DOD sets 5G test sites

The Defense Department named five bases around the country to test emerging high speed 5G network applications.

5G (BeeBright/

The Defense Department plans to use a base in each of its service branches to probe how it could use emerging 5G wireless services and infrastructure.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington state; Hill Air Force Base, in Utah; The Navy's Base San Diego in San Diego and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia will be the first military installations to help DOD set the stage for its possible future uses of 5G technology, said the agency in an Oct. 31 statement.

The DOD said it chose the bases because they can provide streamline access to a variety of technologies and facilities vital to 5G, including local spectrum bands, mature fiber optic cable and wireless infrastructure, and the ability to conduct controlled experiments with shared spectrum capabilities.

DOD CIO Dana Deasy told reporters at a June briefing that the goal with 5G testbeds was to end up with capabilities that can continue to be used after testing is completed.

"One of the things we want to do is not just go in there and do experimentation and pull it out but to actually leave a capability behind that the bases can continue to use from the 5G standpoint," Deasy said.

On Oct. 23, DOD teed up plans for an initial round of solicitations for 5G experiments to a dynamic spectrum sharing testbed for congested environments; another for an integrated augmented/virtual reality mission and training application; and another for a smart warehouse application with maximized logistics capabilities.

DOD said in October that it would send out the draft requests this month, with final RFPs by December, along with an industry day. However, the launch of procurements for the program, DOD said, hinge on Congress passing 2020 appropriations.