5G Communication – Military Bases to Test Technology

Photo illust. Pixabay - 5G communication

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The fifth generation of rapid cellular network technology, 5G communication, is being applied by more organizations and authorities worldwide. In the near future, 5G infrastructure will be deployed at US military bases. The US Defense Department announced the kickoff of a major initiative to start integrating commercial 5G technologies into its communications networks, basing on commercial achievements in this emerging field.

The Pentagon said it would issue a draft request for proposals in November, asking industry for ideas on how to begin experimenting with the use of 5G capabilities in military settings. The RFP will ask contractors to help DoD conduct real-world 5G experiments in three specific areas: 

Augmented and virtual reality for military training, “smart warehouses” for the military services’ logistics functions, and ways to share radio frequencies in “mid-band” portions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are used by high-powered military radios but are also attractive targets for 5G deployments.

The experiments were geared toward capitalizing on new 5G technologies while acknowledging that commercial companies have already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their development.

Dr. Lisa Porter, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering said: “This is one of those areas where the commercial industry is really leading the charge, but we need to think about how we influence security standards and things like that.” 

Prior to announcing the upcoming RFP, the department issued a request for information via the National Spectrum Consortium – a DoD-sponsored public-private entity that uses Other Transaction Authority to prototype wireless technologies, as federalnewsnetwork.com reports. 

Four bases were identified by the DoD as the test sites for the 5G program: 

Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, Hill Air Force Base in Utah, Naval Base San Diego in California, and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia, according to janes.com.

The US Congress gave DoD the go-ahead to reprogram $52 million from its 2019 budget to begin laying the groundwork for its 5G plans. Defense officials told lawmakers at the time that the money would be used to accelerate 5G development in collaboration with industry, and to dynamically share spectrum for military and private use.