Pentagon to establish new security standards for 5G technology

The new security regime is being developed in collaboration with the department's CIO and will focus on supply chain security.
DOD Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is working to create its own set of security standards for 5G, according to the department’s principal director for the technology.

Speaking at a 5G security summit hosted by Billington Cybersecurity, Joe Evans said the DOD must understand all hardware and software used — including cell towers and receptors — and that it would have its own set of security standards for procuring 5G networks.

“We are really working across the 5G initiative to understand and develop [the] necessary security standards within DOD,” Evans said.

Evans is the Principal Director for 5G in the office of the director of defense research and engineering (modernization). This division sits within the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at the DOD.


The new standards will dictate what requirements private companies must meet in order to collaborate with the DOD on installing the technology.

Security standards will play a major role in ongoing collaboration between industry and government, as much of the DOD’s strategy on 5G has so far revolved around opening military bases to private companies to conduct research and development.

The implementation of uniform security standards remains in an early stage, with even a common definition of 5G technology yet to be established.

In particular, Evans’ office and the chief information officer of the DOD are focused on ensuring that 5G technology does not compromise supply chain security.

The DOD has several test sites for the new technology around the U.S., including in San Diego to Georgia. Private companies are able to test 5G tech in a secure but less-regulated environment such as supply warehouses.


As new security standards for 5G are established and introduced, some existing technologies will become insufficient or incompatible.

“Not all the old standards will fit the new models,” added Evans, speaking at the event.

Security experts in recent years have raised concerns about the potential for China to use its large market share of the 5G hardware market in order to conduct acts of espionage. So far, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia have banned the use of Huawei on 5G networks. Other European countries are considering similar restrictions.

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