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Diane Rinaldo. Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

The head of the Commerce Department's tech and telecom branch is leaving the agency, according to an internal email obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Diane Rinaldo, who is acting administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, emailed staff a "fond farewell" on Monday.

  • "As my time at NTIA comes to an end, I want to thank you for your dedication to our organization and its mission," Rinaldo wrote in the email. "My main goal in this position was to be a champion and bullhorn for all of the good work you do, and I will always be an NTIA supporter."
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement applauded Rinaldo's work on "5G, supply chain security, broadband and public safety communications," adding, "I have been proud of her leadership and wish her the best in her future endeavors."

Why it matters: NTIA is in charge of managing the federal government's use of spectrum at a time when the wireless industry is hungry for more airwaves for 5G services.

  • Typically, federal agencies work through NTIA to weigh in on FCC plans involving federal airwaves.
  • That process has become more fraught recently as NTIA and other departments clash with the FCC over spectrum plans. Rinaldo took over after David Redl left the agency in May amid 5G spectrum feuds.

What's next: Doug Kinkoph, Commerce Department acting deputy assistant secretary, will fill in for Rinaldo as acting administrator.

  • Multiple sources have said they expect the White House to tap Ed Hearst, a Treasury Department official, to take over the agency on a permanent basis.
  • But the timeline is short for nomination and Senate confirmation ahead of the election next year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

Go deeper

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.