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Federal Advisory Councils

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Derived From: The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Brochure

An Overview

Advisory committees have played an important role in shaping programs and policies of the federal government from the earliest days of the Republic. Since President George Washington sought the advice of such a committee during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the contributions made by these groups have been impressive and diverse.

Through enactment of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (Public Law 92-463), the U.S. Congress formally recognized the merits of seeking the advice and assistance of our nation's citizens. At the same time, the Congress also sought to assure that advisory committees:

  • Provide advice that is relevant, objective, and open to the public;
  • Act promptly to complete their work; and
  • Comply with reasonable cost controls and recordkeeping requirements.
  • Role of Federal Advisory Committees

    With the expertise from advisory committee members, federal officials and the nation have access to information and advice on a broad range of issues affecting federal policies and programs. The public, in return, is afforded an opportunity to participate actively in the federal government's decision-making process.

    Federal Agency Responsibility

    Each federal agency that sponsors advisory committees must adhere to the requirements established by the FACA, as well as those administrative guidelines provided by the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Committee Management Secretariat. GSA has had the responsibility for overseeing the FACA since 1977.

    Complying with FACA

    Any advisory group, with limited exceptions, that is established or utilized by a federal agency and that has at least one member who is not a federal employee, must comply with the FACA. To find out if a group comes under the FACA, any individual may contact the sponsoring agency's Committee Management Officer, or the GSA Committee Management Secretariat (see the last section "For More Information..." ).

    Requirements for Establishing and Managing Advisory Committees

    Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, advisory committees can be created only when they are essential to the performance of a duty or responsibility conveyed upon the executive branch by law. Before committees can be set up, high-level officials within the sponsoring agency must review and approve the request. Once a committee is approved, a charter is prepared outlining the committee's mission and specific duties and forwarded to GSA's Committee Management Secretariat for final review. Following a required public notification period, and the filing of the charter with Congress, the committee may begin operation.

    Committee Management Officer and Designated Federal Official

    The Federal Advisory Committee Act also provides that each agency sponsoring a federal advisory committee must appoint a Committee Management Officer to oversee the administration of the Act's requirements.

    In addition, a designated federal official must be assigned to each committee to:

  • Call, attend, and adjourn committee meetings;
  • Approve agendas;
  • Maintain required records on costs and membership;
  • Ensure efficient operations;
  • Maintain records for availability to the public; and
  • Provide copies of committee reports to the Committee Management Officer for forwarding to the Library of Congress.
  • Expiration of a Committee's Charter

    Unless the renewal of a committee charter is justified under the FACA, the charter automatically expires after a two-year period (or as otherwise provided by law).

    Advisory Committee Members

    Federal advisory committee members are drawn from nearly every occupational and industry group and geographical section of the United States and its territories. The FACA requires that committee memberships be "fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed."

    As a result, members of specific committees often have both the expertise and professional skills that parallel the program responsibilities of their sponsoring agencies. In balancing committee memberships, agencies are expected to assure that major-and sometimes strongly opposing-viewpoints are represented to provide a foundation for developing advice and recommendations that are fair and comprehensive.

    Appointing Committee Members

    Agency officials, members of Congress, the general public, or professional societies or current and former committee members may nominate potential candidates for membership.

    Selection of committee members is made based on the FACA's requirements and the potential member's background and qualifications. Final selection is made by the president or heads of agencies.

    Prior to accepting an appointment with a federal advisory committee, each prospective member should meet with the appropriate agency Committee Management Officer and Designated Agency Ethics Official, to discuss duties and obligations, allowable expenses, and compensation limitations.

    Federal Ethics and Conflict of Interest Laws

    Agency officials must provide prospective advisory committee members with information regarding any applicable standards of conduct-including those imposed by federal conflict of interest statutes. In some instances, members may be subject to special limitations during the course of their service on an advisory committee. For some members, these restrictions also may apply (for limited periods) after their committee assignments have ended.

    Some agencies may impose additional administrative requirements as well. To avoid potential conflicts, each advisory committee member should assure that he or she receives adequate information from the sponsoring agency and completes any required appointment papers and disclosure forms prior to service on a committee.

    Oral briefings and other explanatory material may be obtained through the sponsoring agency's Committee Management Officer, Designated Agency Ethics Official, or from the Office of Government Ethics, which has governmentwide jurisdiction on federal ethics issues.

    Limits on Membership Terms

    Each agency sets limits (unless provided by law) on the lengths of terms for serving on advisory committees to allow for continually new membership.

    Open Access to Committee Meetings and Operations

    Under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, federal agencies sponsoring advisory committees must:

  • Arrange meetings for reasonably accessible and convenient locations and times;
  • Publish adequate advance notice of meetings in the Federal Register ;
  • Open advisory committee meetings to the public (with some exceptions-see the section on "Government in the Sunshine Act" below);
  • Make available for public inspection, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, papers and records, including detailed minutes of each meeting; and
  • Maintain records of expenditures.
  • Government in the Sunshine Act

    Advisory committee meetings may be closed or partially closed to the public based upon provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-409). Examples of meetings that may be closed under the FACA are:

  • Those including discussions of classified information;
  • Reviews of proprietary data submitted in support of Federal grant applications; and
  • Deliberations involving considerations of personnel privacy.
  • Today, an average of 1,000 advisory committees with more than 40,000 members advise the President and the Executive Branch on such issues as the disposal of high-level nuclear waste, the depletion of atmospheric ozone, the national fight against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and on efforts to rid the Nation of illegal drugs or to improve schools, highways, and housing, and on other major programs.

    White House Councils

    FCC Councils

    Technical Advisory Council

    DA 09-796 April 8, 2009

    FCC Requests Nominations By May 8, 2009 For Membership On The Technological Advisory Council

    The Federal Communications Commission Technological Advisory Council (TAC) is in the process of being reestablished. The Commission is requesting nominations for membership on the TAC for its next 2 year cycle.

    In reestablishing the TAC, the Commission noted that rapid advances in technology have resulted in innovations in how telecommunications services are provided to, and are accessed by, users of those services. Many of these advances create challenges and opportunities for the growth of telecommunications and use of the radio spectrum . The Commission must remain abreast of new developments in technology so that it can effectively fulfill its responsibilities under the Communications Act .

    The purpose of the TAC is to provide technical advice to the Federal Communications Commission and to make recommendations on the issues and questions presented to it by the FCC. The TAC will address questions referred to it by the FCC Chairman, the FCC Chief Technologist, the Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, or the TAC Designated Federal Officer. The questions referred to the TAC will be directed to technological and technical issues in the field of communications. Among the potential topics that the TAC may consider are spectrum policy, broadband technology and deployment, communications technology that enhances and supports public safety, Internet security , and communications technology required to support emerging systems such as the smart grid and tele-health applications.

    The TAC will meet three to five times per year, with the possibility of more frequent meetings by informal subcommittees. Meetings of the Committee shall be open to the public. Timely notice of each meeting will be published in the Federal Register and will be further publicized through other appropriate vehicles.

    The Commission will provide facilities necessary to conduct meetings. Members of the Council will serve without any government compensation, and will not be entitled to travel expenses, per diem or subsistence allowances. The Council will consist of recognized technical experts in telecommunications and related fields.

    The Commission will accept nominations for the Council through May 8, 2009 . The Commission, at its discretion, may consider nominations received after this date, but consideration of late submissions is not guaranteed. Individuals may apply for, or nominate another individual for, membership on the Council. Each nomination or application must include:

    .  the name and title of the applicant or nominee and a description of the interest the applicant or nominee will represent;

    .  the applicant's or nominee's mail address, e-mail address, telephone number, and facsimile number (where available);

    .  reasons why the applicant or nominee should be appointed to the Council; and

    .  the basis for determining the applicant or nominee has achieved peer recognition as a technical expert.

    Nominations and applications should be sent to Jon M. Peha, Chief Technologist, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 7-C324, Washington, DC 20554 or e-mail jon.peha and please include "TAC nomination" in the subject line.

    - FCC -

  • Subgroups
  • Spectrum Management
  • Network Access
  • Accessibility for Disabled Persons
  • 4/8/09 FCC Requests Nomination by May 8, 2009 for Membership on the Technological Advisory Council. Public Notice: Word | Acrobat
  • Released: 07/19/2005. THE FCC'S TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL WILL HOLD A MEETING, THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2005. (DA No. 05-2039). OET. Contact: Jeffery Goldthorp at 1096, email: Jeffery.Goldthorp, FCC 7/19/2005
  • Technology Advisory Committee Notice of Meeting, FCC 7/8/2005
  • Technological Advisory Council Members and Meeting Dates Under its Renewed Charter., FCC 4/5/2005
  • TAC Notice of public meeting, Fed Reg 9/29/2004
  • Technological Advisory Council to Hold Meeting, Wednesday, October 27, 2004., FCC 10/15/2004
  • Technology Advisory Committee, FCC 7/13/2004
  • Technological Advisory Council ("TAC") To Hold Meeting on April 23, 2004., FCC 4/14/2004
  • FCC TAC Notice April 23, Fed Reg 4/6/2004
  • Technological Advisory Council ("TAC") to Hold Meeting Friday, January 23, 2004., FCC 1/8/2004
  • FCC TAC Meets Jan 23, Fed Reg 12/19/2003
  • Technological Advisory Council ("TAC") to Hold Meeting, Monday, July 7, 2003., FCC 6/19/03
  • Released: 08/23/2002. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO HOLD MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2002 AT 10 A.M. IN THE COMMISSION MEETING.. (DA No. 02-2083). OET. Contact: Jeffery Goldthorp at 1096 TTY 2989 FAX 1944, jgoldtho, FCC 9/4/02
  • Released: June 23, 2000. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO HOLD FIFTH MEETING. (DA No. 00-1351). Contact: Office of Engineering and Technology: Kent Nilsson at 0845, 2989
  • Mar 24. FCC's Technical Advisory Committee 4th meeting
  • Released: February 25, 2000. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO HOLD FOURTH MEETING.Contact: Kent Nilsson 2989. (DA No. 00-376).
  • FCC Announces Formation of the Technical Advisory Council.  First Meeting April 30, 1999, 10am Commission Meeting Room.  Public Notice | Technological Advisory Council Homepage |
  • Public Notice Released: February 25, 2000. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL TO HOLD FOURTH MEETING.Contact: Kent Nilsson 2989. (DA No. 00-376).
  • Technological Advisory Council ("TAC") to Hold Meeting, Wednesday, October 25, 2006., FCC 10/20/2006
  • DHS Councils





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