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FirstNet Authority Taps Joe Wassel as Executive Director

Wassel takes over as head of FirstNet after a 34-year career with the Department of Defense, where he founded the Global Public Safety Communications Working Group.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) announced today that it has named Joseph M. Wassel as its new executive director/CEO.

Wassel spent 34 years with the Department of Defense (DoD), where he founded and chaired the Global Public Safety Communications Working Group, responsible for ensuring that DoD’s more than 150,000 first responders had access to reliable, next-generation communications, including FirstNet. He collaborated with DoD partners including the National Guard and U.S. Northern Command to deploy FirstNet, 911 services and Defense Support of Civil Authorities communications.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the FirstNet Authority,” Wassel said in a statement. “The organization has a proven approach and a talented board and management team that enables it to deliver an innovative network for America’s first responders.”

“Joe is the right leader for the next phase of FirstNet,” said Chief Richard Carrizzo, vice chair of the FirstNet Authority Board, in a statement. “He has the experience and forward-thinking vision to lead the organization, bring people together, and deliver the best, most reliable network for public safety.”

Wassel was most recently executive of the Cyberspace Operations Directorate in the Defense Information Systems Agency. He also served four secretaries of defense as the assistant for communications and as deputy chief information officer.

Prior to his work at the Department of Defense, Wassel commanded troops during several tours in the United States and abroad as a U.S. Air Force officer.

Wassel takes over from Lisa Casias, who had been acting CEO since replacing Ed Parkinson in May 2022.