Established by Ronald Reagan in 1982 to advise the president on national security issues related to telecommunications, the NSTAC includes a panel of thirty appointees that meet at least once a year to present their ideas to the government, in the form of proposals from task force groups.
The NSTAC appointees are seen by Washington to hold positions that give them a clear insight into what makes U.S. telecommunications tick -- and what might be its vulnerabilities to terrorist threats.
Other new NSTAC appointees, picked this month, include (in alphabetical order):
- James F. Albaugh, President and CEO of Space and Communications for Boeing Company;
- Frank Ianna, President of Network Services at AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T);
- Richard C. Notebaert, CEO and Chairman of Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q);
- Hector de J. Ruiz, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD);
- Stratton Sclavos, CEO of VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN);
- Susan Spradley, President of Wireline Networks at Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT); and
- John Stanton, CEO and Chairman of Western Wireless Corp. (Nasdaq: WWCA) and Chairman of T-Mobile USA.
There's apparently an application process for would-be appointees, but one's company must be viewed as relevant to NSTAC. At least one source says candidates may be invited to apply. As of press time, an NSTAC spokesman had not returned calls to give more detail.
The mix of NSTAC appointees may change over time, insiders say, depending on what Washington thinks is key to the security of national telecom. In the 1980s, for instance, phone companies prevailed. Now, technology suppliers, integrators, satellite and wireless vendors, and industry groups are included. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC), Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are currently represented. Potential appointees are still being sifted for Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), MCI (Nasdaq: MCIT), and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), according to the NSTAC Website.
The NSTAC chair is Vance Coffman, CEO and chairman of Lockheed Martin Corp., and the vice chair is F. Duane Ackerman, CEO and chairman of BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS).
Once appointed, members do what any self-respecting chief exec would do -- hire a designated delegate to do the footwork, via membership on NSTAC's Industry Executive Subcommittee (IES). In Notebaert's case, for instance, James F.X. Payne, senior VP and general manager of Qwest's government services division, is an IES member. Patricia Russo's designated IES member is Jim Orefice, senior VP of government solutions.
IES members meet more often than the NSTAC appointees; once a month, they get together to work on task forces that vary according to the yearly mandate of priorities handed them by NSTAC. Last year's priorities included a Vulnerabilities Task Force, a Wireless Task Force, and an Internet Security/Architecture Task Force. It's not clear yet what task forces will be picked this year.
In the end, a white paper or other form of analysis is produced by the designates and blessed by the appointees -- who may or may not get to meet the president. We'll be following up.
— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading