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National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Chief David Redl Resigns

David Redl (second right) at the Prague 5G Security Conference last week on May 3rd, 2019 with U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Stephen King (third left) and FCC chair Ajit Pai (third right).

David Redl, head of U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) resigned abruptly from his position on Thursday. Redl was President Donald Trump's pick who took office eighteen months ago and had privately assured Republican senators that he would look at reversing the Obama administration's decision to give up U.S. oversight of the internet, according to documents obtained last year by Politico.

Noteworthy: An email obtained by POLITICO last year through a Freedom of Information Act request, suggested that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were growing concerned over Redl's positions as a House staffer. "By Aug. 1, Ross told Cruz and Lee he backed Redl, but the lawmakers kept demanding documents over what they deemed Redl's insufficient objections to an Obama-era decision to cede internet governance to the international community." (Politico / May 11, 2018)

Disagreements over spectrum policy: "Redl has been a key player in the nation's wireless strategy, which has been closely watched as carriers move toward launching 5G amid security concerns about Chinese equipment manufacturers," as per Axios' David McCabe. According to one Capitol Hill source, there has been talk of tension between the FCC and NTIA over the 24 GHz auction and its impact on government spectrum overseen by NTIA (Source).

Between the lines: FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly thanks Redl for his "willingness to serve the Administration" following his departure. "I commend and thank David Redl for his long career in service to the American people, having had the privilege of working with David both on Capitol Hill and now in our respective roles. While we didn't always agree, I respect the difficult task he had in managing the unique views of many federal agencies on spectrum policy, and I appreciate his fierce passion and his breadth of knowledge of the issues. I wish him all the best in his next endeavor."

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