Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Fri Mar 17 22:11:33 CST 2006

>From the ARRL Newsletter:

The FCC approved a proposal March 17 to create a new Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau (PS&HSB) that would assume some functions now under
the umbrella of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). But it appears
that the Amateur Radio Service--now within the WTB's Public Safety and
Critical Infrastructure Division, headed by Michael J. Wilhelm, WS6BR--will
remain within the WTB, according to Anthony Dale, Acting Director of the
FCC's Office of Managing Director (OMD). 

"The Critical Infrastructure piece--that's things like taxi cabs, Amateur
Radio, chemical plants, all that type of thing--those are not public
safety-specific functions," Dale said in response to a reporter's question
following the FCC open meeting. "The plan is to keep those in the Wireless

Creation of the new bureau was a topic of some discussion during a meeting
earlier this month of the ARRL Executive Committee. With the complete
details of the reorganization still uncertain, however, the League is
adopting a wait-and-see attitude for now.

Mika Savir, an attorney advisor within the FCC's OMD, presented the proposal
to the Commission. "By this action, the Commission would take an important
step to better address public safety, homeland security, national security,
emergency management and preparedness and disaster management," she said.
"As you know, the Commission has a statutory mandate to assist in promoting
the safety of life and property, as well as the national defense, through
the use of communications."

An official document spelling out just which functions and services will end
up where has not yet been made public, and even Dale did not appear to be
entirely clear on specifics. He and others stressed that some PS&HSB
functions may overlap those of other bureaus.

The FCC said the changes are subject to Congressional notification before
they become effective. In addition, the Commission must work with the
National Treasury Employees Union Local 209 to secure its approval for
issues affecting the Commission's workforce.

The last changes affecting the functions of the WTB occurred in 2003. This
reorganization has been several months in the planning. Some observers had
speculated that Amateur Radio would be shifted to the PS&HSB, thus removing
it from the WTB's market-based approach to regulation. Moving some of the
WTB's current responsibilities to the new bureau, however, could speed up
the process of moving Amateur Radio-related proceedings through the

The PS&HSB will have three divisions: Policy, Public Communications Outreach
& Operations, and Communications Systems Analysis. In addition, the bureau
will have a front office consisting of senior leadership and management

The new bureau would be the seventh within the FCC. Commissioner Michael
Copps said the proposed reorganization goes beyond "reshuffling" of the
bureaucracy. He expressed the hope that creation of the new Public Safety
and Homeland Security Bureau would be viewed as "the first step in putting
the FCC out front--where it long should have been--in providing
communications security for all Americans in this dangerous age."

The Commission voted unanimously to approve creation of the new bureau.

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