Defense

June 19, 2013

Wireless spectrum essential to defense operations, official says

The Defense Department depends on the wireless spectrum for nearly all of its activities, the DOD chief information officer said in Washington, D.C., June 18.

Essentially, everything at the Defense Department is connected to the network, Teri Takai told attendees at a Washington Post forum.

In an effort to ensure commanders are fully informed of activities in and around the battle space, the department has moved beyond just wireless voice and data transmission, Takai said. Video now is part of many military platforms, she explained, and that is just one sign of the department’s growing need for wireless spectrum.

“The bulk of our training is done in the U.S.,” she said. “This isn’t just an international use of spectrum. We really are very heavily concentrated – in terms of the utilization of spectrum – around all of our [U.S.] bases.”

The department needs spectrum in the United States, Takai said. “We do 80 percent of our training here,” she noted. “The safety of our men and women overseas is really based on their … ability to train.”

The civilian market is increasingly reliant on wireless communications as well. Many countries, including the United States, already have more wireless connection points – phones, tablets, hotspots, etc. – than they have people, according to CTIA, one of the forum’s sponsors. As of December 2012, nearly 36 percent of U.S. households were wireless-only, compared to just 15.8 percent in 2007.

The explosive growth of wireless communications has resulted in a shortage of available spectrum for both federal and civilian uses. In response, President Barack Obama last week issued a memorandum establishing a spectrum policy team that will monitor and support spectrum-sharing technologies in concert with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In the memo, federal agencies are tasked with finding ways to enhance spectrum efficiency and free up more spectrum for consumer services and applications.

Defense activities also are becoming heavily dependent on commercial wireless providers, Takai said, so the department naturally is concerned about its spectrum capacity.

Spectrum crowding already happens, said Mary Brown, Cisco Systems’ director of technology and spectrum policy, government affairs. “Anyone who tries to use their phone during the rush hour in a big city already begins to experience what life is going to be like if we don’t get to work on putting more spectrum out there,” she said. Dropped calls and slow or no data connections will become more common, she added.

As government and industry begin to investigate spectrum-sharing scenarios, several challenges emerge, Takai told the audience. Sharing can happen in a variety of ways, she said. For example, spectrum could be shared geographically by being assigned to federal agencies in high-density areas, but used by commercial entities in less-populated areas. Or, multiple users could share the same piece of spectrum at different times, Takai said.

To do that, she said, requires knowing who owns the spectrum, and when and where they’re using it.

“I think one of the challenges is there’s certainly opportunity for us to do spectrum-sharing in, for example, rural areas, where we don’t have the bases,” Takai said. “Unfortunately, those aren’t the areas where there’s the commercial demand.”

The next task is developing devices that can use the shared spectrum, she said.

The Defense Department will continue to seek out ways to operate while using the least possible amount of wireless spectrum, Takai said. “That’s a challenge, because historically, we have a lot of equipment that uses spectrum in a lot of different ways, so making a change isn’t something we can do overnight.”

But, DOD recognizes the need to balance national security with consumer needs, she said.

“Even though there may not be a financial incentive for us [to share spectrum], there is an operational incentive, because we have to weigh not only our responsibility to the nation, but also our operational responsibility,” Takai said. “I think it’s important from a national security standpoint to recognize that we have a certain amount of spectrum that we utilize which is exclusive to us from a national security and an interference perspective.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 23, 2014

News: U.S. conducts spy flights over Russia - After a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory April 21, a State Department official said.  Army paratroopers heading to Poland after Russian annexation of Crimea - U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of...
 
 

News Briefs April 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 22, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is one less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 

Northrop Grumman sets new greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 30 percent by 2020

Northrop Grumman announced April 22 its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2010 levels by 2020, as part of its commemoration of Earth Day.   “Northrop Grumman is dedicated to top performance in environmental sustainability,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This new goal sets the bar significantly...
 

 

Lockheed Martin demonstrates enhanced ground control system, software for small UAV

Lockheed Martin’s Group 1 family of unmanned aircraft systems is migrating to enhanced automation capabilities using its Kestrelô “Fly Light” flight control systems and industry-leading mobile Ground Control Station software. The increased automation allows operators to focus on executing the mission, rather than flying various aircraft. Earlier this year, Lockheed MartinR...
 
 

U.S. Navy awards General Dynamics $33 million to operate, maintain military sealift ships

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics American Overseas Marine LLC a $32.7 million contract modification to operate and maintain seven large, medium-speed, roll-on / roll-off ships for the Military Sealift Command. AMSEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Under the terms of the modification, AMSEA will provide services including crewing, engineering, maintenance,...
 
 

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach. “The SM-3 Block IB’s completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater,” said Dr....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>