Department of Commerce

Secretary of Commerce Pritzker Announces Members to Serve on FirstNet Board

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the reappointment of three leading experts on public safety, wireless broadband communications, and state and local government to serve three-year terms on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board. Secretary Pritzker reappointed three current Board members to another term:

  • Jeff Johnson, FirstNet Vice Chair, former Fire Chief and CEO of the Western Fire Chiefs Association.
  • Sue Swenson, FirstNet Chairwoman and CEO of Novatel Wireless.
  • Teri Takai, senior advisor at the Center for Digital Government and former CIO for the states of Michigan and California.

In addition, Secretary Pritzker announced that Swenson would continue to serve as chairwoman of the FirstNet Board for another two-year term.

A New Data Joint Adventure

The National Technical Information Service has just posted a Federal Register Notice inviting proposals from for-profit, non-profit, or research organizations to enter into Joint Venture Partnership agreements with NTIS to develop and deliver innovative, agile data solutions within the Department of Commerce or around the federal government. We’re looking for companies and organizations—selected through a merit-based process—that will partner with NTIS to assist Federal agencies in developing and implementing innovative ways to collect, connect, access, analyze, or use Federal data and data services. To illustrate, the Joint Ventures could help provide:
New technical capability or private sets to help statistical agencies derive economic, demographic and social insights from Federal and private sector data;
Assistance through the integration of public and private data, the “Internet of Things,” cloud computing and predictive analytics, to derive insights for land use planning, and delivering improved public services; and
Aggregation of multiple and disparate data sets from several Federal agencies into an insightful data suite of knowledge to drive business decisions.
The NTIS Joint Ventures also could help address time-to-market innovations and complexity of solutions, and facilitate new partnerships with the private sector focused on delivering value for public service, business outcomes, and economic growth.

Overview of the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework

The EU-US Privacy Shield Framework was designed by the US Department of Commerce and European Commission to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce.

The Privacy Shield Framework provides a set of robust and enforceable protections for the personal data of EU individuals. The Framework provides transparency regarding how participating companies use personal data, strong U.S. government oversight, and increased cooperation with EU data protection authorities (DPAs). The European Commission deemed the Privacy Shield Framework adequate to enable data transfers under EU law. Commerce will allow companies time to review the Framework and update their compliance programs and then, on August 1, will begin accepting certifications. To join the Privacy Shield Framework, a US-based company will be required to self-certify to the Department of Commerce and publicly commit to comply with the Framework’s requirements. While joining the Privacy Shield Framework will be voluntary, once an eligible company makes the public commitment to comply with the Framework’s requirements, the commitment will become enforceable under U.S. law. All companies interested in joining the Privacy Shield Framework should review its requirements in their entirety.

FirstNet: Deploying a Resilient Broadband Network for the Nation’s First Responders

To deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is working closely with first responders in all 56 states and territories to ensure their communications needs are built into the nationwide network from day one, so they can seamlessly share information and communicate under all conditions.

And like first responders themselves, the network must be resilient: it must be able to withstand the elements and recover rapidly from disruptions, including deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring weather situations.

To that end, FirstNet is designing the network to be an interoperable, secure, and resilient network that will improve the effectiveness of emergency response in rural and urban communities throughout the nation, including remote locations such as island states and territories. FirstNet will also ensure the network can evolve and incorporate advances in technology so first responders can take advantage of cutting edge broadband communication services, devices, and applications.

Commerce's NIST to Host Next Meeting on Developing a Collaborative Nationwide Disaster Resilience Framework

As part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is leading a collaborative nationwide effort to develop a framework that US communities can use to prepare for, resist, respond to, and recover from hazard events more rapidly and at a lower cost.

On July 30, NIST will host the second in a series of regional workshops devoted to developing a community-centric "disaster resilience framework" to minimize the impacts of hazards and quickly restore vital functions and services in the aftermath of disasters.

The disaster resilience framework will establish overall performance goals; assess existing standards, codes, and practices; and identify gaps that must be addressed to bolster community resilience.

The workshop will begin with a session on resilience lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 "superstorm" that affected many states along the Atlantic seaboard. Topics will include buildings and facilities, transportation systems, energy systems, communication and information systems, water and wastewater systems, and social vulnerabilities.

NIST seeks input from a broad array of stakeholders, including planners, designers, facility owners and users, government officials, utility owners, regulators, standards and model code developers, insurers, trade and professional associations, disaster response and recovery groups, and researchers.

Department of Commerce Open Government Plan Version 3.0 Published

On January 21, 2009, President Barack Obama issued the first executive memorandum of his Administration, entitled “Transparency and Open Government.”

This memorandum established three guiding principles for the conduct of government activities. Government should be transparent. Government should be participatory. Government should be collaborative. The Department of Commerce (the Department) is fully committed to these principles, and we are pleased to present the 2014 Department of Commerce Open Government Plan, version 3.0.

The Plan is updated annually, and this release represents its fifth publication. The Department will continue to encourage and strive for increased participation and collaboration among its employees, with other government agencies and the American people.

The 2014 plan provides an overview of the Department’s new 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, describes Department program and functional areas which are critical to Open Government, features three “flagship” Open Government initiatives, and highlights Open Government happenings of ongoing initiatives and activities across the Department’s Bureaus and Operating Units (BOUs).

Working to Ensure Americans Remain Connected When Disaster Strikes

With the start of summer comes the beginning of the hurricane season along much of the US coast. And with hurricanes comes the increased possibility that communications could be disrupted.

Less than two years ago, Hurricane Sandy left a trail of death and destruction including disrupted communications for millions of people and thousands of businesses along the East Coast. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reported that about a quarter of cell sites across 10 states and the District of Columbia were knocked out of service during the peak of the storm.

As the Executive Branch agency primarily responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information issues, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has been working with other federal agencies to help Americans remain connected in the wake of natural disasters or other emergencies.

[Fletcher is Associate Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration]

US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Appoints Sue Swenson FirstNet Board Chairwoman

US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the appointment of Sue Swenson as Chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board.

FirstNet is an independent entity within the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Swenson, a seasoned telecommunications and technology executive, has served as a FirstNet Board member since August 2012 and was named Vice Chairwoman last December.

Swenson replaces Sam Ginn, who has chaired the FirstNet Board since its inception. Ginn, a wireless industry pioneer, agreed to step out of retirement to shepherd the FirstNet Board through its early stage development and planning of a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. His term on the Board expires August 2014 and he is not seeking reappointment. Ginn plans to fulfill the remainder of his term as a Board member.

Swenson has played a pivotal role on the Board, successfully leading FirstNet’s spectrum lease negotiations with four Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) projects. She was also instrumental in FirstNet’s development of a strategic roadmap.

Secretary Pritzker Committed to Strengthening the Role of Women in Business and Technology

As President Barack Obama declared in his State of the Union address, “When women succeed, America succeeds.” Here at the Department of Commerce, we are committed to strengthening the role of women in business and technology.

Among the Department’s many initiatives aimed toward advancing this goal are the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) efforts to empower our country’s women to innovate and create good jobs. The USPTO provides the training and tools to encourage more women to get involved in, and contribute to, our innovation and knowledge-based economy. In fiscal year 2013 alone, USPTO worked with over 3,000 girls through targeted programming focused on intellectual property (IP) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities, including workshops on 3D printing, invention concepts, engineering design, game development, product packaging, and patent and trademark protection.

[March 10]