The Department of Defense has named seven U.S. military installations as the latest sites where it will conduct fifth-generation (5G) communications technology experimentation and testing. They are Naval Base Norfolk, Virginia; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Hood, Texas; Camp Pendleton, California; and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
This second round, referred to as Tranche 2, brings the total number of installations selected to host 5G testing to 12. This tranche builds on DoD’s previously-announced 5G communications technology prototyping and experimentation and is part of a 5G development roadmap guided by the Department of Defense 5G Strategy.
5G technology is vital to maintaining America's military and economic advantages. 5G is the fifth-generation of cellular network technology. It is the advent of ubiquitous connectivity – the connectivity of everything and everyone everywhere – through wireless communications. DoD’s efforts focus on large-scale experimentation and prototyping of dual-use (military and commercial) 5G technology that will provide high speeds, quicker response times and the ability to handle many more wireless devices than current wireless technology.
Last year, the department announced the selection of the Tranche 1 bases: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Naval Base San Diego, California; and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia as the first U.S. military installations to host testing and experimentation for 5G technology. In May of 2020, DoD announced Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada was also selected.
The bases were selected for their ability to provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing.
DoD recognizes industry will play a key role in the development of leap-ahead 5G technology for both military and civilian uses. In the coming weeks, the department will issue requests for prototype proposals from industry partners. The new round of opportunities will focus on the following areas:
- Ship-wide/Pier Connectivity at Naval Station Norfolk
- Enhancing Aircraft Mission Readiness at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
- Augmented Reality Support of Maintenance and Training at Joint Base San Antonio
- Wireless Connectivity for Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) at the NTC at Fort Irwin and Fort Hood, Texas
- Wireless Connectivity for FOBs and TOCs at Camp Pendleton
- DoD 5G Core Security Experimentation Network at Joint Base San Antonio and multiple remote locations
- Bi-directional Spectrum Sharing – DoD / Commercial at Tinker AFB