Thursday, February 20, 2014

DoD Releases Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy

The U.S. Department of Defense released a report of its Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy (EMS) to increase available spectrum in order to meet growing demand from the commercial wireless industry while maintaining critical military capabilities.

The document outlines key goals and objectives that focus on developing systems that are efficient, flexible, and adaptable in their use of the spectrum; increase operational agility in use of the spectrum; and participate in the development of national and international policies and regulations needed to enable these improvements.

The strategy follows the release of a memorandum issued in 2010 by President Obama titled “Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution,” which requires 500 MHz of spectrum be made available for commercial use by 2020 and one issued in June 2013 titled “Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation” which directed federal agencies and offices to accelerate efforts to allow and encourage shared access to spectrum allocated for federal use.

“The Department’s Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy addresses the ever increasing need for spectrum to achieve national security goals,” said Teri Takai, DoD chief information officer. “This strategy also addresses short and long-term spectrum challenges as it relates to the growing US demand for wireless broadband services. To achieve the balance required between national security and economic growth, DoD will continue to work in close collaboration with federal regulatory agencies and policymakers, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Federal Communications Commission, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as well as with commercial industry.
Together we must identify ways to make more spectrum available for commercial use, and find technologies that enhance spectrum sharing, all while improving how DoD accesses spectrum, where and when needed to ensure mission success.”

http://www.defense.gov/news/dodspectrumstrategy.pdf

In February 2013, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile USA announced plans to begin testing the viability of sharing 95 MHz of spectrum that is currently used by U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies. 

Last year, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) proposed a spectrum sharing scheme between government and industry.  Specifically, the NTIA determined that 95 megahertz (MHz) of prime spectrum in the 1755 – 1850 MHz band could be repurposed for wireless broadband use. Over 20 federal agencies currently hold more than 3,100 individual frequency assignments in this band. Federal uses of this spectrum include law enforcement surveillance, military tactical communications, air combat training, precision-guided munitions, weather balloons, etc.

Sharing and simulation activities are expected in the next few months to determine how federal use of this spectrum is impacted by the introduction of commercial mobile broadband services in this band.  The testing will involve low power mobile broadband uplinks (base station receivers) and four uses identified by NTIA, including air combat training systems, aeronautical mobile telemetry, satellite command and control, and small unmanned aerial vehicles.

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