The Network Enterprise Center, or NEC, on Fort Huachuca is now responsible for the management of the electromagnetic spectrum on the installation. This electromagnetic spectrum is the full range of all frequencies that make up electromagnetic radiation in the environment. For example, each time a person uses a cell phone, unlocks a vehicle with a remote device, opens a garage door remotely, accesses wireless Internet or microwaves a meal, the person is using electromagnetic spectrum.
“Most people take these daily occurrences for granted since these frequencies are invisible to the naked eye, but they are out there, and the amount that this resource is being used is increasing by leaps and bounds every day. Unfortunately, the amount of frequencies available to use does not increase, so what the electromagnetic community is facing today is how to do much more with the same amount of resources,” explained James Ortega, assistant installation spectrum manager.
For many years, this local function has been coordinated by the Electronic Proving Grounds Spectrum Management Office. Recently the Army saw the need for a standardization of the function of spectrum management across the service, Ortega said. The Army subsequently identified that each installation’s NEC would assume responsibility for the installation’s spectrum management.
This change affects every individual, contractor, military unit or agency of any kind that has the need or desire to operate any type of device that emits a frequency on the installation. Although some things, like cell phones or keyless entry devices to cars, are exempt from the requirement of requesting frequency assets for use, almost everything else that emits a radio frequency of any kind would require coordination with the NEC office prior to its use.
“One of the biggest violators seen on Army installations is the use of unauthorized hand-held radios or wireless Internet devices in unauthorized areas by units, contractors or other agencies. Many people don’t realize that emitters, even as small as those, can and do create interference for other devices in the local environment,” Ortega added.
Tenant organizations that wish to request frequency resources can do so by contacting the NEC installation spectrum management office, 538.7781/6030/8117, for the process and procedures. Requests from agencies not located on Fort Huachuca, which intend to operate radio frequency emitters on the installation, must first go through the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security prior to arranging for the needed frequency resources. All requests must be received at a minimum of 60 days in advance of the date the resource is required for use, in accordance with Army Regulation 5-12.
“Army Regulation 5-12 spells out the Army policy and guidance concerning the electromagnetic spectrum. It also prescribes the responsibilities of Army commanders at all levels regarding spectrum management,” explained Ortega.