Industrial Base Readies to Meet DOD’s New 5G Needs – GovCon Wire

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The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 was signed into law at the end of 2023. Among its various mandates were that the Department of Defense cultivate private 5G networks at its service branch bases and outposts. These bases total around 800 globally, representing a clear opportunity for telecommunications providers to offer their services.

In recent months, Ericsson and Nokia have stood up new business units tailored to government business: the Ericsson Federal Technologies Group and Nokia Federal Solutions. The organizations’ pivot to the public sector are seen by some as caused by a stagnating mobile operator market.

“As the DOD looks to connect under one secure, unified communication system, I believe 5G is the solution to keep America secure and competitive,” shared Christopher Ling, a Booz Allen Hamilton vet who is leading Ericsson’s federal group.

A slate of high-profile DOD communications officials will speak at the Potomac Officers Club’s 2024 5G Forum, discussing issues like operationalizing 5G for DOD missions and RF spectrum needs. The event is right around the corner—Wednesday, May 22 at Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park in Virginia. Join us for this packed morning of GovCon networking, partnership and discourse.

Each of the 800 military compounds in need of 5G connectivity can host at least a few 5G transmission sites, analyst Joe Hoffman of Omdia told Light Reading. Thus, the DOD could contract several thousand cell sites. This comes as part of a wave of 5G spending for the Pentagon — it has devoted no less than $650 million since 2020 to telecommunications R&D, mostly focused on 5G.

Beyond being ordered to implement it by the NDAA, 5G is valuable to the DOD for its Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or CJADC2, effort, which seeks to create a communications fabric that sends information to warfighters stationed even at the most remote locations. 5G will play a pivotal role in this plan, which spans all DOD components.

Additionally, it is a crucial element of the Spectrum Access System, which helps ensure that government agencies, service branches and fixed satellite stations have priority usage of radio spectrum. SAS is built to circumvent radio and communication interruptions.

In trying to win 5G DOD business, companies like Ericsson and Nokia will likely have to compete with Lockheed Martin, the massive defense contractor who is pursuing new 5G capabilities. For exclusive insights on how to compete in the robust 5G marketplace, register to attend the Potomac Officers Club’s 2024 5G Forum. It’s coming up this Wednesday, May 22!

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