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Immediate Release

Department of Defense and Department of Commerce Explore 5G Challenge to Develop Open 5G Systems

The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to explore a new 5G Challenge aimed at accelerating the development of an open 5G ecosystem that can support DoD missions.

NTIA‘s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) issued the NOI to solicit public input to inform an upcoming Challenge. The 5G Challenge would leverage the innovative capabilities of the software development and telecommunications technology communities to enable more open implementations of 5G systems, including end-user equipment, the radio access network, and the core network, with a focus on the 5G protocol stack software. 

“The Department of Defense recognizes that 5G technologies are foundational to strengthening our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness. Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the Department’s ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

The NOI asks how to design incentives within the challenge to ensure cooperation, collaboration, and interoperability among the participants, as well as how to define metrics for successful and innovative responses to the 5G Challenge. Comments are due on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Time on February 10, 2021, and may be submitted by email to

The DoD established 5G as a key modernization priority with the goal to advance U.S. and partner capabilities to fully leverage 5G technologies for military networking needs. The Department is accelerating 5G technologies and their use in DoD missions through cutting-edge testing and experimentation sites, developing the capability to secure 5G networks and operate through non-secure networks, and investing in innovative “beyond 5G” technologies.