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U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Two Appointments to First Responder Network Authority Board

October 17, 2019
News Media Contact
Commerce Department

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the appointment of two leaders in public safety and law enforcement to serve on the Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority).

The new members bring the FirstNet Board to a full complement, with 12 non-permanent members selected by the Department of Commerce and three permanent seats filled by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The Board oversees the activities of the FirstNet Authority to ensure the building, deployment and operation of FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network.

“These new Board members will ensure FirstNet continues to deliver for America’s emergency responders,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “I thank our new members for bringing their leadership to the Board and guiding FirstNet in its mission to save lives and keep our communities safe.”

Secretary Ross appointed two members to the FirstNet Authority Board:

  • Karima Holmes, Director, Office of Unified Communications, Washington, D.C., supervises all of the District’s emergency 911 and basic city service 311 call activities. She led efforts to prepare the District’s dispatch centers to accept Next-Generation 911.
  • Matt Slinkard, Executive Assistant Chief of Police, Houston, Texas, serves as an executive command officer with the Houston Police Department where he manages the investigative and special operations functions that include 22 divisions and five commands.

“As FirstNet expands its public safety network throughout the country and supports our first responders, I’m confident in the FirstNet Authority Board’s membership and leadership under Ed Horowitz,” said Diane Rinaldo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator. “I also want to thank our outgoing members Teri Takai and Richard Ross for their service to FirstNet and the public safety community.”

“I am pleased to welcome our newest members to the FirstNet Authority Board,” said Chair Edward Horowitz. “They are experts in their fields and bring additional substantive technical and public safety experience to the Board as we continue to drive the FirstNet Roadmap forward based on public safety’s priorities.  I want to personally thank Secretary Ross for his continued support of FirstNet with these new appointments.” 

The FirstNet Authority recently released the Roadmap to guide the future evolution of the nationwide public safety broadband network.


The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) is an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The FirstNet Authority’s mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of FirstNet, the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. In March 2017, the Department of Commerce and the FirstNet Authority announced a partnership with AT&T to build and operate the FirstNet network. FirstNet will modernize public safety communications and deliver the technologies and infrastructure that responders need for day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and securing of large events.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 created the FirstNet Authority, and Congress directed that the organization be governed by a 15-person Board, with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget named as permanent Board members. Congress charged the Secretary of Commerce with selecting the remaining 12 members.

To view the full bios of the FirstNet Authority Board, visit: To learn more about the FirstNet network and the FirstNet Authority’s public safety programs, visit