Yesterday, FCC issued a press release announcing the appointment of Carnegie-Mellon University Professor Jon M. Peha as Chief Technologist. This position was created in the late 1990s, but has been vacant for more than 5 years - a sign of possible indifference to technical policy issues on the "8th floor".
The release states
Dr. Peha will serve as a senior advisor on communications technology in the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis. FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin praised Dr. Peha for his expertise in the area of communications technology, saying, “Jon brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Commission and Iam pleased he has agreed to join us as Chief Technologist. am confident that Dr. Peha’s expertise will be beneficial to the Commission as it moves forward to address numerous complex, technical issues.”
Currently, Dr. Peha is a Professor in the Departments of Engineering and Public Policy, and Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Wireless and Broadband Networking at CMU. Prior to joining CMU’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Dr. Peha served as the Chief Technical Officer of three high-tech start-ups and as a member of the technical staff at SRI International, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Microsoft.
Dr. Peha’s research interests include technical and policy issues related to computer and telecommunications networks. He has written extensively on these subjects and is the co-author of Science Technology Advice for Congress. He has also authored several articles in the following publications: IEEE Personal Communications; Telecommunications Policy; the International Journal of Communication; and Wireless Technology.
Dr. Peha received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University and his undergraduate degree from Brown University. He is a Congressional Fellow of the IEEE and a Diplomacy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Why Chairman Martin waited until the 11th hour of his chairmanship to pick a top technical adviser is unclear as well as to whether Jon can establish a good relationship with the next chairman given these circumstances.
But this is a positive sign. Welcome to DC!