recommended reading

If You’re a Soldier, Your Next Telecom Carrier Could be a Drone

United States Army

The Army is considering turning drones into roving hotspots, Pentagon officials said. Essentially, a remotely-piloted aircraft would provide cellular coverage in bad reception areas, such as pockets of Afghanistan.

With the release of a military mobile device strategy in June, Pentagon Chief Information Officer Teri Takai directed information technology managers to support smartphone connectivity in almost every military domain. But when commercial networks have dead zones or are controlled by adversaries, it can be difficult to fulfill such a directive.

So, some military services might use drones for targeted telecommunications, rather than just targeted killings.

"When you hear the word drone, you think of it as something that is going to attack you and drop bombs -- we look at it as a platform that enables us to do something," said Mike McCarthy, head of the Army's smartphone project. "In this case, with a very small payload package of a picocell, we can put up and establish a secure wireless mesh over an organization where there is no commercial service available." Picocells are tiny cellular base stations.

"We've looked at that and how can we do that to strengthen and harden our network," McCarthy said during a Webcast presentation hosted by Nextgov on March 28. Drones could become part of an "aerial tier" of wireless infrastructure that supports connectivity, he explained.

The aerial tier concept involves "using everything from balloons to aircraft" to carry picocells, or "small lightweight things up in the air” that function as a relay to ensure there is reception, so “that you don't get the problem that you face in a lot of places, even here in this country, of dropped calls or dropped data packets because there's no service available," McCarthy said. 

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.