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The U.S. military’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), John Sherman, has announced a significant development in the country’s 5G initiatives. Starting from October 1, Sherman’s office will oversee all 5G-related activities in the military, including the expansion of pilot programs. While this move aims to enhance the military’s capabilities, critics warn that it could lead to increased surveillance of U.S. citizens.

In this article, we explore the implications of the military’s control over 5G and address concerns about potential surveillance and societal control.

  1. The transition of 5G Efforts to Sherman’s Office

The Pentagon’s 5G efforts, previously under the supervision of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu, will now be shifted to John Sherman’s office. Sherman emphasizes that his office has already been working closely with Shyu and her team, ensuring a smooth transition. This shift in authority indicates a strategic realignment of 5G activities within the military.

  1. The Military’s Ambitious 5G Expansion

John Sherman aims to expand the military’s utilization of 5G technology, although specific details about this expansion remain undisclosed. Notably, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) allocated $600 million in 2020 to launch 5G pilots at military bases across several states. These pilot programs leveraged “smart” warehouse 5G wireless technology to optimize logistics and enhance distributed command and control. Since then, the DOD has doubled down on its commitment to 5G, further emphasizing its importance within the military landscape.

  1. Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) Pilot Programs

Sherman plans to initiate open radio access network (Open RAN) pilot programs. The adoption of an open network approach is crucial to ensure that the United States maintains dominance in the 5G radiofrequency-electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) space, rather than ceding control to foreign adversaries. Sherman’s office is collaborating with multiple U.S. companies to expand these pilot programs, shifting away from closed-network systems favored by certain Chinese companies. By adopting an open-network, open-software approach, the U.S. industry can establish and maintain its superiority in 5G technology.

  1. Concerns Regarding Surveillance and Societal Control

Critics, including W. Scott McCollough, a former marine and lead litigator for the Children’s Health Defense (CHD) electromagnetic radiation cases, argue that the military’s takeover of 5G projects raises serious concerns about domestic surveillance and societal control. McCollough believes that the military’s interest in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) is driven by a desire to dominate it, both domestically and internationally. He asserts that 5G technology, under the direction of military officials like Sherman, could be utilized for extensive surveillance of U.S. citizens.

  1. The Potential Risks of Military Control

According to McCollough, the military’s expanded 5G efforts provide access to an extraordinary amount of data in near real-time. The low latency network of 5G enables military and intelligence services to gather and control vast amounts of information about individuals and their surroundings. McCollough expresses concerns that these powerful tools could be misused for population repression and control, infringing upon privacy and civil liberties.

  1. The Blurring Line Between Civilian and Military Applications

Crisanna Shackelford, a former DOD intelligence professional and expert in nonlinear warfare, finds Sherman’s takeover and the military’s increased involvement in 5G troubling. She suggests that this could lead to the militarization of 5G technology, blurring the boundaries between civilian and military applications. Shackelford warns that potential military control over 5G networks might encroach upon privacy rights and civil liberties. The consolidation of civil-military advancements raises concerns about the establishment of global surveillance networks, particularly in areas like biomedical surveillance.

  1. Lack of Transparency and Public Involvement

Shackelford highlights the lack of transparency and public involvement in the DOD’s transition to 5G. Decisions are being made without adequate public scrutiny or opportunities for meaningful input, limiting democratic processes and accountability. Furthermore, concerns arise about the concentration of power among major companies involved in the 5G ecosystem, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.

  1. Health and Environmental Implications

Both Shackelford and McCollough stress the need to address the health and environmental ramifications of 5G technology. Scientists have pointed out the negative biological effects of RF radiation caused by 5G. The military, despite being aware of these effects, has viewed them as collateral damage necessary to achieve its perceived missions.


As the U.S. military assumes control of 5G activities, concerns about increased surveillance and societal control emerge. While the military aims to expand its 5G capabilities, transparency and safeguards are necessary to ensure the protection of privacy, civil liberties, and democratic processes. Striking a balance between advancing technology and safeguarding society remains a critical challenge as 5G continues to shape the future of communication and connectivity.

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