NTIA’s Rinaldo Steps Down

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The top White House advisor on telecom issues is stepping down. It marks the second time the leader of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has left the job this year. 

Acting Administrator in Charge Diane Rinaldo’s departure comes about seven months after former NTIA chief David Redl left his post abruptly, reports The Hill. In an email to her staff, she wrote: “My main goal in this position was to be a champion and bullhorn for all of the good work you do, and I will always be an NTIA supporter.” 

The NTIA advises the Trump administration’s telecom policy within the Department of Commerce. It has been stuck in the middle of the administration’s sometimes unpredictable battle over how the government and private industry should handle the race toward implementing 5G, according to Axios.  

Federal agencies work through NTIA to weigh in on FCC plans involving federal spectrum. That process has become more difficult recently as NTIA and other departments clash with the FCC over spectrum plans. Rinaldo took over in May amid 5G spectrum feuds.

Rinaldo did not say where she’s heading. She named the agency’s work on broadband, privacy, next-generation wireless and tech trade policy as successes over her two-year NTIA tenure. Rinaldo was Redl’s deputy at NTIA, and worked on tech and cybersecurity issues for years. She was formerly a House Intelligence Committee staffer as well as the oversight and budget monitor for the National Security Agency.

Doug Kinkoph, Commerce Department acting deputy assistant secretary, will fill in for Rinaldo as acting administrator. Multiple sources expect the White House to tap Ed Hearst, a Treasury Department official who has telecom and cybersecurity experience, to take over the agency, reported Politico.

December 18, 2019

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