The Defense Department (DoD) is putting $600 million toward additional 5G wireless experiments and testing at five military sites, with more to follow.

The Pentagon said Oct. 8 that the funding announcement “builds on DoD’s previously announced 5G prototyping efforts and is part of a 5G development roadmap” guided by its existing 5G strategy. “It represents the first tranche of awards on 5G experimentation and testing, with additional sites to be announced in the future,” the agency said.

DoD announced expansions of 5G experimentation and testing to seven military bases earlier this year.

In its latest move, DoD said experiments and testing at five installations will “represent the largest full-scale 5G tests for dual-use applications in the world,” and will partner military, industry, and academia to advance the department’s 5G capabilities. Projects on tap include 5G-enabled augmented/virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing of 5G enabled smart warehouses, and evaluating 5G tech to improve distributed command and control.

The selected test sites are: Hill Air Force Base in Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state; Marine Corps Logistics Base at Albany, Ga.; Naval Base San Diego; and Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

“The Department of Defense is at the forefront of cutting edge 5G testing and experimentation, which will strengthen our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness in this critical field,” commented Michael Kratsios, who has a dual-hat role as both U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

“Through these test sites, the Department is leveraging its unique authorities to pursue bold innovation at a scale and scope unmatched anywhere else in the world,” Kratsios said. “Importantly, today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to exploring the vast potential applications and dual-use opportunities that can be built upon next-generation networks.”

Private sector partners in the latest phase of DoD testing include GBL System, AT&T, Oceus Networks, Booz-Allen Hamilton, GE Research, Vectrus, Deloitte Consulting, Federated Wireless, KPMG, Scientific Research Corp., Nokia, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Key Bridge Wireless, Ericsson, and Shared Spectrum Co.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.