WASHINGTON — General Dymanics said it’s teaming up with Amazon and four other information technology, software and telecommunications companies to develop 5G technologies and accelerate their adoption across sectors including the U.S. military.
General Dynamics Information Technology, or GDIT, announced the partnership with Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Splunk and T-Mobile on Nov. 10.
The potential of fifth-generation wireless networks, with vastly improved connectivity over 4G, has been promised for years, but 5G that lives up to the hype has yet to arrive for many. The slow rollout is often blamed on squabbles between the industry and Congress over the designation of space on public airwaves. The announcement comes as control of the House is still in the air following midterm elections.
“We share a common vision of how 5G, edge and advanced wireless technologies can transform government operations,” Ben Gianni, GDIT’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “Forming this coalition will help us bring our collective strengths together to provide technical differentiation and the most beneficial solutions for our government customers.”
5G pledges exponentially faster speeds as well as the capacity to accommodate more and more-advanced devices, which can pay dividends for defense, health care, trade and more. The gear also brings with it a host of concerns, cybersecurity, privacy and price chief among them.
The U.S. Department of Defense, specifically, is interested in 5G as a means to rapidly share information — on and off the battlefield — and improve logistics, like at so-called smart warehouses, where artificial intelligence and remote observation come into play. The department’s 2020 strategy described 5G as “far more disruptive” than its predecessors, noting that high-speed connectivity will “transform the way militaries operate.”
The efforts of the GDIT 5G and Edge Accelerator Coalition stem from the Advanced Wireless Emerge Lab, where work is already underway to identify the best applications for 5G and how related kit can be cost-effectively implemented across federal, state and local agencies.
GDIT in its announcement said it would “design, deploy and maintain secure end-to-end 5G solutions” while leveraging Amazon’s cloud assets. Cisco will chip in computing and data processing capabilities and Dell will furnish software as well as AI-enhanced devices and sensors. Splunk will handle cybersecurity. And T-Mobile will provide bandwidth and expertise.
“In today’s landscape, 5G solutions provide a wealth of benefits for the federal government and we are committed to helping them adopt and maximize these innovative technologies to best achieve their missions,” Bethann Pepoli, a group vice president at Splunk, said in a statement. “Security is a top concern when it comes to implementing these new technologies and we are focused on helping to ensure the government has the correct tools and support to maximize their cybersecurity operations and threat response.”
The Defense Department secured nearly $338 million for 5G and microelectronics in fiscal 2022 and requested $250 million for fiscal 2023.
The department in previous years invested in test beds at a dozen military installations. It is also studying 5G networking for overseas operations at Idaho National Laboratory, a massive Department of Energy nuclear reservation, and over the summer committed $1.77 million to an industry-university research effort known as Open6G.
General Dynamics is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world based on revenue, earning some $30.8 billion in 2021, according to a Defense News analysis.
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.