Defense Department officials announced yesterday the awarding of $600 million in contracts to 15 prime contractors to perform testing and evaluation of 5G technologies at five military installations across the United States, said the acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

“5G networks — and the technologies that will be built upon them — are an integral component of the National Defense Strategy,” said Michael Kratsios, during a teleconference from the Pentagon. “We at the DOD are committed to the advancement of this critical emerging technology to improve the lethality and modernization of our force.”

Five installations, including Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; Naval Base San Diego; and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, will serve as locations for the application and evaluation of a variety of 5G technologies.

The effort — Tranche 1 of the department’s larger 5G initiative — will accelerate adoption of 5G technology, enhance the effectiveness and lethality of U.S. combat forces, and further the development and use of common 5G standards to ensure interoperability with military partners and allies.

Kratsios also said the department’s efforts in 5G will benefit participating industry partners, as well, because operating on U.S. military installations allows industry to move faster in their own experimentation and testing than what would normally be possible.

“Outside of the department, in order for private sector companies to test the capabilities and functionality of 5G communications, they face an onerous process — negotiating agreements with state and
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