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Department of Defense Statement on Mid-Band Spectrum

Honorable Dana Deasy, Department of Defense Chief Information Officer, issued the following statement:

The White House and the Department of Defense made a major announcement today regarding mid-band spectrum and I want to help explain how we got to where we are today.

In mid-April, the White House and DoD met to discuss what could be done quickly to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G in the 3 gigahertz band range, commonly known as mid-band, which is paramount to maintaining American leadership in 5G.

As a result, the America’s Mid-Band Initiative Team (AMBIT) was established and worked on an unprecedented 15-week schedule to make 100 megahertz (MHz) of contiguous mid-band spectrum available in the 3450-3550 MHz band for 5G by the end of the summer.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper led this initiative along with the leadership of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council.

DoD worked closely with the Services and leveraged technical work performed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to devise a spectrum sharing framework that supports industry’s need for additional mid-band spectrum while protecting critical national security requirements.

The 3450-3550 MHz band supports critical DoD radar operations including high-powered defense radar systems on fixed, mobile, shipborne, and airborne platforms. Capabilities for these systems include air defense, missile and gunfire control, counter-mortar, bomb scoring, battlefield weapon locations, air traffic control, and range safety.

DoD established a working group that brought together 180 subject matter experts with ship, airborne, ground, electronic warfare, test and training expertise from Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and the office of the Secretary of Defense. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy provided external subject matter experts who were embedded with the DoD team.

AMBIT leveraged NTIA’s work that demonstrated sharing feasibility that Congress directed in the MOBILE NOW Act.

With this additional 100 MHz, the U.S. now has a contiguous 530 megahertz of mid-band spectrum from 3450-3980 MHz to enable higher capacity 5G networks.

The Federal Communications Commission will auction the spectrum after service rules are adopted. Through the hard work of the AMBIT, we expect these rules to be similar to AWS-3, where for the most part the spectrum will be available for commercial use without limits, while simultaneously minimizing impact to DoD operations.

DoD is preparing a Spectrum Relocation Fund Transition Plan to allow for implementation of the sharing plan while minimizing risks to DoD operations.

DoD is proud of the success of the AMBIT and is committed to working closely with industry after the FCC auction to ensure timely access to the band while protecting national security.