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Author: Subject: Defense leaders hope 5G can improve base security

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[*] posted on 5-12-2019 at 05:57 PM
Defense leaders hope 5G can improve base security

By: Adam Stone   15 hours ago

5G requires a larger number of towers and antennas, positioned in a way that they are more closely aligned and closer together. Here, Airman 1st Class Cassandra Herlache, 9th Operation Support Squadron radar, airfield and weather apprentice, executes a climb during a trial run at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. (Senior Airman Justin Parsons/Air Force)

Emerging 5G networks promise to bring powerful new connectivity to military bases and soldiers in the field. But how exactly will we get there?

In an interview with C4ISRNET’s Adam Stone, Maj. Gen. David Isaacson, the Army’s director of networks, services and strategy, described the service’s path forward on the new technology.

C4ISRNET: How will the Army be bringing 5G to military installations?

ISAACSON: What we want to avoid is situation where the Army and the other services have 1,000 flowers blooming — a promising technology that all of the services would want to potentially adopt, but that could also get unwieldy and potentially pricey as we all go in our separate directions.

So even though we're near the beginning of this journey, we're nested within [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] in the larger sense, with the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering really spearheading the department’s collective drive. As we develop our plans long term, we will have a unified plan that is informed early by all of the services, interests and positions.

C4ISRNET: And where is that process taking you?

ISAACSON: We’ve identified a series of use cases; we have done some examining of what the technology potentially offers, we’ve lined up against some use cases.

I think 5G offers an opportunity to pair with already existing technologies such as 3-D printing. In the hands of the logisticians, I could potentially build and prepare parts based upon the demand signals that my network is telling me. We can use it to reduce the exposure of soldiers, sailors and airmen on the battlefield, or to facilitate autonomy. We're now looking at it and we're trying to figure all that out. We're trying to figure out exactly what we want to do with it and how we're going to do it.

C4ISRNET: How might 5G make military installations themselves more effective?

ISAACSON: This idea of putting 5G on an installation is attractive when you look at the amount of information that is there. Look at how we conduct training: Imagine the opportunity to do a synthetic training environment by moving a significant amount of information in near real time, in a way that would simulate the actual ground and capability.

There’s also the physical security component, the way that posts, camps and stations physically protect the gates. There's an opportunity to automate much of that capacity.

C4ISRNET: What new technology infrastructure will 5G require on military installations?

ISAACSON: There are some posts, camps and stations that are well connected from a fiber connectivity perspective. They have the ability to absorb a higher capacity. Some are not as advantaged as others in terms of those connections. So that’s one area where we’re going to have to make sure we examine, that the interconnectivity on the campus itself, whether it has the capacity to move this kind of information around.
The other component of the infrastructure is physical, the way that 5G operates. It's different from cellular. You don't get a lot of penetration, you have to have a larger number of towers and antennas, all positioned in such a way that they are more closely aligned and closer together. The disadvantage with 5G is that you don't propagate and you don't have the distances covered.
It would be really cool if we could just climb aboard some existing infrastructure and towers and hang more antennas on it and just kind of deconflict. But there are challenges to penetration: Things like foliage and weather can affect it. We're going to have to get some experience under our belt, working with our industry partners so that we can better organize and engineer these kinds of capabilities.

C4ISRNET: Assuming you can work through the engineering issues, how big of an impact will 5G have in the long run?

ISAACSON: From a capacity and low-latency perspective alone, I think we’re going to find that extraordinary amounts of data are going to be able to be maneuvered. The opportunities at posts, camps and stations are boundless. I think it’s going to be successful because of the partnership with our industry partners. They are going to help us to get it rolled out.
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[*] posted on 7-12-2019 at 09:39 PM

Defense Department Forging Path for 5G Adoption


By Jon Harper

Image: iStock

The Pentagon is launching a new initiative that will shape its long-term plans for integrating 5G networks into U.S. military operations. The emerging technology is viewed as a potential gamechanger as the United States squares off against China in great power competition.

The term 5G refers to the oncoming fifth generation of wireless networks and technologies that will yield a major improvement in data speed, volume and latency over today’s fourth generation networks, known as 4G. 5G networks are expected to be up to 20 times as fast, according to a Defense Innovation Board study published earlier this year titled, “The 5G Ecosystem: Risks & Opportunities for DoD.”

“The shift from 4G to 5G will drastically impact the future of global communication networks and fundamentally change the environment in which DoD operates,” the report said. “5G has the ability to enhance DoD decision-making and strategic capabilities from the enterprise network to the tactical edge of the battlefield.

“5G will increase DoD’s ability to link multiple systems into a broader network while sharing information in real-time [and] improving communication across services, geographies and domains while developing a common picture of the battlefield to improve situational awareness,” it added.

The improved connectivity may enable a slew of new technologies, such as hypersonic weapons, resilient satellite constellations and mesh networks, it noted.

5G is a top priority for the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, and the Pentagon is kicking off a new effort to experiment with the technology for various mission sets.

On Nov. 29 the department released a special notice seeking industry input. Responses are being accepted through Dec. 16. Two additional draft requests for prototype proposals are expected to be released in the coming weeks. The feedback from industry will inform the creation and issuance of formal RPPs.

The Defense Department has selected four bases as the first U.S. military installations to host testing and experimentation for 5G technology: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Naval Base San Diego, California; and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia.

The first round of opportunities will focus on three areas: integrating augmented reality and virtual reality into mission planning and training in both virtual and live environments on training ranges; developing “smart” warehouses to leverage 5G’s ability to enhance logistics operations and maximize throughput; and establishing a dynamic spectrum sharing testbed to demonstrate the capability to use 5G in congested environments with high-power, mid-band radars.

5G could enable the next-generation training paradigm that the services are pursuing, which includes linking virtual and augmented reality systems on a global scale, officials say.

“It’s going to give you better bandwidth, lower latency — so a better, more realistic experience,” Lisa Porter, deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said in an interview. Porter is overseeing the Pentagon’s 5G efforts.

“For mission training and planning and all of those activities … it has to be as realistic as possible or it’s just not going to be very useful,” she added.

5G could also help drive down the costs of linking systems around the world, enabling them to be more widely deployed, she noted.

“Everybody should be able to have access to this capability … and you’d like them to be able to talk to each other” and experience collective immersion during training events, Porter said. “To do that, of course you have to have the cost low enough that we can afford that.”

Augmented reality, or AR, could have many military uses, said Joe Evans, the Pentagon’s technical director for 5G. The technology transposes data or other digitally created images on top of a real-world field of view.

“We already see that sort of thing at the high end in things like the F-35 helmets,” he said. “This is an opportunity … with the technology getting cheaper to start to be able to push that out to the broader force.”

AR combined with high-speed 5G networks also offers new possibilities for sustainment and maintenance, said a senior defense official who spoke to National Defense on condition of anonymity.

“The ability to assist our technicians in the field and understanding what they’re doing and the complex issues that they’re often involved in in fixing advanced fighter aircraft or cargo aircraft … is a major industrial inflection point,” the official said.

“Now all of a sudden because of the latency [reduction] … we both can test and verify the repair as it’s occurring,” he added. That could help keep cutting edge systems such as the joint strike fighter in the air rather than sitting in a maintenance depot.

The Defense Department envisions 5G streamlining the military’s massive logistics enterprise and improving inventory management if it is employed in “smart” warehouses filled with a variety of sensors that are used for monitoring parts and equipment.

“You want to be able to … have high confidence that you know what is there, where it is going, whether it’s come in or not. You want to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.

All of these things are further enabled when you have high confidence in the connectivity and your ability to manage it,” Porter said.

Evans said increasing materiel throughput and the speed at which it moves is critical for supplying warfighters with the products they need.

“One of the problems with 4G and even WiFi types of technologies is they really weren’t designed to be having tens of thousands of individual wireless devices talking to the cell site or the access point,” he said. “What 5G is doing is essentially increasing that scale. And so from a single access point, you can now track greater volume of individual items in the warehouse [and do] the finer grain tracking.”

As 5G technology is rolled out, the Pentagon wants to pursue what it calls dynamic spectrum sharing between the military and industry, especially as it relates to the mid-band part of the electromagnetic spectrum that the Defense Department uses for radars and other systems.

Portions of the mid-band are a “sweet spot” for 5G because the frequency enables more bandwidth and greater range, Porter explained.

“The Department of Defense and other federal agencies and then industry, particularly the carriers … are all clamoring for access to a very limited amount of what you might call real estate” on the spectrum, she said.

Today, the military is assigned a certain number of frequencies to operate in the United States. Companies are granted licenses by the Federal Communications Commission and parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are auctioned off for their use. But at any given time, much of the spectrum is not being used, she noted.

“There’s actually a lot of opportunity here,” Porter said. “When I’m not using my spectrum, can someone else use it? Can we develop some sharing rules that allow [the military and the private sector] to use each other’s spectrum … in an efficient way?”

Opening up the spectrum would create greater capacity for users. But the challenge is to do it in a way that military and commercial systems don’t interfere with each other, she said. “It requires some kind of agreements about how we’re going to operate.”

Artificial intelligence will be a critical component of dynamic spectrum sharing, she noted.

“Artificial intelligence allows you to speed this up because if you rely on a person trying to figure this out, it’s too slow,” she said.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently held a Spectrum Collaboration Challenge with industry that involved AI. The results will help shape the Pentagon’s 5G initiatives.

“The DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge provided some of the technology underpinnings to make those decisions on how you share those spectrum bands,” Evans said.

“What we want to do is take some of those capabilities and then apply it to this mid-band types of spectrum.”

Defense officials will be going out to test ranges at Hill Air Force Base to explore how a 5G system could operate effectively in coexistence or in coordination with mid-band radars.

Dynamic spectrum sharing could give the military a leg up over its competitors such as China, which is rolling out its own 5G networks, Porter said.

“If the United States figures this out especially with our allies and partners, this puts us in a very strong competitive posture globally,” she said. “We’re going to be able to do things with far more capacity and far more efficiency.”

Dynamic spectrum sharing won’t just have implications for military operations. It will also affect acquisitions, the senior defense official noted.

“By understanding and getting down to the science required, the policies required, it helps then inform and postures us for the next generation of systems that we’re researching and then acquiring,” the official said.

As it builds out its 5G capabilities, the Pentagon wants to leverage the hundreds of billions of dollars that the commercial sector is investing in the technology to enable ubiquitous connectivity, lower latency, higher bandwidth and edge computing. However, that creates security concerns, Porter noted.

“When you start connecting everything to everything else, wow, that’s a lot of complexity,” she said. “We don’t know every vulnerability that’s going to emerge, but we’ve got to try to understand that and then develop an architecture, if you will, that allows us to mitigate and to do risk management smartly.”

The Pentagon, the defense industrial base and the commercial companies building the nation’s 5G networks need to work together to develop protocols for protecting networks, she said.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department plans to use other transaction authority agreements for its upcoming 5G initiatives. The RPPs will go through the National Spectrum Consortium.

Companies that aren’t a member of the consortium can still participate as a subcontractor for members that win a contract award, Porter noted.

The number and timing of contract awards will depend on congressional funding and the quality of the proposal submissions, she said.

The Defense Department plans to add new 5G opportunities roughly every quarter. As of press time, the focus areas for the next round had yet to be determined.

Porter declined to say how much money the department plans to invest in these initiatives.

“I don’t like folks to try to game to a number,” she said. “I want them to give us their best ideas and a realistic execution plan against that idea … and we will work to make sure that the best of those get funded.”

While the Pentagon has ambitious plans for 5G, it plans to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach to rolling out the technology, Porter said.

“We’re going to start here in the U.S because that makes the most sense,” she said. “We’re going to start with four [bases], … learn and then expand.”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story was published in the December issue of National Defense. This story has been updated to include information about a special notice that the Defense Department issued Nov. 29.
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[*] posted on 17-12-2019 at 07:28 PM

VIEWPOINT: Taking the Right Steps - Understanding 5G for the DoD


By James S.B. Chew

A recent Pentagon announcement focusing on 5G network capabilities — based on a Defense Science Board 5G study — will no doubt create many overnight “experts” in the telecommunications field. However, the office of the undersecretary for research and engineering wisely stated that the significant commercial investment in this area should be leveraged.

The importance of leveraging this investment cannot be overstated — the commercial mindset is to be first to market with a reliable, affordable, “crazy great” product and/or capability. It would be fair to say that this is not the Defense Department acquisition process mindset.

For all those clamoring to climb aboard this 5G train, it would behoove all to carefully read the report and take note of this finding: “5G capability is inexorably intertwined with leading-edge microelectronics.”

The historical mismatch between trust and assurance policies versus national investment in advanced semiconductor manufacturing has led to a fundamental capability deficit.

Simply speaking, the current defense industrial base electronic system development approach and technologies will not work for 5G. Classic field programmable gate-array technologies will not allow for practical or efficient 5G, and the current “test, fix, test” electronics development approach will not allow for timely operational capability development.

The first concept to grasp is that 5G isn’t just 4G plus one. Yes, 5G enhanced mobile broadband will deliver 10X better performance, but 5G ultra-reliable low-latency communications is designed to deliver extremely short response times, and 5G massive machine-type communications provides for huge numbers of sensor and internet-of-things connections.

5G can enable a whole slew of new applications that 4G simply cannot, and it will come down to working out how to utilize these new capabilities. But there are also challenges, as all these benefits aren’t just coming for free. Unlike 4G, there are a variety of different frequencies that 5G will need to get these jobs done. A lot of focus is on the mmWave frequencies — typically 28GHz and above — that deliver most of the 10X data performance, but these frequencies also have a very short reach, no more than 200 meters, which limits their use unless transmitting and receiving equipment can be kept at close quarters. For urban users, this means a lot more equipment installed on buildings, on lamp poles, etc., compared to what we have seen with 4G. For the lower 5G frequencies, the reach is much farther, over several kilometers.

In the context of DoD-type applications, 5G’s combination of latency and bandwidth will, for instance, enable never-before-seen augmented reality for the soldier in the battlefield, supporting real-time decision-making. Security and safety are, of course, paramount, so in the 5G world, network operators are already planning for custom networks for industrial applications. Military applications will require similar customization.

As one can imagine, connecting all this new transmitting and receiving equipment to the cloud is going to take a lot of high-speed optical fiber to take the data traffic back and forth, or microwave repeaters if you have line of sight. But it’s still typically a long way to the data centers we think of as the cloud, and this becomes a bottleneck if we’re trying to get extremely short response times. For urban users, the solution is to bring the cloud capabilities closer to the users, with new edge computing centers dotted around cities, to keep those optical fibers short.

For the military, the solution may be to make the optical fibers even shorter by putting the edge computing and transmitting and receiving equipment together in a mobile vehicle. This vehicle can be connected to remote data or command centers via satellite link.

A fundamental advantage of the mobile vehicle is there is no reliance on equipment already installed in a given region, which could be compromised.

This close-at-hand computing power and the short response times of the 5G protocols will enable augmented reality, for instance, where data and the real world can be blended in a warfighter’s field of vision. It means the warfighter is no longer responsible for carrying the compute power, as the computer’s heavy-lifting is now done elsewhere, but data and decisions provided to the user are in real time.

This idea of real-time decision-making, based on information from sensors such as visual cameras, thermal cameras, lidar or radar, is being driven by the explosive progress in artificial intelligence. Much of the compute power and new processors for AI at the edge will be dedicated to processing the data from the user’s sensors and providing guidance and decisions in an augmented reality.

AI already has a significant impact in mobile devices that serves as a glimpse into the broader future of intelligent edge computing through 5G. Deloitte has estimated that half a billion smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices use onboard AI chips. This is the first wave of AI on the edge, with 5G opening up additional waves that will proliferate artificial intelligence to a whole new range of consumer and commercial use models across equipment, machines and distributed sensor networks, such as IoT. These next waves, like their smartphone counterparts, will require continual improvements in power consumption and reliability.

In fact, a study by ABI Research forecasts that 43 percent of all AI inference will be done on edge devices with a range of use models that span a variety of requirements in terms of power and compute needs. Today, the edge is limited by the latency in transferring edge data to the cloud for both inference and training. The ramp of 5G will fuel the growth of AI-based edge computing in devices, machines and systems all around us, creating pervasive intelligence.

The term “intelligence” is not used lightly here. One of the early challenges for edge computing, and IoT in particular, has been the inability for deployed systems to be flexible and adaptive to their environment. IoT and other edge-compute technologies may work great in a controlled laboratory setting but not work nearly as well in a broad range of industrial or outdoor environments. As such, the persons responsible for these deployments have also experienced the harsh challenge of “test, fix, test,” which is even more challenging when scaled up to a massively distributed network of interconnected components. All of this capability necessitates the use of leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing that provides the only path to tight power and performance envelopes required for the warfighters.

To address this, IoT and other edge devices will need to independently detect and adapt to changes in their environment; in other words, they need the ability to learn as well as infer.

This will require continual improvements to existing chip designs and architectures to allow them to more efficiently compute AI software algorithms in terms of power and performance. As intelligence is embedded into these devices and their associated gateways, these large interconnected networks of systems communicating through 5G become adaptive as well. Thus, the proliferation of 5G and AI technologies will usher in a new wave of pervasive intelligence in the connected world.

While the promise of 5G-enabled intelligent systems and devices seems attractive, pervasive intelligence does not come without risks. There is a commensurate responsibility to verify that these intelligent systems don’t evolve in ways that are unintended or create risk for others. Verification of AI software and hardware to ensure overall system robustness is a growing concern that requires more investment and attention into the verification of intelligent systems and the combined use of 5G-driven AI.

So where do leading-edge microelectronics play in the 5G ecosystem?

The different parts of the 5G ecosystem play together to enable new capabilities not possible with 4G, but these different parts are all different flavors of microelectronics. There is a parallel microelectronics industry ecosystem, with designers of semiconductor chips for AI, baseband, RF, antennas, photonics and graphics that integrators assemble into targeted microelectronics solutions. But key parts of this supply chain are not domestic, and this is something that must be addressed. For the military to be able to reason about what goes into their systems, they should understand the microelectronics and the products used from the semiconductor supply chain. And, where necessary, they need to source or design their own.

5G is being rolled out as a civilian infrastructure, but the 5G protocols can be readily re-purposed for other applications, supported by a more mobile and secure 5G infrastructure.

From a development perspective, the electronic design automation and technical software industries are already widely used in the commercial world to enable the development and integration of semiconductor IP, systems-on-chip, systems and systems of systems, hardware and software. Given the complexity of these networks, system simulation, virtual and physical prototyping and emulation are necessary to ensure functional correctness of infrastructure and devices prior to fabrication.

Additionally, this allows for the integration of software and hardware at the earliest possible time during development.

Commercial best practices can readily be adopted and transferred to aerospace and defense applications. The development ecosystem also includes electronic design automation-adjacent areas like secure, safe software development as well as network and device testing as an extension to the familiar test environments from the 3G and 4G worlds. They typically use physical testers in addition to virtual connections to allow testing to happen in a “shift-left” fashion well before silicon is physically available. This investment includes interleaving security and safety functionality into the verification process.

As noted, 5G can enable a whole slew of new applications, and the first step is to work those out and understand the microelectronics infrastructure they will need. That’s going to require experts in microelectronic and semiconductors on the payroll who can assess what’s already out there, what can be securely repurposed and what needs to be redesigned.

This same microelectronics and semiconductor design enablement will be needed by those who are looking at what works and what doesn’t work for new 5G applications. ND

James S.B. Chew is chair of NDIA’s Science and Technology Division and group director of aerospace and defense at Cadence Design Systems. Ian Dennsion, David White, Frank Schirrmeister and Steve Carlson of Cadence contributed to this article.
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[*] posted on 28-1-2020 at 04:04 PM

Key Republicans seek ban on intel sharing with countries that use Huawei

By: Joe Gould   8 hours ago

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with guests as he hosts Chinese New Year celebrations outside 10 Downing Street on January 24, 2020, in London, England. In a potential rebuke to the Trump administration, the U.K. is reportedly expected to grant Chinese telecom giant Huawei some access to its nascent 5G network. (Lauren Hurley/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON ― Key House Republicans have introduced a bill that would bar U.S. intelligence sharing with countries that allow telecom giant Huawei in their next-generation wireless networks.

The Jan. 27 bill would potentially downgrade America’s “special relationship” with the U.K., which is reportedly expected to grant Huawei some access to its nascent 5G network. Such a move by London would be a loss for the Trump administration, which has aggressively campaigned against the company, arguing Chinese governments links to the firm mean it poses an espionage threat. (Huawei denies the allegations.)

“I think that if they make that decision that they have Huawei in their 5G, then we have to recalculate and reassess whether or not they can continue to be among our closest intel partners,” Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the bill’s sponsors and the No. 3 Republican in the House, told reporters Monday.

“I would urge the administration to go through and look at that. I think it would fundamentally alter the relationship we have with the U.K.,” if the U.K. adopts Huawei in its 5G network.

As Washington works to maintain America’s technological edge against China, it has been wrestling with just how to shape the role that Huawei is playing in developing 5G networks worldwide. Several China critics on Monday ― Cheney, Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. ― met with reporters to argue the lure of cheap telecom equipment, subsidized by the Chinese government, is not worth the risk of Beijing gaining access to the vast amounts of data that would travel over nations’ new networks.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to decide as soon as this week whether to abide public and private warnings from President Donald Trump and other American officials. Johnson has, according to the Financial Times, been looking at imposing a market share cap on Huawei, which would allow it to provide non-core telecom gear, like the antennas and base stations seen on rooftops.

In Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Berlin’s top security official, was quoted Jan. 25 as saying Germany must be protected against espionage and sabotage, but estimated that shutting out Chinese providers could delay building the new network by five to 10 years.

“I don’t see that we can set up a 5G network in Germany in the short term without participation by Huawei,” Seehofer told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The Trump administration itself is struggling to decide how far to go with its restrictions on Huawei, which is already on a U.S. export blacklist. The Defense Department objected to a proposed change to Commerce Department regulations aimed at making it more difficult for U.S. firms to sell to Huawei from overseas facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., complained in a Jan. 24 letter to Defense Secretary March Esper, demanding a briefing and arguing the rule change would have rightfully, “effectively disrupted the supply chain of the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet.”

Cheney and Banks proposed their legislation as a companion to a Senate bill Cotton introduced Jan. 8. While the new House bill adds some weight to repeated public threats from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration would curtail intelligence and military cooperation with countries that allow in Huawei, it’s unclear how far either chamber’s bill will go.

“We’re getting a growing number of interested colleagues signing onto it just because we’re giving the administration leverage with this legislation,” Banks said, “to send a signal to our allies that they’re making a grave mistake in compromising their data and potentially our national security and related intelligence data, if they choose Huawei.”

Though Banks, the lead sponsor of the House bill, predicted Monday it would attract bipartisan support, even some key Republicans were unprepared to take such a hard line against the U.K., a member of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence network ― which also includes the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“Let’s wait until they make the decision and see what the decision is,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said Monday of lead British officials. “Our intelligence sharing, not only with Great Britain, but the ‘Five Eyes,’ and a handful of others is really critical. They’re dovetailed together, and they’re really important.”

In the Senate, a separate legislative proposal would dedicate $1 billion to spur the development of Western-based alternatives to Chinese telecom equipment. It’s sponsored by Rubio, as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Mark Warner, D-Va.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; and John Cornyn, R-Tex.

“We’ve been saying, ‘Don’t buy Huawei,’ but we haven’t been offering a broad-based Western-financed alternative,” Warner said Monday.

Warner hinted he would not favor a change in the intelligence relationship with the U.K.: “I think the British are our longest, best ally and a great, great partner. I don’t think I’m going to make those kinds of threats."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 15-2-2020 at 03:26 PM

‘Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump see Huawei the same.’ 5G in Europe aligns America’s top political rivals

By: Joe Gould   10 hours ago

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gestures on the podium of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, on Feb. 14, 2020. (Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images)

MUNICH ― U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed President Donald Trump’s warning to European allies that letting Chinese telecom giant Huawei build their next-generation communication network, or 5G, poses a grave threat ― a rare note of bipartisan harmony after a divisive impeachment.

In front of the cameras and behind the scenes at the international Munich Security Conference, Pelosi, Trump administration officials and lawmakers of both parties warned allies that China’s communist leaders could force the company to use its equipment for cyber espionage and and other subversive aims.

“Nations cannot cede telecommunications infrastructure to China for financial expediency,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “Such an ill-conceived concession will only embolden [Chinese President Xi Jinping] as he undermines democratic values, human rights, economic independence and national security.”

With her remarks, Pelosi lends a strong voice to the Trump administration’s hard push for a blanket ban. She’s taken a less abrasive tack toward America’s European allies than the Trump administration, and sources say her position is fueled by years on the House Intelligence Committee and by constituents in the Bay Area, near Silicon Valley.

Pelosi said there was no bipartisan divide on the topic.

“We have an agreement in that regard, we put it in our [2020] national defense authorization bill because we believe it is a real danger,” she said. “We have to be very careful about how we go forward.”

Pelosi cast the adoption of Huawei equipment as enabling an autocracy over democracy, saying that the “most insidious form of aggression” would be to allow a communications network to be “dominated by a government who does not share our values.”

“We must invest in other viable options that will take us into the future while preserving our values and institutions,” she said, adding that Western leaders ought to build “something together that will be about freedom of information."

There are seven congressional delegations in Munich, made up more than 40 lawmakers. South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is leading one of them, said they are unified on Huawei.

“Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump see Huawei the same," he said.

Graham did level an additional economic warning as the U.S. looks ahead at trade talks with the European Union and later the U.K.

“The delegation has been speaking with one voice: Huawei technology deals you out of integrating yourself with the American economy,” Graham said. “We all have to do better by giving you alternatives, but Huawei integration into your economy and your systems would be devastating to the relationship.”

Two weeks ago, the British government decided to allow Huawei to build parts of the country’s network, but with restrictions that prevented the firm from working on pieces that would be “critical to security.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now facing pushback from lawmakers in his own Conservative Party, and several have reportedly worked to strike a compromise.

Germany has been weighing its own rules. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party this week backed a strategy paper that stopped short of banning Huawei technology outright and instead barred “untrustworthy” companies deemed to be subject to state influence from the process ― which may yet exclude Huawei.

Though Huawei denies that it works with China’s intelligence services and says it would refuse Chinese government requests for information, U.S. officials argue Huawei can covertly access mobile phone networks around the world through “back doors” and that Chinese companies are compelled to cooperate with their government.

The Trump administration’s pressure tactics have included warnings that nations adopting Huawei equipment on their 5G networks would risk their U.S. intelligence sharing relationships, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month seemed to back off and endorse America’s arrangement with Britain during a visit there.

And on Friday, both Pelosi and Trump administration officials were making appeals to trans-Atlantic values.

“The president feels strongly that we have to work together to ensure that our 5G technology evolves in a way that supports the underlying values and principles which we have brought all of our countries together over the years,” the White House’s point person for international telecommunications policy, Robert Blair, said at a roundtable with reporters.

“We want to make sure that whatever 5G becomes, it ensures freedom of speech, not the ability to censor messages which any government does not feel is is supportive of their overall ideology, freedom of assembly, rather than the ability to track dissidents within a country or outside of a country,” Blair added.

Another part of the administration’s push is to take on the criticism that it has not presented a cheaper, better alternative to Chinese technology. The White House is working to develop western 5G technologies through partnerships with telecom firms like South Korea-based Samsung, Finland-based Nokia and Sweden-based Ericsson.

Last week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said America should consider taking a controlling stake in Nokia and Ericsson to blunt Huawei’s “drive to domination.” But on Friday, Blair said instead that America is working toward a “partnership with industry.”

“It’s an ongoing discussion about how the U.S. government can best partner with industry,” Blair said. “It would be a U.S. effort with likeminded partners from around the world ... and it’s a matter of months, not years.”
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[*] posted on 25-2-2020 at 05:59 PM

Pentagon Briefs Industry On 5G Experiments

Four bases around the country will pioneer military use of the new high-speed communications network technology.

By Paul McLeary

on February 24, 2020 at 5:08 PM

A soldier from the Army’s offensive cyber brigade during an exercise at Fort Lewis, Washington, which will be one of the Pentagon’s four pilot sites for new 5G networks.

PENTAGON: Close to 300 companies logged on to a “virtual industry day” with Pentagon leadership last week as the military scrambles to build its own 5G networks. The challenge: moving fast enough to keep up with commercial innovation — but cautiously enough to keep China out.

The event, led by DoD’s technical director for 5G, Dr. Joe Evans, marked a starting point for shaping a forthcoming Request for Prototype Proposals planned in the coming weeks. The companies selected will then start work later this year on a series of 5G experiments at four bases across the United States.

Those experiments are intended to help the individual armed services to refine what it is they need, and what they need to ask from industry, as the Pentagon pumps hundreds of millions of new funding into 5G programs across the department.

The experiments run the gamut from logistics to sharing information between radar systems, and each service will play a role in testing out what industry offers. Hill Air Force Base in Utah will develop 5G dynamic spectrum sharing capabilities between airborne radar systems and 5G cellular systems. The Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia and Naval Base San Diego will test out a smart warehouse concept, while virtual reality training systems will be tested at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

The RPP will be issued through the National Spectrum Consortium, an industry group established under a five-year, $1.25 billion Other Transaction Authority contract with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Emerging Capabilities and Prototyping. Only vetted companies who belong to the consortium will be considered for the work.

The effort is part of a wider push within the government to develop homegrown tech, and quickly. President Trump’s top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, told reporters Friday the White House is planning a 5G meeting in April with top technology companies in an effort to ensure Huawei does not cornere the global market on the technology. “We’re going to have a lot of them in the White House to have a discussion,” Kudlow said, though the event hasn’t been officially announced.

The Pentagon fiscal year 2021 budget requests $449 million in research and development for the 5G next generation information communications technology program, $249 million more than provided by Congress last year.

While the Pentagon is paying to run these initial tests, the individual services will ultimately be responsible for paying to 5G technologies once they’re matured, adding another budget line at a time when no one expects defense accounts to rise for the foreseeable future.

When that happens, 5G will compete “with all other infrastructure upgrades that the services already have planned for their installations and for the systems that operate on them,” said Morgan Dwyer, a former Pentagon official now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “So, how quickly DoD can deploy 5G is really a function of how much utility the technology provides to the services and how willing they are to trade-off other capabilities in order to prioritize 5G instead.”
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[*] posted on 27-2-2020 at 01:17 PM

Esper won’t give up 5G spectrum to telecom firms, but he will share it

By: Joe Gould   4 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testify before the House Armed Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill February 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. The military leaders were testifying about the proposed FY2021 defense budget. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON ― U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is pushing back against telecom companies’ efforts to claim mid-band spectrum in their race with China to build the next-generation mobile networks, known as 5G. The U.S. military uses those airwaves for several major weapons systems.

“Private sector wants that. We need that,” spectrum range, Esper said Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee. "We’re willing to share it. The technology exists, I’m told, to do that. I think that’s the best way to move forward so we can meet the economic priority with the national security priority.”

The comments came as telecommunications executives argue more mid-band spectrum is needed to support deployment of next-generation wireless networks and technology, and as the Federal Communications Commission has initiated proceedings to free up spectrum. Last week, Politico reported the extent to which the White House is under pressure to free up access for a commodity potentially worth billions.

On Feb. 26, Esper touched on the military’s use of the airwaves between 3100 and 3350 MHz for the multibillion-dollar Aegis ship-defense system’s AN/SPY-1 radar and the Airborne Warning And Control System, which is a mobile, long-range radar surveillance and control system for air defense that’s used by the Air Force, as well as other Army and Marine Corps air defense systems.

The Defense Department, Esper said, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the technology and will set up facilities at four installations where it will invite companies in to test their 5G prototypes.

This January, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a technical report on potential spectrum sharing within the 3450-3550 MHz band that saw potential in time-based sharing, but suggested more study. That band is home to ship-borne navigational radars and dozens of ground-based radars, as well as Air Force’s Station Keeping Equipment radar systems.

Last month, in preparation for a potential public auction of priority access licenses within the 3450-3550 MHz band, Department of Commerce estimated the cost of sharing the band could total $98 million across the Defense Department.

As the United States lags China in the race for 5G development, Washington has been warning other countries to be wary of Chinese investment and influence and lobbying them to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from involvement in the network because of cyberespionage concerns.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is being pressed from industry and some lawmakers to balance its operational needs against the economic and technological benefits expected to come with 5G’s improvements in data speed, volume and latency over fourth-generation networks.

According to a Defense Innovation Board report last year, the upside for the Pentagon is that 5G should yield improvements in decision-making and battlefield communications ― both advantages a competitor would gain, should it develop 5G first.
That report also found that while sharing spectrum risks security vulnerabilities and connectivity interruptions for DoD operators, it could also, “allow military traffic to ‘hide in plain sight’ as traffic becomes more difficult to see and isolate.”
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