War’s New Frontier: DOD presses for EMF spectrum used by cell phones for next generation weapons

Drones, stealth jets to eat up large blocs of bandwidth

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Ms. Takai deflected questions about such figures during a press conference Thursday at the Pentagon.

“The reason why we are not giving you a specific number is that we are working right now very closely with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on meeting their goal and the president’s goal, making 500 megahertz available, and so our actions right now are directed in that way,” she said.

Mr. Lewis said average U.S. citizens will not have to give up their creature comforts so the Pentagon can acquire additional electromagnetic spectrum for its war-fighting weapons.

“If we do this right, there shouldn’t be any problems for consumers,” he said.

The Pentagon’s strategy is essentially an effort “to be more proactive than reactive,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, a Defense Department spokesman for command, control, communications and computers and information infrastructure capabilities.

Gen. Wheeler said that in the 1990s, the Defense Department had 90 MHz of bandwidth that was used for approximately 12,000 troops. Now, he said, the department needs about 305 MHz for 35,000 troops.

Learning to share the finite electromagnetic spectrum with the commercial, nonmilitary world is of utmost importance, he said. “We both have a plan going forward to balance the national security needs as well as the needs for the commercial side to keep us competitive around the world.”

During a House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing in June, Mr. Wheeler described the radio frequency spectrum as vital and scarce.

“No spectrum repurposing decision is without risk, but risks can and must be managed,” Mr. Wheeler told lawmakers. “Together, we will develop long-term solutions to achieving a balance between national security spectrum requirements and meeting the demand — and the expanding demand of commercial broadband services.”

Ms. Takai said the Pentagon is working closely with federal regulatory agencies and policymakers, such as the National Telecommunications Information Administration, the Federal Communications Commission and the White House office of science and technology policy, to achieve Defense Department spectrum goals.

Defense Daily reported that the Defense Department also has been cooperating with three major wireless providers since mid-2013 to evaluate sharing broadband space.

The effort has allowed for wireless providers on select Defense Department sites to monitor the spectrum and develop an understanding of the sharing environment.

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