Earlier today during a keynote speech at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Department of Commerce Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank announced the 12 newly-appointed members to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board.
- Tim Bryan, CEO, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative
- Charles “Chuck” Dowd, Deputy Chief, New York City Police Department
- F. Craig Farrill, Wireless telecommunications executive
- Paul Fitzgerald, Sheriff, Story County, Iowa
- Samuel “Sam” Ginn (Chairman), Telecommunications executive
- Jeffrey Johnson, Fire Chief (retired); former Chair, State Interoperability Executive Council, State of Oregon; CEO, Western Fire Chiefs Association
- William Keever, Telecommunications executive (retired)
- Kevin McGinnis, Chief/CEO, North East Mobile Health Services
- Ed Reynolds, Telecommunications executive (retired)
- Susan Swenson, Telecommunications/technology executive
- Teri Takai, Government information technology expert; former CIO, states of Michigan and California
- Wellington Webb, Founder, Webb Group International; former Mayor, Denver, Colorado
These Board members join the three permanent Board members, which include Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients, and Attorney General Eric Holder. The FirstNet Board is tasked with deploying a nationwide, interoperable, public safety communications network as recommended by the 9/11 Commission in order to resolve communications challenges faced by emergency responders nationwide.
On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed into law the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012,” which included provisions to fund and govern a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. It also called for the formation of FirstNet as an independent authority within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to create the overarching framework for the network and secure nationwide standards for use and access to the network. The FirstNet Board is also responsible for issuing requests for proposals to build, operate, and maintain the network, and overseeing the contracts with non-federal entities to build, operate, and maintain the network.
The Act directed the Secretary of Commerce to appoint 12 FirstNet Board members, who will serve for staggered, three-year terms. By law, the FirstNet Board represents experts in public safety, technology, network operations, and finance. The Act also requires the Board’s inclusion of at least three public safety professionals and at least three members representing the interests of States, localities, tribes, and territories.