By Marguerite Cleveland
The Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced it will begin 5G testing and experimentation at five U.S. military test sites. Awards of $600 million will fund the largest full-scale 5G tests for dual-use applications in the world. Each installation will have a separate objective for the project and partners will include military services, industry leaders, and academic experts. The goal is to advance the 5G capabilities for DoD. The 5 test sites are: Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; Naval Base San Diego, California; and Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada.
“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. 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 five bases and their objectives:
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington – Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Training. JBLM’s objective is to field a 5G network that is secure, resilient, and scalable for 5G-enabled Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. This will enhance mission planning, distributed training, and operational use. The industry partners are GBL System Corp., AT&T, Oceus Networks, and Booz-Allen Hamilton.
- Naval Base San Diego (NBSD), California – 5G Smart Warehousing. NBSD’s objective is a Smart Warehouse that is 5G-enabled and focused on transshipment. The goal is to increase the efficiency of naval logistic operations. This project will serve to validate emerging 5G-enabled technologies. Industry partners include AT&T, GE Research, Vectrus Mission Solutions Corporation and Deloitte Consulting LLP.
- Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, Georgia– 5G Smart Warehousing (Vehicular). MCLB will also develop a smart warehouse to improve the efficiency of logistic operations, vehicular storage and maintenance. Industry partners include Federated Wireless, GE Research, KPMG LLP, and Scientific Research Corporation.
- Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada – Distributed Command and Control. The objective at Nellis to develop the use of 5G technologies for Air, Space, and Cyberspace and to improve survivability for command and control. The industry partner at this site is AT&T
- Hill Air Force Base, Utah – Dynamic Spectrum Utilization. The objective at Hill Air Force Base is to develop a system for airborne radar and 5G cellular telephony to share or coexistence in the 3.13.45 GHz band. Industry partners include: Nokia, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, Key Bridge Wireless LLC, Shared Spectrum Company and Ericsson.
The $600 million in funding is part of the DoD’s 5G Strategy and part of the roadmap to develop the use of 5G technology. This technology will connect more wireless devices than the current technology allows as well as increase high speeds and quicker response times. A foundational enabler, 5G communications technology is key for all U.S. defense modernization programs and plays an important role in U.S. national and economic security.