Osterthaler elevated to FirstNet board chair

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The First Responders Network Authority board has a new chair: Robert Tipton “Tip” Osterthaler was nominated to the position today by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Osterthaler is a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general and former CEO of satellite services provider SES Government Solutions. He has served on the board of the FirstNet Authority since 2018 and held the role of Finance Committee chair as well as serving on the board’s Governance and Personnel comittee. He is also a former deputy assistant defense secretary for European and NATO affairs.

Osterthaler succeeds Ed Horowitz, who was appointed board chair in 2018 and will complete this two-year term as chair this week. Horowitz will remain as a FirstNet Authority board member, with his current term set to expire next year.

“Tip Osterthaler has been an instrumental FirstNet Board member who will bring exceptional leadership to the organization during the next phase of FirstNet implementation,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement. “FirstNet’s mission has proved even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am confident Tip will excel in his new role as he ensures first responders have the connectivity they need to support the American people. I want to thank Edward Horowitz for his leadership of the FirstNet Board over the last two years. Under his leadership, the FirstNet Authority released its Roadmap and made the first key reinvestments into the network. I applaud Ed for his strong tenure as Board Chair, and I look forward to FirstNet’s future accomplishments under Tip’s leadership.”

The FirstNet Authority’s board is made up of representatives from industry and public safety as well as the federal government and the board oversees the FirstNet-AT&T public-private partnership to deploy a nationwide broadband network for the use of first responders.

“Tip’s extensive government and private sector experience make him an ideal candidate to serve as the next Chair of the FirstNet Board,” said Doug Kinkoph, acting deputy assistant Secretary of Commerce for communications and information, added that Osterthaler’s “extensive government and private sector experience make him an ideal candidate to serve as the next Chair of the FirstNet Board. NTIA will maintain our close collaboration with the Board and FirstNet Authority management as it continues to successfully deploy and upgrade the nationwide public safety broadband network.”

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