Homeland Security

DHS looks to 5G campus

DHS St. Elizabeth Campus 

The Department of Homeland Security's CIO wants to see if the agency's new campus in Washington, D.C., could be a 5G facility in the future.

In an Oct. 1 panel discussion on cybersecurity at a Northern Virginia Technology Council event, DHS CIO John Zangardi listed 5G capabilities as one of the "coolest" emerging technologies that can scale up for his agency.

Law enforcement, airport and border security missions at DHS, said Zangardi, could see particular benefits from the mobile technology.

"The things that we could do with that are amazing," he said, citing security operations, from mobile database applications to customs and cargo applications. The technology, he said, could also come in handy closer to the agency's headquarters in Washington.

Zangardi said he is considering how to make the DHS' headquarters on the St. Elizabeth's compound in Southeast Washington, D.C., a "5G campus."

"I've talked to industry about this, and one of my goals is to take our campus at St. Elizabeth's and turn it into a 5G campus. That would reduce the number of devices" needed by employees, he said. Some DHS employees carry as many as four, or even five, wireless devices.

"There's a cost to that. As a CIO, I have to be practical. I want to get to one [device]. 5G can get me to that point."

In a short interview with FCW after his remarks, Zangardi said his idea is in the very early stages and aren't yet formalized, as 5G devices and networks are just emerging on the market.

"I wanted to get vendors thinking" about what would be possible on the campus, from practical concerns such as how many antennas would be needed, where those would be placed, to more advanced ideas such as what kinds of applications could be implemented, he said.

The DHS St. Elizabeth's site is also still emerging. The agency had a formal ribbon cutting ceremony for its headquarters building there last summer.

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 mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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