Radio Frequency Management

The OCIO Radio Frequency Management Division (RFMD) ensures the availability and usability of Radio Frequency spectrum to radio users in the Department of Commerce (DOC). The Department Administrative Order 201-39 establishes policies and responsibilities. These include: 

  • obtaining authorization for all DOC agencies to use new and existing radio systems, and ensuring that such systems meet relevant federal standards

  • coordination of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite systems with domestic and foreign space networks to ensure compatible operation

  • prevention and resolution of interference involving DOC and other systems through coordination with other agencies and the private sector

  • participation in DOC Continuity Of Operations (COOP) plans to ensure survivability of frequency management within DOC

  • negotiation with other government agencies, the private sector, and foreign and international entities on behalf of Commerce and/or the U.S.A. to ensure the future availability of spectrum and the absence of interference

  • coordination of all spectrum sharing activities 

The RFMD represents the DOC and its agencies in several fora.  These include the National Telecommunication Information Administration’s (NTIA) Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) and its subcommittees, meetings of international organizations dealing with frequency matters, such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), OAS Commission for Inter-American Telecommunications (CITEL), Space Frequency Coordination Group (SFCG) and a Steering Group on Radio Frequency Coordination of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

Within the DOC, the largest user of radio is NOAA. Several radio frequency bands are allocated for use by various platforms supporting NOAA’s mission goals, including meteorological satellites, in situ fixed and mobile platforms (e.g., buoys, weather stations, ships, aircraft), radiosondes, and other data collection platforms. 

As the designated office to ensure that all spectrum activities are in compliance with federal and international regulations, any use of radio frequency spectrum within DOC and NOAA must be coordinated through RFMD.  




Frequency Assignments

Each NOAA bureau and each DOC component organization has a designated liaison through which operational units within DOC request frequency assignments.  These liaisons work through RFMD for completion and submission of the requests to NTIA. 

Frequency Reviews

Commerce, like all other member agencies, manages its existing frequency assignments in the Government Master File (GMF). RFMD works with the appropriate liaison to review existing assignments every five (or ten for satellites) years for accuracy and retention. RFMD has ongoing procedures to work with each liaison to review and update each assignment as appropriate.

Spectrum Sharing

The Spectrum Sharing Program Management Office within RFMD acts as the focal point for all spectrum sharing activities within NOAA and facilitates communication with stakeholders, internal and external to NOAA.  

Contact Us

If you need to reach us, please email

News and Updates

The National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) has a browsable list of releases, reports, etc. on its Spectrum Management site.