Spotlight: DHS competition aims to oust LMR in favor of 4G LTE


The Homeland Security Department will launch a prize competition in the next 6 months that will challenge the public to come up with a solution to leverage 4G LTE technology in place of land mobile radio, while still meeting the unique needs of law enforcement and first responders.

"If we know what our requirement is, why don't we state our requirement throw it out there, offer a tangible prize of some significant value and try to get innovation from wherever it exists in the world?" said DHS Chief Information Officer Richard Spires April 18 at an AFCEA Bethesda Event in Bethesda, Md.

Spires said DHS is talking to the departments of Justice and State about possibly making the competition an interagency effort. "We don't need to be doing this multiple times," he said.

Spires also said DHS is part of a working group looking into building out a network for the recently-allocated D-block of spectrum. Realistically, said Spires, "it's going to be in the 5-year kind of period, I'm guessing."

The department also plans to pilot this summer Workplace as a Service across all components. If all goes well, DHS will "aggressively roll this out" immediately following the pilot, said Spires. Workplace as a Service will provide personal desktop capability packaged with mobile service, all surrounded by security architecture and living in DHS's private cloud, said Spires.