DOD preps bases for 5G

5G (dencg/ 

Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy said the organization is putting together a list of bases across the services to test -- and ultimately keep -- 5G capabilities.

DOD research and engineering is working on the rollout of 5G with the services, Deasy said during a June 25 Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, D.C., and building use cases to prove out various spectrum uses.

The department is now determining which bases can be used to test out the capabilities, across services in hopes of leaving them there after testing.

"One of the things we want to do is not just go in there and do experimentation and pull it out but to actually leave a capability behind that the bases can continue to use from the 5G standpoint," Deasy said.

And as with most emerging tech, there's a supply chain security concern, especially when companies like Huawei are manufactured by and have ties to U.S. adversaries. Deasy said that while the U.S. isn't necessarily at a disadvantage, it needs to consider building more things domestically.

And when it comes to spectrum, Deasy said the challenge is whether DOD can "dynamically share" with commercial users.

"And then you have a whole conversation around supply chain, and where is the buildout of all that it takes to actually bring 5G to life going to come from," he said. "As a nation we do need to step up and look very strongly at how we create more domestic capability" at the chip, application, integration, and infrastructure levels.

But just because those supply chain risks aren't going away, doesn't mean the U.S. is at a total loss, Deasy intimated.

"All forms of telecommunication are going to be a part of the global market," Deasy said, commenting on Huawei's seeming domination in the 5G market.

"There are international players that we're concerned about I don't think it's an end all game -- I don't think we're too late to the party here...there will be a constant leapfrogging."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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