DoD awards $32M to three NSC teams

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded projects totaling more than $32 million to three National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) teams to develop near-real-time electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) management technologies, NSC announced November 8. DoD made the awards through the NSC’s $2.5 billion ceiling Spectrum Forward Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). In accordance with the OTA, each project is either primed by a non-traditional contractor or includes significant participation from non-traditionals. The awards include:

  • $18.0 million to Peraton Labs for OSCAR (Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response), a solution to deliver near-real time, automated EMS orchestration and improve the efficiency of spectrum use. Subcontractors in the project include non-traditionals Spectrum Bullpen, AiRANACULUS, Game7, as well as CACI, Collins Aerospace, and Cubic Corporation.
  • $6.2 million to Shared Spectrum Company for MICCA (Multiband Instrumented Control Channel Architecture). Subcontractors in the project include non-traditional Drexel University and Perspecta Labs.
  • $8.4 million to Leidos for RISA (Risk Informed Spectrum Access), a solution that will allow spectrum to be dynamically deconflicted in space, time, and frequency, taking into account geography, power levels, and other parameters. Subcontractors in the project include non-traditionals Adjacent Link, Aurora Insight, and Blackhorse Solutions.

“These awards are the latest in a series of prototype capabilities that provide warfighters many of the capabilities they need to operate in an increasingly constrained, congested, and contested EMS environment. They will contribute key underpinnings to the Department of Defense’s Joint Warfighting Concept and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, and deliver on capabilities called for in the Spectrum Superiority Strategy,” said National Spectrum Consortium Executive Director Maren Leed. “Importantly, these same tools help to ensure that our armed forces can train effectively here at home using spectrum shared with the commercial enterprises that drive our national economic growth. Effective sharing is essential for both our military and economic competitiveness, and the NSC is proud to deliver solutions that make this possible. On behalf of the National Spectrum Consortium, I want to congratulate the companies selected for award.”

“Furthermore, the awards highlight the power of the OTA to provide the Department of Defense with access to cutting-edge technologies developed by small and commercially-focused companies while maintaining the ability to partner with visionary defense-focused firms in cases where their expertise is essential.”

“There is a strong and growing appreciation of the imperative for our warfighters to have assured, near real time access to spectrum,” said National Spectrum Consortium Chief Strategy Officer, Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer, USN (ret). “We congratulate our members selected for award. We know that they are making key contributions to the agility, resilience, and effectiveness of our nation’s armed forces.”

“Peraton Labs looks forward to demonstrating and delivering an OSCAR solution that maximizes spectrum utilization to support critical warfighter operations while also enabling commercial use of scarce and valuable electromagnetic spectrum,” said Petros Mouchtaris, Ph.D., president, Peraton Labs.

“We are excited to be a part of DoD’s continuing development of technologies and tools for assured spectrum access,” said Todd Martin, President of Shared Spectrum Company. “We look forward to helping the DoD test and training community implement spectrum sharing capabilities. The combined capabilities created by these three projects will allow DoD increased access to spectrum for testing advanced systems and conduct the training needed to maintain operation readiness.”

“RISA technology allows DoD to make optimal use of increasingly crowded spectrum,” said Vincent Sabio, Technical Director for Electronic Warfare at Leidos. “This unique capability represents the future of spectrum management in the United States, spanning both military and commercial systems. Our team is proud to help to deliver future battlefield spectrum dominance and provide a competitive edge to our warfighters.”

Issued under DoD’s Spectrum Access Research & Development (SAR&DP) Program, these awards are part of a coordinated tool set of near real time spectrum management technologies that leverage machine learning/artificial intelligence to more efficiently and dynamically allocate spectrum assignments based on operational planning and intended operational outcomes.

The Risk-Informed Spectrum Access (RISA) project will deliver a set of prototype spectrum access planning, management and operational tools. These tools will provide the capability to identify, assess, and reduce systemic risk to mission associated with current or projected spectrum availability, to assist with both planning and during operations. The tools will have the potential to be employed in legacy systems as well as infrastructure-based (e.g., DoD test and training ranges) and infrastructure-free (e.g., tactical edge) spectrum access systems.

As a complementary piece of the automated spectrum ecosystem, the Multiband Control Channel Architecture (MICCA) effort will enable dynamic spectrum access for large force exercises and other spectrum-intensive scenarios. MICCA will leverage Machine-to-Machine (M2M) protocols and interfaces to enable near-real-time command, control, and communications. The ultimate goal of MICCA is to enable flexible spectrum access and agility by developing a standardized method for distributing spectrum parameters, data products, and related control messages. This will allow for “closed-loop” spectrum operations in near real time.

The Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR) project will leverage RISA-generated solutions and MICCA capabilities, and develop a software application with unified graphical user interface, automated workflows, sensor network, and an extensible framework to ensure that spectrum is available when and where needed. Its primary focus is to provide this capability to support aerial combat-related testing and training for AWS-3-impacted and incumbent systems, but with an extensible design able to integrate with and support military systems more generally. OSCAR will provide the spectrum management tools, workflows, and sensor network necessary to increase spectrum utilization and agility through improved spectrum management.

Contractors on all three projects are expected to work in a cooperative manner to align schedules and harmonize the development of interfaces and protocols with complimentary systems between projects.