DOD Wants to Influence Vendors' Future Standards
These test bed projects work with big players such as AT&T and Verizon, as well as a variety of smaller application vendors. “It has definitely been a learning experience,” Toman says, “and a bit more challenging than we initially thought it would be when we set out.”
One goal of the DOD’s strategic plan is to influence standards and policy by developing security around 5G and then leveraging some of the technology development as those technologies go online, she says.
“We wanted to engage not just with industry -partners, but also with international partners,” she says. “How can we team with our allies and partners to get a critical mass to push standards and technologies that align with our priorities and objectives?”
Part of Toman’s job is coordinating a variety of efforts across DOD and the federal government. She and her team meet monthly with a departmentwide 5G working group. In March, they kicked off a 5G cross-functional team that works on research and development, requirements generation, standards and policy, and acquisitions.
“5G provides an opportunity to create an open architecture, breaking up the 5G core and the 5G radio access network and potentially having interoperable systems,” she says.
“If you can have a radio unit come from one vendor, a distributed unit from another and a central unit from a third, and have those open interfaces, you are creating a larger and more diverse vendor ecosystem here in the U.S.”
That is an aspect of 5G that is appealing to the DOD from a procurement standpoint, she says.
DOD also has one eye on the future, Toman adds: “We have to think about how we can be agile so that when we are faced with 5G Plus or 6G, we can rapidly evolve and leverage the most technologically advanced capabilities available.”