News in Brief
Treasury nominee, spectrum sharing, cyber dialogue and more
Fontenot named as Treasury's assistant secretary for management
Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia is getting a new boss.
The White House announced Dec. 5 that President Barack Obama would appoint Brodi Fontenot to be Treasury's assistant secretary for management. The CIO and his team fall under the Office of Management, as do finance, human resources, records management and other administrative functions for the department.
Fontenot is currently assistant secretary of administration at the Department of Transportation, and has held a variety of management roles at that agency since 2009. He has also worked for the Government Accountability Office and the Senate Budget Committee.
At Treasury he replaces Nani Coloretti, a 2014 Federal 100 winner who was confirmed as Housing and Urban Development deputy secretary Dec. 2 after several months of delay and a hold on her nomination by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
NTIA chief: 2015 will see an uptick in spectrum sharing tests
Federal efforts to deliver 500 megahertz of spectrum to commercial markets will get a boost next year, as telecommunications regulators look to build out and test spectrum sharing technology, according to Larry Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission are looking at the possibility of sharing out 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 MHz band, which the military uses for radar systems, Strickling said in a Dec. 4 speech at the PLI/FCBA Telecommunications Policy & Regulation Institute.
To make it work, the government is directing research into technologies that accommodate sharing and prioritizing of spectrum among government and commercial users.
"From smart radios that can sense which frequencies are available for use to spectrum databases that can track who are already using specific bands, we need to build acceptance of new technologies to facilitate sharing," Strickling said. NTIA, a Commerce Department component, expects to announce a government-industry collaboration plan for technology development, and select a "model city" as a test bed for proving out spectrum-sharing technology.
U.S., EU hold first cyber dialogue
U.S. and EU delegates met in Brussels on Dec. 5 for what officials say will become an annual summit to discuss international norms in cyberspace.
Participants included officials from the departments of State, Homeland Security and Commerce on the U.S. side, and EU member states and European Commission directorates general on the European side. They discussed opportunities “to foster common approaches and best practices to cybersecurity risk management,” among other issues, the State Department said in a statement.
Obama nominates Carter for Pentagon chief
President Barack Obama on Dec. 5 confirmed what had been media speculation all week: Ashton Carter is his nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary.
The president praised Carter, a former deputy and undersecretary of Defense, as someone who knows DOD “inside and out” who will be able to lead the Pentagon in developing new capabilities, including cyber defenses.
Obama knocks China on cyber theft
President Obama said on Dec. 3 it is “indisputable” that China engages in cyber theft.
The U.S.-China economic relationship “can be a win-win for both sides, but there are some things we need them to fix,” Obama said at the Business Roundtable, a business lobby, in Washington, D.C. “And we are pressing them very hard on issues of cybersecurity and cyber theft, mostly in the commercial area. It is indisputable that they engage in it, and it is a problem. And we push them hard on it.”
The Obama administration has been aggressive in responding to alleged Chinese cyber theft of U.S. intellectual property. The Justice Department in May indicted five members of the Chinese military, accusing them of stealing proprietary economic information from six major U.S. companies and organizations. Two months later, DOJ indicted a Chinese aviation executive for allegedly stealing aircraft and weapons systems data from major U.S. defense contractors.
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