SENSR team moving ahead on spectrum-sharing plan

radio spectrum

Four agencies looking to band together to create a combined radar system want more information from commercial spectrum users and the public on their plan for the project.

Just over a year ago, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration unveiled an idea to combine surveillance, air safety and weather radar applications into a single, spectrum-conserving "system of systems" by 2024. The cross-agency team is called the Spectrum Efficient National Surveillance Radar (SNSR).

The plan is for the agencies to vacate 30 MHz of the 1300-1350 MHz band to make it available for reallocation for shared federal and non-federal use.

The move was authorized under the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2015. In the summer of 2017, the Office of Management and Budget in the summer of 2017 gave $71.5 million to the four agencies to proceed with a feasibility study into how best to consolidate their radio spectrum and auction a portion of it to commercial interests.

In a recently-posted fact sheet on the FAA’s website, the agencies said they’re looking to issue a second Request For Information on their plans by “early summer.”

SNSR’s second RFI will be based on input from an “industry week” of meetings held March 26-29, according to the team.

Previous meetings with industry over the last year, the team said, have influenced a move away from defining traditional radar specifications in favor of a performance-based requirements approach. Under the new approach, the team will define spectrum coverage needed for SNSR and industry will propose a single-system solution to meet those requirements.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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