DOD looks to kickstart 5G competition

The Defense Department is looking to expand its 5G exploration to include a new network of technologies with a competitive challenge.

5G (BeeBright/

The Defense Department is looking to expand its 5G exploration with a competitive challenge to gin up a new network of technologies that can be used to support national security missions.

The effort is in partnership with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, under DOD’s 5G Initiative to “accelerate the development of the open 5G stack ecosystem in support of Department of Defense missions.”

“Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the Department’s ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, in a statement announcing the notice.

This is the latest in a string of moves to hasten and broaden the Defense Department’s 5G capabilities. In November, DOD unveiled its second tranche of 5G testing sites that include military bases in Virginia, California and Hawaii. Requests for proposals for those sites are expected early this year. DOD also expressed interest in creating its own 5G network in September 2020.

Comments, which can include recommendations on how to design metrics and incentives for the challenge and encourage collaboration and interoperability, within the challenge to ensure interoperability among participants, are due Feb. 10.