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DoD looks to share, better use spectrum

Feb. 20, 2014 - 03:55PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy MWM 20140220
Teri Takai, DoD Chief Information Officer, briefs the press about the department's Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Thursday, February 20, 2014. (Mike Morones/Staff) (Mike Morones)

The Defense Department has released a strategy to integrate future wireless spectrum scarcity into its acquisitions and operations, according to a DoD announcement.

DoD will also work to free up some of its existing spectrum to share with the private sector where it makes sense, DoD chief information officer Teri Takai said at a press briefing.

“This begins a multi-year effort that will require realignment of existing processes and spur decisions over the future of key systems and capabilities,” Takai said.

The newly released strategy will require DoD to:

Improve the use of spectrum in DoD systems and make sure future DoD systems are able to adapt to changes in spectrum use and make purchasing decisions with spectrum flexibility as one of the criteria.

Make program managers more aware of how spectrum issues effect their missions and operations and to identify future spectrum issues that may impact those operations.

Play a larger role in policy discussions regarding spectrum policy and regulation be more proactive regarding future spectrum issues.

Takai said DoD plans weapons systems decades in advance and must take action now to ensure it has the capabilities it needs in the future.

“We cannot shift in a short time frame, we just have too much equipment and too much capability that has to be transitioned in a thoughtful way so as not to propose a major burden on budgets and a major burden on the taxpayers,” she said.

She added over the next six months DoD will craft specific action plans for each service on how it should manage its spectrum efforts.

Karl Nebbia, associate administrator for the Office of Spectrum Management at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration within the Commerce Department, said the DoD effort is part of the administration’s efforts to deal with the growing demand for spectrum.

“Through its plan DoD recognizes that meeting its own requirement amidst the growing commercial and consumer demand will require cooperation, compatibility and flexibility,” Nebbia said.

He said the long-term needs of agencies for spectrum could only be met by sharing it with the private sector.

Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, the deputy chief information officer for Command, Control, Communications and Computers and Information Infrastructure Capabilities, said the Defense Department has seen its need for spectrum grow significantly over the last 20 years.

He added DoD can access private sector spectrum through commercial contracts for mobile phone or wireless internet use and make better use of its existing spectrum by sharing some of it with the private sector.

“Our best plans for the future is vacating, sharing and depression. Sometimes we are willing to vacate an area but the private sector is not interested so it’s a combination,” Wheeler said.

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