The implementation of 5G is helping drive digital transformation and IT modernization projects for federal government agencies. During the recent Federal Executive Forum: 5G Strategies in Government webinar, government leaders explore the future of 5G and 5G technology applications for the federal landscape. The group of panelists included:
- Daniel Massey, Program Lead, 5G Initiative, Department of Defense
- Rob Beutel, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Air Force
- Dovarius Peoples, Chief Information Officer, Army Corps of Engineers
- Bryan Schromsky, Managing Partner, 5G Public Sector, Verizon
- Stephen Douglas, Head of 5G Strategy, Spirent Communications
- John Davis, Vice President, Public Sector, Palo Alto Networks
- Moderator: Luke McCormack, Host of the Federal Executive Forum
Schromsky noted that there is an exciting future going forward, with 5G enabling solutions to solve problems and business outcomes. Continue reading to learn more from these government leaders about their perspective on the future of 5G in the federal government.
Daniel Massey, Program Lead, 5G Initiative, Department of Defense
At the Department of Defense (DoD), 5G is being deployed at several bases around the country. The power of 5G is “building smart warehouses, covering massive amounts of conductivity, and establishing spectrum sharing,” said Massey. He also mentioned the importance of security and observability when it comes to operating on the network aside from confidentiality, integrity, and availability. With 5G, agencies need to keep in mind where the data is coming from and who has access to it. Massey commented that individuals could “infer quite a bit [about the data] by understanding who is communicating, even if the data is encrypted and can’t be modified or viewed…We are very interested in not only ensuring all the classic cybersecurity aspects, but also understanding what is visible on the network, what stands out on the network, and what an adversary might infer.”
Rob Beutel, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Air Force
Beutel discussed the unique opportunity the Air Force had in 2019 at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. Hurricane Michael decimated the base and local area in 2018 and while this was a devastating event, it has given the Air Force an opportunity to drive transformation. The Air Force has established a 5G presence to prove solutions for different agencies. Beutel noted that “5G in and of itself is not a requirement. It is a solution to a requirement. It is defining what the real mission requirements are, so we understand where 5G should be prioritized and how it should be implemented.”
Dovarius Peoples, Chief Information Officer, Army Corps of Engineers
Peoples commented on how the Army Corps of Engineers leverages 5G for disaster relief missions. “When natural disasters happen, we’re leveraging 5G from a telecommunications and personnel perspective that will be able to rapidly install or restore actual telecommunications throughout the nation to prevent any lingering effects as it pertains to being able to connect with communities.” When evaluating 5G applications, Peoples explained that it is important to consider costs. From assessing various implementations, the parts required to implement, and the amount of fiber that needs to be laid, it is critical to examine “the financial landscape and the responsibility that is required,” said Peoples. “We are putting an emphasis on being able to get the financial assistance to be able to help us continue to evolve.”
Bryan Schromsky, Managing Partner, 5G Public Sector, Verizon
Industry leaders help to support government agencies with their implementation of 5G applications. Schromsky commented on Verizon’s Boston lab, which opened in October 2021. Here, “we are able to mimic around 95 percent of what our network does today,” said Schromsky. “Agencies can come into the facility and actually do testing on a real wireless network. More importantly, you can manipulate the network.” As Massey mentioned the security aspects of viewing the data on the network, at the lab, agencies are able to “see how a device interacts with the network and what is showing on the network for a particular device,” said Schromsky.
5G is changing how agencies can meet their mission goals. The impact of 5G implementation can bring not only higher bandwidth and lower latency, but also numerous new device capabilities and connectivity applications. Schromsky noted that there would be a proliferation of application 5G use cases when focusing on the future. Agencies will continue to work towards examining what 5G can enable and how it can help solve challenges in the future.
To learn more about the future of 5G in the federal government, view the webinar.