The spectrum problem surfaced earlier this year during a House Armed Services Committee’s AirLand panel hearing at which Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, USAF military acquisition deputy, explained that DOD doesn’t have enough spectrum for its needs, and, in the case of the B-2 bombers, there wasn’t “a spectrum they could become a primary user on.” Hoffman noted that the B-2 would be primary user on the new spectrum (see above); however, he declared, “This will not be the last time you hear about a spectrum challenge.” And, he added, “I can’t guarantee that the B-2 will not have to move in 40 years somewhere else.” Hoffman agreed with panel chairman Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) that it probably would take legislation to make the Commerce Department and others involved in spectrum allocation award priority to DOD. Abercrombie offered to tackle the issue, asserting that he doesn’t believe Americans—whose cell phones, HDTV, garage door openers, and the like are prime spectrum users—would object to allocation of spectrum for defense use. But, what about overseas where other countries control spectrum? Said Hoffman, “Just like we conquer airspace, as we go into some place, we also conquer spectrum.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.