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Dr. Joe Evans Addresses DOD’s 5G Experiments & Upcoming Solicitations

Dr. Joe Evans, technical director for 5G at the Department of Defense (DOD), recently discussed the impact that innovative technologies and 5G integration have on the private and public sectors during Potomac Officers Club’s (POC) 5G Summit.

If you missed the 5G Summit, you can still register to watch the OnDemand footage by visiting Potomac Officers Club’s Event Archive

Evans, who is responsible for coordinating 5G efforts across DOD, served as the opening keynote speaker during the summit. Evans began his address by discussing the objectives of 5G networks across the federal government. 

“5G is transformational in the way that it will create a connectivity fabric that will increase real-time collaboration with warfighters and weapons systems. We also look to accelerate 5G technology at scale to increase prototyping and experimentation,” Evans said. 

The DOD will take a three part approach to prototype new technologies. First, it will accelerate its use of 5G through experiments, built around a value chain attack. The department also looks for vendor diversity. The second part of the approach revolves around security, and the third is to innovate to win 6G and beyond. 

“We’re reinforcing this work with standards of work and international partnerships, which are cross-cutting efforts that span across our three staged approach,” Evans added. 

Evans discussed the DOD 5G Strategy, which was released in May 2020. The strategy will work to advance the adoption of secure and resilient 5G networks and stay ahead of potential adversaries.

DOD’s 5G Strategy will support national efforts to advance the 5G capabilities of the U.S. and its partners, promote awareness of national security risks posed by 5G and come up with approaches to safeguard 5G technologies and infrastructure to achieve key outcomes, such as having resilient capabilities leveraging ubiquitous connectivity and assured global spectrum access within contested and congested environments.

Evans noted that the first two lines of effort within the strategy, technology and security, are supported by the prototyping and experimentation activities. The other two lines of effort are cross-cutting across DOD. 

One of the initial efforts Evans discussed was Accelerate Tranche 1, which began experimentation in Oct. 2020. Evans recently announced that the DOD has made advances in setting up the five Tranche 1 sites for 5G testing and experimentation efforts and expects those testbeds to be operational by the fall of 2021. 

In Oct. 2020, the Pentagon awarded $600 million to over 30 companies to support 5G experimentation at five Tranche 1 sites. DOD announced seven Tranche 2 sites for 5G testing in June 2021 and Evans said the department is preparing to issue requests for proposals (RFPs) for those military installations.

Evans detailed the Tranche 1 experiments at each base. At Hill Air Force Base, the objective is to build a full scale 5G network and evaluate the impact of 5G on airborne radar systems. “Based on our 4G experiments, we saw quite a bit of resiliency, but we need to evaluate that for 5G as well,” Evans said. 

Moving forward, DOD will look to publish solicitations on Tranche 2 Accelerate experiments. Some of the future solicitations include work on ship-wide connectivity for the U.S. Navy, enhancing aircraft mission readiness, tactical wireless connectivity, and a DOD 5G security experimentation network. 

“We think that this will not only have benefits for DoD, but it will also enable U.S. companies to more easily enter the 5G market. In addition to the Tranche 2 Accelerate experiments, we are also going to open solicitations for Operate Through and Innovate thrusts, which are in development for early fiscal year 2021,” Evans said.  

Following Evans’ address, Maj. Gen. Kimberly Crider, Mobilization Assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, Technology Innovation Office, Department of the Air Force, also delivered a keynote speech to address how the Space Force has looked to leverage and integrate 5G. 

The event also featured two expert panels that addressed the steps the federal agencies have taken to remain up to speed with the rapid advancement of technology, and the future programs, plans and priorities as the nation aligns with emerging technology.

If you missed the  5G Summit, you can still register to watch the OnDemand footage by visiting Potomac Officers Club’s Event Archive. Mark you calendars for January 14th, when Potomac Officers Club will host its 7th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit

Join Potomac Officers Club to learn about research and development within the defense sector as competition rises across emerging technologies. As new capabilities continue to influence every aspect of the GovCon and industry, top executives must stay ahead of the curve to defeat adversaries.

Featuring Dr. Mark Lewis of DOD, Dr. Victoria Coleman of Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and Rear Adm. Lorin Selby of the U.S. Navy, mark your calendars for January 14th to learn about the latest priorities, advancements and challenges within the development and delivery of innovative solutions. 

To register for the 7th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit, as well as view upcoming opportunities, visit Potomac Officers Club’s Event Page.

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