Ideally, an initial spectrum supportability risk assessment is generated in the first phase of the DoD acquisition process. Early identification of spectrum and EMC related regulatory and technical issues allows program management personnel to focus attention and resources on critical spectrum issues in the remaining acquisition phases. The SSRA’s author uses inputs from several sources:
• Technical and regulatory information is obtained from DoD data bases, specifically the:
- System Certification System (SCS) data base is used to generate lists of co-band and adjacent band DoD emitters, providing an overview of other systems sharing expected electromagnetic environments. Basically, you’re looking for the J/F-12 and frequency assignment data
- Host Nation Spectrum Worldwide Database Online (HNSWDO) data base is used to identify host nation comments on previous systems in the same frequency band and with similar technical parameters as the system being acquired.
- US and non-US tables of allocation, which can be obtained in many cases directly from the internet.
• The latest pertinent Host Nation supportability comments are obtained by the Program Office from the Combatant Command (COCOM) spectrum managers. The COCOM spectrum managers will forward any resulting comments to the authors of the SSRA.
• The PMO defines the system’s technical parameters and intended operational deployment required for spectrum support, e.g. the frequency bands of interest and the intended worldwide development, test and operational areas and host nations. Other technical data might include:
- Data Sheets from Developer
- RF Modeling
- Interference Analyses
- Selectivity Curves
- Antenna Coupling
- Inter/Intra Co-site data/modeling
- Platform vs. EME at Key Locations
- E3 Test Data – Program Office
- EMI Test Plans/Reports
- EMC Test Plans/Report
Coordination with the cognizant MILDEP Spectrum Management Office (SMO) is key to a successful SSRA. The SMO should be made aware of initial activities and be kept informed of major SSA developments. The PMO should provide the SSRA’s authors with copies of any DD Form 1494s sent to the SMO. The national and host-nation comments resulting from previous J/F 12’s submissions should be reviewed to see what comments may have been provided on earlier versions of the system.
The results from the regulatory portion of an SSA can be summarized for senior leadership as a “stoplight chart” where the colors of each box are an indication of the possibility of a system obtaining spectrum supportability in the US and selected host nations. Typically, reading the rows indicates whether or not the frequency band used by each of the program’s sub-systems will have major spectrum issues in many of the intended host nations by the color in that box. The colors result from a careful comparison of the radio service of each RF system with the technical and regulatory information contained in the databases and the host-nation tables of allocation.
Likewise, the results of the Technical and Operational analyses as previously discussed, will constitute additional input into an overall risk assessment. The technical component would focus on the RF engineering related risks associated with possible mutual interference with other systems in the same band and the operational would focus on the risks of possible mutual interference within its intended operational environment.
The major result of the SSRA may be that the PMO considers options such as: changing the system’s spectrum use or other technical parameters or beginning consultations with the cognizant SMO regarding possible courses of action. Typical courses of action include coordinating bi-lateral negotiations with individual host-nations or briefing the spectrum requirements of the system to groups such as the NATO Frequency Management Sub-Committee (FMSC), the DoD spectrum Summit or various COCOM spectrum conferences. All PMO involvement with these groups must be closely coordinated with the cognizant MILDEP frequency management office and DoD representative.
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