News Analysis MIKE DANO, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies 12/18/2020
US military officials are in the early stages of developing a unified, comprehensive, interoperable wireless networking system that would basically connect everything owned and operated by the Pentagon.
Commanders envision the system connecting “sensors with shooters across all domains, commands and services.” In military parlance, doing so would “increase lethality.”
The system is called JADC2 (Joint All-Domain Command and Control). And it’s apparently going to run on 5G.
5G “can enhance something as simple as virtual reality training or as ambitious as the connectivity of systems for JADC2,” said Mark Esper in September, according to National Defense, a publication run by the National Defense Industrial Association trade group. Esper is the former US Secretary of Defense, having been fired by President Trump last month.
Esper’s views on 5G – that it’s the linchpin to hold together the JADC2 system – appear to be widely held across the military. “The DoD CIO [Dana Deasy] has stated it plans to use 5G technologies to enable JADC2,” wrote the Congressional Research Service (CRS) earlier this month. The publication serves as a nonpartisan information source for Congress.
Internet of military things
The breadth of the Pentagon’s JADC2 vision cannot be overstated.
“Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) is the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) concept to connect sensors from all of the military services – Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Space Force – into a single network,” wrote the CRS, explaining that traditionally each branch of the US military operates its own communication network, and as a result they often can’t communicate directly with each other.
Indeed, this is the exact problem – unearthed by communications problems among police, firefighters and others during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – that led to the creation of the FirstNet network for public-safety workers.