Sunday, 25 October 2020

US Department of Defense invests $600m for 5G military tests

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 09 October 20

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced that the funding would be spread across five military testing facilities, working alongside the likes of Nokia, Ericsson, and AT&T

As the geopolitical battle between the US and China rages on, dominance in 5G technology is rapidly becoming not only a symbol of national pride but something of a military necessity. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that the US DoD is investing $600 million into 5G testing across five military bases.   The projects will focus on a variety of 5G use cases for military application…

As the geopolitical battle between the US and China rages on, dominance in 5G technology is rapidly becoming not only a symbol of national pride but something of a military necessity. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that the US DoD is investing $600 million into 5G testing across five military bases.
 
The projects will focus on a variety of 5G use cases for military application. The topics include:
 
    • Augmented and virtual reality, ultimately for us in mission planning, training, and operational use.
    • Smart Warehousing, both for transshipment and vehicles, aimed at supporting military operations logistically
    • Distributed command and control, to aid in communications with ‘Air, Space, and Cyberspace’ operations
    • Dynamic spectrum utilisation, with the goal of allowing Air Force radar to dynamically share spectrum with 5G network systems
 
“The Department of Defense is at the forefront of cutting edge 5G testing and experimentation, which will strengthen our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness in this critical field,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. 
 
“Through these test sites, the Department is leveraging its unique authorities to pursue bold innovation at a scale and scope unmatched anywhere else in the world. Importantly, today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to exploring the vast potential applications and dual-use opportunities that can be built upon next-generation networks,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering
 
The tests include a number of high-profile partners, including Nokia, Ericsson, and AT&T. 
 
While this work alone is nothing to be concerned about – national militaries have been working with communications providers since the birth of telecommunications – it does raise questions about President Trump’s willingness to create a nationalised 5G network. This idea was first raised back in 2018, but faced immense backlash from regulators and the industry itself, though has since resurfaced as part of Trump’s re-election campaign. 
 
With 5G such a geopolitical hotspot, its little surprise that Trump would be leveraging the idea of a national network, but the difficulties of delivering such a project would be immense, not to mention that the country’s operators would already have completed their 5G deployments long before the national network could be completed. For now at least, Trump will have to settle for expanding the use of 5G tech for military applications.  
 
 
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