Army brings FirstNet to more than 70 bases

With FirstNet, the Army’s Installation Management Command will ensure installations have communications capabilities during emergencies and resolve interoperability and coordination issues between base security forces and local first responders.

The Army’s Installation Management Command is signing up over 70 bases for FirstNet devices and services.

A firm-fixed-price task order will provide IMCOM with AT&T FirstNet wireless devices and services for Army public safety officers, first responders and emergency officials at approximately 73 Army locations in the U.S. The contract will ensure communication capabilities during national emergencies when the generally available wireless services may be affected and resolve interoperability and coordination issues between base security forces and local first responders.

Communication failures during recent critical incidents have been attributed to network saturation, aging infrastructure and limited or unavailable communication when responding in areas with land mobile radio coverage gaps, the contract justification said. A FirstNet interface to LMR will expand the coverage area and provide multiple means of connectivity to improve response measures.

IMCOM’s FirstNet devices would come preloaded with five FirstNet apps:

  • ArcGIS, providing access to Esri ArcGIS maps and tools with field markup on landmarks and assets.
  • AskRail, providing immediate access to accurate, timely data about hazardous materials in rail cars.
  • MutalLink Edge, providing real-time radio, video and text interoperability for group communications.
  • 10-21 Video on Demand, providing on-demand recorded or live-streaming video via smartphone with peer tune-in and conceal capabilities.
  • PocketCop, providing access to criminal justice and government databases, critical communications and data sharing with the InterDEx nationwide data-sharing network.

The FirstNet wireless service also includes unlimited data transmission for all Army/IMCOM first responders properly subscribed to this AT&T cellular broadband network.

“Civilian community first responders have been using this interface already, but the Army has been slow to adopt and deploy the technology/capability of FirstNet until now,” officials said.  

This article first appeared on GCN, a Defense Systems partner site. 

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