DOD sets 5G test sites

5G (BeeBright/ 

The Defense Department plans to use a base in each of its service branches to probe how it could use emerging 5G wireless services and infrastructure.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington state; Hill Air Force Base, in Utah; The Navy's Base San Diego in San Diego and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia will be the first military installations to help DOD set the stage for its possible future uses of 5G technology, said the agency in an Oct. 31 statement.

The DOD said it chose the bases because they can provide streamline access to a variety of technologies and facilities vital to 5G, including local spectrum bands, mature fiber optic cable and wireless infrastructure, and the ability to conduct controlled experiments with shared spectrum capabilities.

DOD CIO Dana Deasy told reporters at a June briefing that the goal with 5G testbeds was to end up with capabilities that can continue to be used after testing is completed.

"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.

On Oct. 23, DOD teed up plans for an initial round of solicitations for 5G experiments to a dynamic spectrum sharing testbed for congested environments; another for an integrated augmented/virtual reality mission and training application; and another for a smart warehouse application with maximized logistics capabilities.

DOD said in October that it would send out the draft requests this month, with final RFPs by December, along with an industry day. However, the launch of procurements for the program, DOD said, hinge on Congress passing 2020 appropriations.

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, 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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