U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Announces Appointment of Robert T. Osterthaler as Chair of FirstNet Authority Board

By First Responder Network Authority

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced(link is external) the appointment of Robert Tipton (Tip) Osterthaler to serve as Chair of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) Board.  He will succeed Edward D. Horowitz, who is completing his two-year term as Chair on August 19, 2020.  Horowitz plans to remain on the Board until his term expires in August 2021.

Osterthaler is a retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and private sector CEO who was appointed to the Board in 2018. He has served as the Chair of the Finance Committee and as a member of the Governance and Personnel Committee.

“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. “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 am truly honored to be appointed by Secretary Ross to serve as Chair of the FirstNet Authority Board,” said Tip Osterthaler. Now more than ever, FirstNet is critical to the safety and security of our nation as it empowers public safety to carry out their lifesaving mission. As Chair, I will ensure FirstNet Authority continues to deliver what public safety needs to stay safe and protect our communities. I thank Ed Horowitz for his service and leadership as the Chair during a critical time in the evolution of the organization and the network. I look forward to working with Ed, the Board, and the entire FirstNet Authority team as we drive FirstNet forward for America’s first responders.”

Horowitz was appointed to the Board in 2015.  He was reappointed in 2018 for another three-year term, including a two-year term as Chair.  During his time as Chair, Horowitz oversaw the continued progress and growth of the FirstNet Authority organization and management of the contract for the nationwide public safety broadband network.  Key developments during his chairmanship included the launch of the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, the first set of investments for enhancing the network, and the successful deployment of the FirstNet network.

“My time as Chair of the FirstNet Authority Board has been an honor and privilege,” said Edward Horowitz. “I am proud of our accomplishments over the last two years and our plans going forward to fully realize the promise of FirstNet. Tip is an ideal fit to lead this next phase of FirstNet given his service on the Board as the Finance Chair; he also brings an accomplished background in both the public and private sectors to the Board, having served more than 28 years in the U.S. Air Force and in chief executive roles in the communications sector.  I look forward to continuing to work alongside Tip and all of my colleagues during my remaining time on the Board.”

“I want to thank Edward Horowitz for his leadership of the FirstNet Board over the last two years,” said Secretary Ross. “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 Board is made up of 15 individuals with a cross-section of expertise who are committed to making the nationwide public safety broadband network a success.  The Secretary of Commerce appoints 12 members to the Board for public safety, technical, networking, and/or financial expertise.  The Board also includes the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget as permanent members.

About the First Responder Network Authority

The First Responder Network Authority is an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Created in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide broadband network that empowers first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Learn more at FirstNet.gov and follow the FirstNet Authority (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook(link is external) and Twitter(link is external) for updates.

News Media Contact

April Ward

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(571) 665-6187


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