The Department of Defense and the branches beneath that umbrella are pushing hard for increased modernization in their fieldable technology. In our circles we focus on the small arms… a lot… for obvious reasons.
But rifles, machine guns, and bombs aren’t the only weapons of war.
My most lethal and effective tool as a Marine squad leader wasn’t my M4, it was the radio. With secure, stable, and clear communication, I didn’t have just a rifle. I had 12 rifles, 3 light machine guns, a mortar pit, quick reaction forces, and close air support. That radio (when it worked) was my trigger.
The Defense Department on Wednesday announced the kickoff of a major initiative to start integrating commercial 5G technologies into its communications networks, an effort that’s likely to mean hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending over the next year.
The Pentagon said it would issue a draft request for proposals in November, asking industry for ideas on how to begin experimenting with the use of 5G capabilities in military settings.
DoD wants to conduct the experiments at four different bases in the continental United States, and intends to reveal which installations it’s selected for the projects in the draft solicitation documents. The department hopes to issue a final RFP by December.
Making communication more efficient and more reliable makes the teams in the field more effective. It makes decision making better because more information is easier to have on hand. Using a network that can realtime send voice, stills, and video, will drastically lower confusion among in play units. Imagine a radio that can video chat to a HUD or send a “snap” to intel. Think about a small screen ala iPhone that has an overhead picture from a drone with realtime overlay of you and friendly units that you can draw on to indicate movement, intentions, plans, etc. Then you can snap that plan to every member of your team so they can see it.
Communication tech that can build and update data at a far greater pace and more far reaching network. It’s the dream.
But don’t worry… this is the Military, we’ll find a way to break it or make it horrible.
The biggest hurdle is keeping defense and commercial parts of the 5G networks in their own lanes. Someone sending a cute pic of their cat doesn’t get an info dump about a units TO inventory in response, that kind of thing.