The US Department of Defense (DOD) has issued two new Requests for Prototype Proposal (RPPs) for research into spectrum usage.

April 15, 2021

4 Min Read

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Defense (DOD) has issued two Requests for Prototype Proposal (RPPs) in support of electromagnetic spectrum research related to the capabilities of the 400+ members of the National Spectrum Consortium.

The Risk-Informed Spectrum Access (RISA) RPP calls for industry input to develop and demonstrate 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 spectrum operations 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.

These RPPs are the first to be issued under the National Spectrum Consortium's 5-year, $2.5 billion ceiling Other Transaction Agreement, which was signed in December 2020. Additional RPPs are expected to be issued through the NSC in the coming days and weeks.

"Over the past few weeks, the Department of Defense released the first spectrum access RPPs through the Spectrum Forward OTA," said the National Spectrum Consortium Executive Director Maren Leed. "The new OTA builds on past NSC successes in technologies that improve military-commercial sharing and extends the application of those technologies to a broader range of military operations. This new vector for the NSC makes full use of the breadth of our members' extensive expertise and shows the power gained from truly dual-use technical development. We are excited to expand our efforts in this way and continue demonstrating the NSC's ability to develop innovative advanced technologies that support our national and economic security interests."

"Spectrum access is the lifeblood of modern communications and is especially important at a time of global technology competition," said National Spectrum Consortium Chief Strategy Officer, Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer, USN (ret). "So we strongly encourage our members to collaborate and respond to these important RPPs to support innovation and make sure that our nation's armed forces can remain agile and utilize spectrum in an efficient, effective manner."

Request for Prototype Proposals

Specifically, DOD issued two RPPs to support the following government requirements:

NSC-21-RPP-02 – Risk-Informed Spectrum Access (RISA)

NSC-21-RPP-03 – Multiband Control Channel Architecture (MICCA)

These RPPs are part of projects in the Spectrum Access Research & Development Program (SAR&DP) Portfolio being solicited in Tranche 2. This includes 1) Risk Informed Spectrum Access (RISA); 2) Operational Spectrum Comprehension, Analytics, and Response (OSCAR); 3) Multiband Instrumented Control Channel Architecture (MICCA); and 4) Cooperative Spectrum Access for Testing (CSAT).

The contractors on these projects are expected to work in a cooperative manner with other project teams within the SAR&DP Tranche 2 portfolio to align schedules and harmonize the development of interfaces and protocols with complimentary systems between projects. Details on the projects can be found at

Members of the NSC in good standing can submit proposals in response to the RPPs. Proposals related to the RISA RPP are due May 06, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET. Proposals related to the MICCA RPP are due May 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET.

Spectrum Forward OTA

Last December, the DOD awarded the Spectrum Forward Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to the National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) to accelerate the development, adoption and deployment of next-generation technologies to provide our warfighters the decisive edge on the battlefield. The OTA has a term of five years and a ceiling value of $2.5 billion. The goal of the Spectrum Forward OTA is to facilitate a partnership between the US technology and industrial base and the US Government to develop dual-use technologies across a range of advanced technologies that rely upon electromagnetic spectrum from machine learning to autonomous navigation to next generation radio access networks.

Additionally, last year, DOD issued four 5G RPPs through the NSC focusing on smart warehouses, AR/VR for training, and dynamic spectrum sharing. DOD announced in October that these projects had been awarded as part of $600 million of Tranche One funding.

The NSC membership possesses broad expertise in the following areas related to electromagnetic spectrum: Ubiquitous Connectivity; Cognitive Spectrum Access & Sharing; Cybersecurity; Radio Frequency-Free Space Optics Cooperative Systems; Autonomous Systems (Ground/Air/Maritime); Internet of Things (Narrow Band/Critical/Massive); Electronic Warfare; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); Software Defined Radios/Networking/Architectures; Radar Systems; Digital Signal Processing; Microelectronics; Software Reconfigurability; Nanotechnology; Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence; Autonomy/Robotics; Biotechnology; Big Data Analytics; Edge and Cloud Computing; Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality; Location Detection; 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing; and 5th generation (5G) information communications technologies, products, and services including the use of zero trust.

National Spectrum Consortium

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