DOD wireless concerns allayed

The Defense Department is satisfied that a new class of wireless technology will not interfere with key battle systems, Pentagon officials said.

On Feb. 14, the Federal Communications Commission approved commercial use of ultrawideband, a new type of wireless technology that is a faster and more secure way of sending wireless transmissions. DOD was concerned that ultrawideband signals are so powerful that they interfere with its wireless operations.

But the FCC, in its decision, set limits on what radio frequencies the ultrawideband devices can use, including avoiding those frequencies used by the military and companies that sell global positioning services.

"DOD concluded FCC's technical restrictions on [ultrawideband] devices would be sufficient to protect military systems. Such restrictions were the minimum required to avoid interference with those systems," said Steven Price, deputy assistant secretary of defense for spectrum and command, control and communications policy.

"The department supports FCC's reasoned and balanced approach of protecting critical national security systems from frequency interference while allowing commercial deployment of new technologies," Price said.

DOD praised the efforts of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is responsible for managing the federal government's spectrum, for ensuring mission-critical operations are not jeopardized, Price said.

DOD officials said the department would monitor regulatory and market developments to ensure national security is maintained and that ultrawideband devices did not jeopardize mission-critical operations.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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