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Press Release: Commerce's NTIA Releases Federal Strategic Spectrum Plan as Part of the President's Initiative on Spectrum Management Reform

Major report outlines how the federal government uses the nation's airwaves

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2008
Media Contact: Todd Sedmak 202-482-7002 or

WASHINGTON - The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a comprehensive report on the use of the nation’s airwaves used by the U.S. federal government, based on submissions of spectrum plans from 15 Federal agencies.  The report titled, The Federal Strategic Spectrum Plan, is a key component of President Bush’s 21st Century Spectrum Policy Initiative for improving the management of spectrum by federal agencies.

“The plan provides transparency on how the federal government uses the nation’s airwaves and provides the framework for the National Spectrum Plan to be completed with the Federal Communications Commission,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Meredith Baker.

The report provides extensive data on federal spectrum use and plans, including frequency bands, radiocommunication services, and spectrum-dependent systems. Among several recommendations provided in the report, federal agencies should over the next five years:

  • use commercial services where feasible;
  • implement “smart” radio technologies to improve more dynamic access to needed frequencies, wherever and whenever needed;
  • work with NTIA on identifying economic and other incentives to promote more efficient use of spectrum;
  • facilitate sharing among federal users and between federal and non-federal users;
  • improve interoperability among public safety agencies; and
  • ensure spectrum support for continuity of government operations.

Within the five-year timeframe, NTIA will upgrade the federal spectrum management system; consider possible user fees for federal use of spectrum; develop improved interference models for optimizing spectrum use; implement methods to better forecast future requirements; and continue to promote interagency and federal/private sector coordination.

The plan was formulated using the agency-specific strategic spectrum plans from 15 agencies: the Departments of Agriculture; Commerce; Defense; Energy; Homeland Security; Interior; Justice; State; Transportation; Treasury; and Veterans Affairs; the United States Postal Service; the Broadcasting Board of Governors; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation.  


The Federal Strategic Spectrum Plan is an important component of the Presidential Initiative on Spectrum Management Reform. In an Executive Memorandum issued in November, 2004,the President directed federal agencies to formulate agency-specific strategic spectrum plans that include: (1) spectrum requirements for future technologies or services, (2) the planned uses of new technologies or expanded services requiring spectrum, and (3) suggested spectrum efficient approaches to meeting identified spectrum requirements.    

NTIA is responsible for the development of the domestic and international telecommunications policy of the Executive Branch, which includes managing the use of spectrum by the federal government.


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