Commerce seeks to integrate telecom, tech operations

Secretary of Commerce Don Evans is proposing that Congress consolidate the bureaus within the department responsible for technology and telecommunications policy.

Under the proposed plan, the Commerce Department would combine the Technology Administration, National Telecommunication Information Administration, Information Administration and the e-commerce policy functions of the International Trade Administration into one agency. The changes need congressional approval.

The move will complement the recent convergence in the private sector of technology and communications companies, Evans said today.

'Convergence is the business model in the digital economy. It should be the business model in the federal government,' said Evans. 'This administration understands that our global marketplace has changed, and that telecom and technology operate together, not separately. We need to adjust our thinking and adjust our structure to keep pace with the world, our economy and innovation.'

The proposal would reorganize department personnel and management to facilitate coordination in domestic and international policy development. The restructuring is in keeping with the administration's focus on improving management and policy coordination across the government, according to department officials.

Under the structure being proposed, the department's undersecretary for technology would oversee the new agency that would focus on a range of issues, including technical standards, spectrum management, technology and e-commerce policy issues.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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