Electronic Warfare In Washington State

  1. Tex on December 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    When you give a boy a toy gun, he will play with a toy gun…when you give a boy a real gun, he plays with real guns!

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