US DoD Evaluating Dynamic Spectrum Sharing Technology for its Own 5G Network

According to a recent Request of Information (RFI), the US Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to explore dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology for the deployment of 5G for military as well as commercial uses within the same frequency bands, along with owning and operating a 5G network.

According to the RFI, published on September 18, DoD is seeking information on innovative solutions and alternative approaches to enable DSS within the Department’s currently allocated spectrum with the goal of accelerating spectrum sharing decisions and 5G deployment. The intent is to ensure the greatest effective and efficient use of the Department of Defense’s spectrum for training, readiness, and lethality. The RFI has asked for information regarding all methods and approaches, and feasibility, to best develop and deploy DSS across a broad range of capabilities and for future understanding of how spectrum may be utilized in both 5G and innovative technologies.

The scope of this effort covers the broad range of spectrum DoD currently uses in order to understand both the art of the possible, as well as current industry trends in spectrum utilization. This scope includes all approaches to spectrum management, including the best methods for sharing spectrum with both military and civilian users.

DOD's partnership with industry is imperative in this extremely technical and competitive field, commented Dana Deasy, DOD's CIO. According to her, what they learned in this effort has the potential to benefit the entire nation and keep the U.S. as the global leader of 5G technology for many years to come.

The RFI comes as the Defense Department expands 5G testing and follows a recent spectrum sharing deal to fuel higher capacity 5G networks that affect shipboard and ground-based radar, some weapons guidance, and safety systems. DOD currently controls a significant portion of the mid-band spectrum used for high-power radar operations ideal for 5G. Additionally, the need for spectrum sharing is expected to increase to keep up with military and commercial needs, especially as the Defense Department moves to implement all domain operations. But the practice has raised some tensions regarding the commercial use of frequencies close to the ones DOD uses for navigation.

Some of the important parameters the DoD has considered in the RFI includes queries like, how could DoD own and operate 5G networks for its domestic operations, what are the potential issues with DoD owning and operating independent networks for its 5G operations, are there new technologies or innovative methods as to how additional mid-band spectrum currently allocated to DoD can be made available for 5G faster.

DOD is also seeking comment on any potential legal or regulatory conflicts that could arise with different spectrum sharing models and management. The RFI also inquiries about using automation and data standards that could speed up spectrum sharing and repurposing decisions, respectively.

Click here to read the full US DoD Request for Information (RFI).