The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has named Joseph Wassel executive director, which the organization regards as the equivalent of its chief executive officer.

FirstNet operates as an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and provides wireless network services to first responders.

Wassel comes to the new position with deep experience at the Defense Department (DoD) in technology and cybersecurity. Since 2019, he has been Cyberspace Operations Executive at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Before that, he was Director-C4 Resilience and Mission Assurance, and Director-DoD Public Safety Communications from 2012 to 2019. And from 2008 to 2012, Wassel was deputy director of the Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Task Force.  

His resume also includes a stint as Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he was the principal liaison and single focal point to all agencies providing global communications support.

“After conducting a thorough search, the FirstNet Authority Board is pleased to welcome Joe Wassel as our new Executive Director,” commented Stephen Benjamin, FirstNet’s board chair. “The FirstNet Authority has built a strong foundation for the nationwide public safety broadband network. Now, as we embark on a new phase in FirstNet’s growth, Joe’s leadership and passion for innovation will help us build upon that foundation and prioritize the emerging needs of our nation’s first responders.”

“I look forward to working closely with public safety stakeholders at all levels of government to ensure FirstNet evolves and provides the tools they need for their lifesaving mission,” Wassel said.

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