IG tells Navy to conform with frequency regs

HONOLULU—The Pacific Command is one of the Defense Department’s worst
offenders in failing to coordinate frequency spectrum operations with allied nations,
according to a recent DOD inspector general report.

Because PACOM’s systems do not conform with international agreements involving the
frequency spectrum, its DOD systems may interfere with the systems of other foreign
governments in the Pacific, the IG said in its report, Coordination of Electromagnetic
Frequency Spectrum and International Telecommunications Agreements [GCN, Nov. 9. Page 3].

PACOM has 78 systems deployed without frequency certifications and host-nation
approval, according to the report released last month.

Of those systems, 50 were deployed by U.S. forces in Korea and 28 were part of the
inventory of U.S. forces in Japan, the IG said.

Among the systems cited by the IG were the Patriot surface-to-air missile defense
system, the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and the Joint Tactical
Information Distribution System.

“We view our coalition interoperability responsibilities as vitally
important,” said Army Brig. Gen. James Bryan, PACOM’s director for command,
control, communications and computer systems. “No one is trying to muscle in on any
of these countries.”

“Do we have systems in the Defense inventory that don’t have every single
piece of the spectrum cleared with every nation in the Pacific region? The answer is yes.
There’s no denying that,” Bryan said.

But PACOM has taken steps to improve coordination of the frequency spectrum in the
Pacific, Bryan said. The command, for instance, in September hosted a spectrum conference
attended by representatives from 22 Pacific nations, he said.

Bryan sees the IG report as a wake-up call to both DOD and allied forces about the
increasing pressure on the frequency spectrum and the challenges that it poses to
operational readiness.

The command is in the process of putting procedures in place to improve frequency
coordination with its allies in the Pacific region, Bryan said. PACOM will review on a
case-by-case basis the systems cited by the IG report to see what, if anything, can be
done, he said.

“One of the systems that was pointed out was the Patriot system, and we’re
working that issue with South Korea,” Bryan said.

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