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Commerce Proposes IT Policy Restructuring

The U.S. Commerce Department wants to consolidate its IT functions into one agency in an effort to modernize the structure for Commerce's formulation of technology and telecommunications policy. The changes will require Congressional approval.

The proposal by Secretary of Commerce Don Evans seeks to combine the Technology Administration (TA), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the e-commerce policy functions of the International Trade Administration (ITA).

Evans said he is proposing to reorganize his agency's IT personnel and management to facilitate coordination in domestic and international policy development for "increasingly inter-related sectors of the economy." Commerce currently develops and implements technology and telecommunications policy in three bureaus: the TA, NTIA, and ITA.

"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."

Under the new organizational structure being proposed, Under Secretary for Technology Phil Bond would oversee the new agency that would focus on a range of issues including technical standards, spectrum management, and technology and e-commerce policy issues.

"The synergy between technology and telecommunications is a global reality," said Bond. "Bringing TA together with the NTIA and a portion of ITA will enhance the Administrations focus on issues critical to our innovation economy and Americas technological leadership."

Nancy J. Victory, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, added, "What matters most is performance and results, and we believe these organizational changes will help us accomplish our jobs and better serve the American people."