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Defense Department Calls for 5G Experimentation

Oct. 30, 2020
The Department of Defense has announced $600 million in awards for experimentation and testing on 5G systems and technology at five military research sites.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has long recognized the importance of 5G cellular wireless communications technology to commercial and industrial users in the world. The DoD finally certified that 5G will also no doubt become one of the most important dual-use technologies to be used by military forces. It announced $600 million in awards for 5G experimentation and testing at five U.S. military test sites, the largest such dual-use experimentation on 5G in the world. Each site will include military, industrial, and academic partners to pursue further knowledge of 5G capabilities for mission planning and training of armed forces.  

Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Kratsios, explained:

“The Department of Defense is at the forefront of cutting edge 5G testing and experimentation, which will strengthen our nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness in this critical field. Through these test sites, the Department is leveraging its unique authorities to pursue bold innovation at a scale and scope unmatched anywhere else in the world. Importantly, today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to exploring the vast potential applications and dual-use opportunities that can be built upon next-generation networks.” 

Test sites include Hill Air Force Base (Utah), Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Washington), Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (Georgia), Naval Base San Diego (California), and Nellis Air Force Base (Las Vegas, Nevada). Bases were chosen for their mature fiber-optic and wireless communications infrastructures and their capabilities to support new and improved infrastructure requirements. Testing and experimentation will involve dynamic spectrum sharing and exploring the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities of 5G networks for mission planning and other military requirements. Industry partners are extensive and different at each site and include such leading system suppliers as AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Ericsson (see figure), GE Research, and Nokia.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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