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Connected Warrior

DOD, NTIA pushing open 5G stack ecosystem

The Defense Department and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced they plan to issue a challenge to accelerate development of software and telecom technologies for an open 5G stack ecosystem in support of DOD missions.

According to a notice of inquiry posted by NTIA in the Federal Register, today’s open 5G stack community is diverse. Various organizations are working on different parts of the technology stack, and many implementations are custom built, which hinders interoperability.  

For DOD, officials said the challenge supports its 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,” Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Kratsios said 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.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to Defense Systems.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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