In a jointly signed letter, DoD's top officials urged the Senate leadership to retain the government communication bands "until comparable spectrum has been identified for the displaced DoD functions."
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Henry H. Shelton asked that any decision to relinquish part of the Federal band be delayed "until truly comparable spectrum is identified and made available."
At issue is the 1755-1850 MHz range the Federal Communications Commission is considering as the radio spectrum of choice for third-generation commercial wireless communications.
Defense officials are concerned that range of the electromagnetic spectrum overlaps with satellite control, precision guided munitions, tactical radio relays, voice communications, and the global positioning signals used by troops in the field. It would take a decade to replace or refit these systems, provided funds were available. Transfering spectrum before those replacements are in place would "have serious consequences on our national security and increase the risk to military personnel."
The complete text of the letter is on the web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug2001/d20010827spec.pdf.