Defense to create post for spectrum management

The Defense Department will appoint an assistant deputy chief information officer for spectrum management to help the department as it wrangles with industry over the use of radio frequency for wireless applications.

Margaret E. Myers, acting deputy assistant secretary of Defense and deputy CIO, said the person hired for the position would look at the impact on Defense systems if the department were forced to give up its rights to radio frequency in the 1755-MHz-to-1850-MHz band. 'The question now is, 'Are there smarter ways of allocating the spectrum?' ' she said. 'We have to do some analysis to figure that out.'

Defense uses the spectrum to operate advanced command, control and communications systems, including several key satellite communications operations. But telecommunications companies have sought to gain control of the spectrum as the foundation for advanced wireless technologies. The proliferation of wireless devices such as cell phones and electronic pagers has forced industry to look for other areas of the spectrum on which to build new applications.

Myers said Defense needs to prepare for the next World Radio Communication Conference, to be held in July 2003 in Geneva. At the conference, public- and private-sector officials from around the world will discuss the use of radio spectrum.

In a report Defense issued in February, the department estimated that relocating major Defense communications systems to other areas of the spectrum would cost $2.8 billion. Fully vacating the band would cost $4.3 billion. Myers said those cost estimates probably fell short of what the actual costs would be.

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