Telecommunications:

NTIA's Contract With FEDSMR Regarding the U.S. Navy's Land Mobile Radio Service in Norfolk, Virginia

RCED-98-116R: Published: Apr 13, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) fulfilled its responsibilities to promote the Navy's use of NTIA's contract with FEDSMR, Inc., and its statutory requirement to promote the efficient and cost-effective use of the spectrum to the maximum extent feasible.

GAO noted that: (1) NTIA fulfilled its contractual responsibilities to promote the use of the FEDSMR system and its statutory responsibilities to promote the efficient and cost-effective use of the spectrum to the maximum extent feasible; (2) officials of NTIA initiated meetings between the company and the Navy and discussed the agency's findings in an attempt to allay the Navy's concerns about FEDSMR's proposal; (3) NTIA concluded that the FEDSMR system could meet the Navy's requirements and that FEDSMR's proposal was more appropriate than the Navy's system from a federal governmentwide view of spectrum efficiency; (4) however, the contract with FEDSMR specifies that NTIA must promote, but cannot require, federal agencies to use the FEDSMR system; (5) under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act, NTIA is to promote the efficient and cost-effective use of the spectrum to the maximum extent feasible; (6) Navy officials stated that NTIA aggressively promoted the Navy's use of the company's system but that the Navy ultimately decided not to use FEDSMR's services because the Navy determined that full control of its radio communications was the best way to achieve its mission; and (7) on this basis, NTIA approved the Navy's request for spectrum to operate its own systems in the Norfolk area.

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