DOD official: U.S. needs to lead in 5G

With the introduction of next-generation mobile communications, the U.S. must step up its leadership to ensure the technology is secure enough to transmit information without getting hijacked by enemies, says a senior Pentagon official.

Speaking Monday at the Atlantic Council about the Defense Department’s work in advancing 5G technology in the U.S., Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, highlighted the possibilities of the new technology as well as the anticipated security challenges.

“If we are going to run our entire warfighting ecosystem though communications -- which is where we are today -- we need to make sure that when we send a critical message that others aren’t hearing it,” she said. We need to be able to test that.”

Communications will be even more important on the future battlefield, so information needs to seamlessly flow between soldiers in various domains -- from sea to land to space, Lord said. She also warned that if the U.S. military doesn’t embrace 5G, it’ll face latency issues with situational awareness and “that could render everything we have as ineffective.”


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