FCC Chairman Wheeler names senior staff


Tom WheelerFCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the appointment of Tim Brennan as Chief Economist for the agency, and Clete Johnson as Chief Counsel for Cybersecurity in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

“I am very pleased that Tim Brennan has agreed to join the Commission as our Chief Economist.  His long and distinguished consideration of regulation, competition, and monopoly issues will enable him to contribute immediately and materially to our work,” Wheeler said.  “Clete Johnson’s policy expertise and skills working with stakeholders in the public and private sectors will be a tremendous asset as the Commission continues its efforts to promote network reliability and address future security threats through multistakeholder processes.  They both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Commission.”

Dr. Brennan, an expert on communications and media issues, is currently a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future (RFF).  Prof. Brennan’s research has addressed topics in antitrust, regulatory economics, copyright, electricity markets, telecommunications and media policy, environmental economics, and methods and ethics in public policy.  His current research is focusing on energy efficiency policies, the role of behavioral economics in cost-benefit analysis, and standards for legality of exclusionary practices in antitrust law.  He co-authored two books on electricity deregulation, A Shock to the System (1996) and Alternating Currents: Electricity Markets and Public Policy (2002). He is a co-editor of Economic Inquiry and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Regulatory Economics, Information Economics and Policy, Communications Law and Policy, and the International Review of the Economics of Business.

Before joining the UMBC faculty in 1990, Tim was an economist with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and taught in the telecommunications policy program at George Washington University.  From 1996-97, he was a senior economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and in 2003-05 served as a staff consultant to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.  During 2006, he held the T. D. MacDonald Chair in Industrial Economics at the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Johnson will join the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, where he will report directly to the Bureau Chief, Rear Admiral (Ret.) David Simpson, and help implement the Commission’s cybersecurity mission.  This includes working with stakeholders to identify and address communications sector vulnerabilities, and increasing the security and resiliency of critical infrastructure within the communications sector by facilitating the development and implementation of cybersecurity best practices.

Johnson joins the FCC from the Senate Intelligence Committee where he worked on a number of initiatives within the Committee’s cybersecurity portfolio and served as the Committee’s lead staffer on financial intelligence issues.  As the Committee’s designated counsel for former Intelligence Committee Chairman and present Commerce Committee Chairman Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Johnson was the staff lead for Senator Rockefeller’s cybersecurity legislation and related stakeholder outreach.  He served previously as Senator Rockefeller’s counsel for defense, foreign policy, and international trade.

Before coming to the Senate, Johnson practiced law at Patton Boggs LLP, focusing on export controls and defense procurement, as well as other aspects of international trade and security.  He is a former Army officer, serving first as a platoon leader and maintenance shop officer in South Korea, and later as a General’s aide in Germany.  His time in Germany included service in NATO’s Operation Allied Force in Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo.