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Joint Base San Antonio 5G Research and Development

Joint Base San Antonio has the opportunity to revolutionize the way DoD operates in the battlespace. In 2020, Joint Base San Antonio was selected by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Research & Engineering) as the only DoD facility in the 5G NextGen program to administer two experiments: 5G Core Security and 5G in Telemedicine and Medical Training. Two critical experiments in transitioning 5G technology to the warfighter. In addition, JBSA 5G Next Gen will host one of the few state-of-the art 5G stand-alone testbeds in the country. The 5G stand-alone testbed ensures that JBSA is developing trailblazing 5G prototype solutions.

The JBSA 5G in Telemedicine and Medical Training experiments focus on the use of 5G to provide medical telementoring and medical training anywhere at any time, leveraging emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML). The medical community views 5G as a game changer for saving lives on the forefront medical support arena. 5G offers the potential to extend medical training and life-saving medical expertise to the operational edge by leveraging emerging technologies such as augmented reality, haptics, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics.

In order for DoD to realize the full benefits of 5G technology for telemedicine and other applications, the 5G system must operate securely and reliably anytime and anywhere in the world; even over 5G infrastructure in regions that are not aligned with DoD mission objectives. To complicate the effort, 5G connects more devices that are communicating more data than ever before. The increased infrastructure associated with 5G, increases the surface attack area for malicious actors, accidents, natural disasters and environmental hazards. The JBSA 5G Core Security prototype solutions make 5G secure and reliable for use anywhere in the world.

The JBSA Core Security projects focus on developing and prototyping effective methodologies (hardware, software, 5G radio, and systems) to provide secure sharing of real-time data in support of warfighter applications. To ensure 5G networks can support military operations, The JBSA 5G Core Security prototypes demonstrate interoperability scenarios across network domains and layers, E2E security with 5G network slicing, resiliency and redundancy of 5G Systems for recovery from attacks, accidents, and naturally occurring threats, and automated 5G cyber vulnerabilities assessment. The JBSA 5G Core Security Team has engaged military partners from ARNORTH and Air Force AETC to help shape the prototype applications to ensure the resulting prototypes meet DoD needs.

In addition to the OUSD R&E sponsored prototype projects, the JBSA 5G Program Management Office hosts a monthly 5G Working Group consisting of military, academic/research, local government, and industry members to build a 5G ecosystem in San Antonio. The 5G Working Group Vision is to make San Antonio a recognized leader in 5G (and beyond) serving as a universal secure digital environment for Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Analytics proliferation. Transforming new services, user experiences, and connecting a broad array of industries, academia, and government entities.

By developing collaborative teams with military partners and building a state-of-the-art 5G stand-alone testbed, JBSA 5G will accelerate the demonstration and transition of revolutionary 5G-enabled applications that transform the battlespace.


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