Michael Gallagher, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the top Bush administration official on telecom issues, announced last month that he would resign early in 2006, according to media reports.

Gallagher has led the NTIA — an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce — for two years and played a key role in negotiations with the Pentagon to free military spectrum for commercial wireless carriers. Earlier this year, multiple sources indicated he was considered as a candidate to succeed Michael Powell as FCC chairman, but Bush opted for Kevin Martin.

Under pending digital-television legislation, NTIA would oversee the distribution of $1 billion in state and local interoperability grants for public-safety communications.