GREGORY L. ROHDE
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION,
AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Assistant Secretary Rohde is the administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and serves under Secretary of Commerce Norman Y. Mineta as the principal adviser on telecommunications and information policies within the Executive Branch. Among a wide array of issues, NTIA is responsible for formulating government policies to support the development and growth of telecommunications and information services, and for managing the radio spectrum used by the Federal government. NTIA develops and presents Administration's positions on issues before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other domestic and international fora.
Given the increasing significance of the telecommunications and information sectors to the U.S., NTIA's role is more important than ever. NTIA, through its expertise and leadership, is addressing cutting-edge questions regarding electronic commerce, the Internet, the deployment of high-speed broadband networks, and the implementation of international and bilateral telecommunications agreements, among numerous other ssues.
Since coming to his post, Rohde has established as one of his top priorities the closing of the Digital Divide - that gap that separates those who have access to the best in information technology from those who don't. Among his achievements, Rohde and NTIA staff prepared a joint report with the Department of Agriculture that examined the availability and deployment of advanced telecommunications capabilities in rural areas. Rohde established the DigitalDivide.gov Web site, a clearinghouse for information on the topic. Under Rohde's leadership, the NTIA is expanding the scope its highly successful TOP program, the leading Administration program to bring information technology to communities and local organizations, to emphasize cutting edge telecommunications services such as high-speed Internet access for underserved populations.
Rohde also has become an Administration leader in promoting the use of wireless technologies. He served on the U.S. government delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 in Istanbul, Turkey, which helped to set the ground rules for the third generation of advanced wireless services (3G) and is leading the Administration's effort to implement that historic agreement. He established the Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative (WICI) within NTIA to foster greater cooperation between private industry and Federal spectrum managers and promote innovation of new wireless technologies.
In another key policy area, Rohde has revived NTIA's Minority Telecommunications Development Program (MTDP). Under his leadership, NTIA is conducting a ground-breaking study on minority media ownership and hosted a landmark government sponsored roundtable discussion with minority broadcasters to hear their views on the state of the industry.
Rohde is also a leader in the Administration's effort to promote pro-competitive international telecommunications policies overseas and to advance market-driven Internet policies with U.S. trading partners.
A primary responsibility of NTIA is to manage the Federal use of radio spectrum. NTIA coordinates spectrum use by Federal agencies, working to avoid potential interference between users and to ensure that spectrum is available for future government and commercial needs. Such spectrum coordination is key to the success of public safety efforts, air traffic control, national defense, national resource management, and other vital government functions. NTIA's telecommunications and spectrum management efforts are supported by its telecommunications research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, which conducts cutting-edge research on issues of significance to both the public and private sector.
NTIA also manages two federal matching grant programs, which help expand access to new technologies. The Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) provides matching grants to non-profits and public entities that are using new technologies in innovative ways to reach those in rural, low-income, and traditionally underserved areas. NTIA's Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) supports the maintenance and improvement of public broadcasting facilities throughout the United States and its territories, as the industry faces a critical need of maintaining and improving their infrastructure in order to transition to the digital age.
Before being named to his current post, Rohde served for more than 10 years with U.S. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) as the chief policy advisor for all areas of jurisdiction under the Senate Commerce Committee, of which Dorgan is a member, including telecommunications and technology issues. Rohde played a key role in many important legislative initiatives such as the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996 (which provided for a comprehensive reform of all aspects of the telecommunications and media industries) and the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 (which provided a moratorium on state and local taxation on electronic commerce).
Rohde began his career as a legislative assistant to then-Rep. Dorgan in 1988, serving as chief policy advisor for health care, social security, and human resource issues on the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Dorgan was a member. Before coming to Capitol Hill, Rohde was an instructor teaching social justice classes at Mackin Catholic High School in Washington, D.C.
Rohde also served as a Team Coordinator for the Health Care Financing Administration Section in the Health and Human Services Cluster of the Presidential Transition Team for the Clinton-Gore Administration and as Campaign Manager for the Nicholas Spaeth for Governor Campaign (D-N.D.) in 1992.
Born in Pierre, S.D., in 1961, Rohde's family moved to North Dakota when he was young, settling in the state capitol of Bismarck where Rohde graduated from Century High School in 1980. He was a state champion distance runner, setting state records in the mile and two-mile and received All-America honors in track. Rohde attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., and North Dakota State University, in Fargo, N.D., on a track and cross-country scholarship. He received a Bachelor of Science in Education with majors in Philosophy and Sociology from North Dakota State University in 1985 and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1988.
He is married to Maureen O'Leary.