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 August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>