The US military is planning to carry out experiments to understand how 5G wireless technologies could improve communications, although their leaders fear that products made in China could expose US information at risk.
"We are about to begin a series of experiments to understand what distances we can communicate"Said Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for the acquisition and support, Monday at an event of the Atlantic Council. "What is the latency, what is the interference, what must we do to have the right equipment to have this capacity".
The experiments will be planned and supervised by the Pentagon's research and engineering office. The results will be used to inform several Defense Department advisory committees that will work on the recommendations to be given to the Pentagon leaders on the 5G policy.
The high speed and low latency of the 5G promise to promote great advances in mobile phones and mobile computing, as well as big profits for the United States, China and other companies that are already working to bring the new technology to market.
However, some defense leaders fear that the updated networks with products made by Chinese telecommunications companies - in particular Huawei - can help Beijing with espionage.
Earlier this month, the US ambassador to Germany had warned Berlin that the US would restrict information sharing if Germany allowed Huawei to build the country's planned 5G network. Last week General Joseph Dunford, head of the Joint Staff, called the 5G a "critical national security problem".
The undersecretary Lord said: "5G technology "will change the industrial base and the way we organize ourselves. The 5G is a national security problem for us, especially since we have to rethink our industrial base as we move forward. Economic security is national security and we must ensure that we have an industrial base that can compete on equal terms.
While the focus of the 5G is on the mobile phone, the Pentagon is investigating how the military could use technology.
Not only will we get a quantitative improvement over this communication but we will qualitatively change the way we do things.
China is moving fast in this regard: it has already created a national strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of 5G networks".
The progress of 5G in China is linked to its national strategy for the fusion of civilian and military (军民 融合), ”Elsa Kania wrote earlier this year in Defense One. "In November 2018, major industry players founded the Industrial Alliance for 5G (5G 技术 军民 融合 应用 产业 联盟) Civil and Military Fusion Applications, including ZTE, China Unicom and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC ). This new partnership aims to foster collaboration and integrated military and civil development, while promoting both civilian and defense applications “.