recommended reading

Pentagon Wants to Share Spectrum With Broadband Providers, Not Auction It

Deputy CIO for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler and Chief Information Officer Teri Takai briefed the press on spectrum last week.

Deputy CIO for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler and Chief Information Officer Teri Takai briefed the press on spectrum last week. // Defense Department

The Pentagon no longer plans to hand over to industry spectrum it now considers vital to national security, a reversal from a broad policy position outlined by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in March 2012.

The new Defense Department spectrum strategy, detailed by Chief Information Officer Teri Takai at a press briefing last Thursday, calls for sharing spectrum with industry, as well as Defense efforts to develop technologies for more efficient use of spectrum.

NTIA said in 2012 that it was possible to repurpose all spectrum in the 1755-1850 MHz band used by Defense for, among other things, Army battlefield communications and small unmanned aerial systems.

Takai told the briefing that “while we’re trying to meet commercial need, what gets lost is our growing need for spectrum.”  Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Wheeler, deputy CIO for Command, Control, Communications and Computer, said there must be a balance between commercial needs and national security requirements.

Commercial carriers need more spectrum to keep up with voracious demand to support broadband service, which earlier this month Cisco Systems forecast would hit 130 exabytes in 2016. That’s equal to the amount of data stored on 33 billion DVDs or 4.3 quadrillion MP3 audio files.

Freeing up Defense spectrum in the United States will take years, Takai said, due to the complexity of the department’s systems in the 1755-1850 MHz band. “We cannot shift in a short time frame; we just have too much equipment and too much capability that really has to be transitioned in a very thoughtful way so as not to impose a major burden on budgets and a major burden on the taxpayers,” Takai said.

In a July, 2013 letter to NTIA, Takai estimated it would cost the Pentagon $3.5 billion to relocate systems that occupy just 25 MHz in the 1755-1850 MHz band. This would be financed from auction proceeds that the Government Accountability Office estimated in a May 2013 report could bring in $19.4 billion. GAO pegged the total cost of relocating all Defense systems out of the band at $12.6 billion.

In 2012, NTIA said Defense would continue to require access to the 1755-1850 MHz band, including frequencies for Army battlefield systems at 28 bases, such as Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M., where the service evaluates new technology on a semi-annual basis.

The new spectrum strategy lacks details on how Defense will balance its requirements with commercial carriers’ need for bandwidth, and Takai said those will emerge over the next few months after consultation with NTIA.

Takai said Defense “must be a responsible steward of the spectrum essential to our operations, while working collaboratively to meet the growing demands of the citizens that we serve.”

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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    View
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View

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