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Satnews Daily
March 10th, 2014

Department of Defense (DoD)—It's All About Sharing (Comms)

[SatNews] The Department of Defense announced its electromagnetic spectrum strategy for sharing with the commercial wireless industry on February 20th—the electromagnetic spectrum is a range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and has many uses, including radio and satellite communications, radar, and GPS.

“Through its plan, DoD recognizes that meeting its own requirements amidst the growing commercial and consumer demand will require cooperation, compatibility and flexibility,” said Karl Nebbia, the associate administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management at the electromagnetic spectrum strategy press briefing, February20th. “Indeed, a key focus of its plan is to establish goals and objectives to develop systems that are efficient, flexible and adaptable in their use of the spectrum.”

The focus in sharing the spectrum is balancing the needs of the military and the needs of the commercial wireless industry, both of which have growing demand.

“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,” said Teri Takai, chief information officer for the Department of Defense.

In the 1990s, 12,000 troops used an average of 90 megahertz of bandwidth. Now, 3,500 troops use more than three times that amount of bandwidth, on average.

“The longer term spectrum needs for government agencies and industry alike can only be met through spectrum sharing. And we are looking for a top-to-bottom commitment from all stakeholders to make it happen,” said Nebbia.

There are three main goals embedded in the strategy: continue improving DoD spectrum-dependent technology, increase the agility of spectrum operations, and improving participation in policy, said Takai. “By becoming more efficient, flexible and adaptable, our systems will be better prepared to meet the demands of modern warfighting,” said Takai. “This creates opportunities to utilize spectrum that is less congested, adopt commercial services and technologies where suitable, and implement spectrum-sharing technologies where feasible. So with all of that, again, our objective is to really work collaboratively, but always with a mind towards our mission, which is really to protect all of our citizens and all of our partners and make sure that all of our men and women in uniform are really... have the capability that they need, but are also protected from harm's way,” she said.

News story by Corporal Sarah Cherry, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort