Introducing Bill and Merri Jo Gamble
Bill and Merri Jo Gamble

This particular EMC Personality Profile is different than any that have appeared in past issues. The difference is that this issue profiles Bill and Merri Jo Gamble, a married couple that both have been working in Spectrum Management for over 30 years. Between them they have served over 72 years in this field, mostly with the Federal Government. Sometimes their work results in them being on different sides of an issue; this must lead to some interesting discussions at the dinner table.
Merri Jo started her career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1971 and is now the Spectrum Manager for the Department of Justice (DOJ). She has over 30 years experience in spectrum management and has served in a variety of positions within the FBI, NTIA, and DOJ. In the area of domestic spectrum management, she is the DOJ representative on the IRAC and co-convener of the ad hoc group tasked with addressing the national level spectrum regulatory issues affecting federal, state, and local public safety interoperability. She has also served as the DOJ representative to the Spectrum Planning Subcommittee and various spectrum management ad hoc and working groups under the IRAC.
Currently, Merri Jo is responsible for spectrum planning for the DOJ, Homeland Security, and Treasury joint tactical land mobile radio system, the Integrated Wireless Network. Her international experience includes participation, as a subject matter expert, on land mobile radio communications that support law enforcement border issues, in bilateral spectrum negotiations with the Mexican and Canadian Governments. She participates in activities of the International Telecommunication Union and individual working parties tasked with addressing relevant studies in support of land mobile and fixed communication issues. She was recently a delegate and U.S. Spokesperson at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003. She has also served as a lecturer on land mobile radio communications system frequency planning at the U.S. Technical Training Institute.
Bill graduated from Bemus Point High School in New York and attended Dartmouth College where he graduated with an AB degree, with honors in Engineering Science. He stayed there for a fifth year to obtain a BSEE from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. While in the Air Force, Bill obtained an MSEE from the University of Southern California. Finally, while working in Washington, D.C., he earned an additional year’s credit in electrical engineering at The George Washington University.
Bill currently is President and the principal employee of Gamble Telecommunications, Inc., a small consulting firm in the area of domestic and international spectrum management and regulation. Much of his effort is committed to participation in numerous study groups and working parties of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), primarily in the area of satellite services, mobile services and space research services. Domestically, he assists commercial efforts in achieving coordination with the Federal Government users of the spectrum in order to accommodate new products within the U.S. In the ITU Working Party 4A, he obtained a Recommendation on the characteristics and interference potential of laser systems in the near-infrared region of the spectrum and is currently working to gain a consensus on any needed provisions for these systems within the Radio Regulations of the ITU-Radiocommunication Sector.
Also, he is currently serving as international chairman of ITU WG 1A-5, which is addressing the current and projected use of the bands above 3000 GHz and the bands between 275 and 3000 GHz in preparation for addressing these bands at an ITU World Radiocommunication Conference. In another effort, Bill is serving as the international chairman of the Characteristics Working Group of ITU-R Task Group 1/8 which is grappling with recommendations on how to accommodate Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. In addition, he is working on the regulatory status and provisions needed to support the growing use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Bill spent nearly five years directly after college in the U.S. Air Force as an officer at the Rocket Propulsion Laboratory on Edwards Air Force Base, California. While there, he worked as an instrumentation engineer on rocket engines with cryogenic and exotic fuels. He also monitored the electrical and electronic aspects of a military construction project for a new high thrust test facility.
Bill started in 1968 with the Office of Telecommunication Management (OT), and in 1997 retired from OT’s successor, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Office of Spectrum Management (OSM). His primary function at OSM was chairing the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), the longest standing committee of the Government.
In his first ten years in the spectrum management field, Bill served in various positions associated with the Spectrum Planning Subcommittee (SPS) and chaired several IRAC Ad Hoc Groups. For several years, he was chief of the Systems Review Branch, which assessed the major radio communication systems submitted to the SPS for spectrum supportability and made recommendations to that subcommittee.
After that, Bill chaired the SPS of the IRAC in the period 1978-1984. In this position, he led the SPS effort to review all major radio communication systems submitted by the Federal agencies and to make recommendations to the Deputy Associate Administrator of OSM. He started and chaired the Space Systems Group of SPS, which was the focus for the advance publication, coordination, and notification of Government space systems in the ITU forum and which also reviewed foreign and commercial space systems for impact on Government systems.
During the period 1984-1996, Bill chaired the IRAC while serving as the Deputy Associate Administrator of the NTIA Office of Spectrum Management. He was responsible for maintaining the Government Master File of Frequency Assignments (GMF), and for issuing the monthly CD-ROMs containing these assignments. He served as the Department Representative to the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Committee (NSTISSC), then chaired by the Assistant Secretary of Defense, C3I. He represented the civil sector spectrum management interests in the NATO Allied Radio Frequency Agency (ARFA) civil/military forum and also in the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) civil/military forum. He was responsible for issuing and maintaining the NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management and certified spectrum support for all new major radiocommunication systems under Chapter 10 of the NTIA Manual. When he was appointed to this position, he was selected as a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S.
In his last years in this position, Bill led the effort that identified 235 MHz of federal government spectrum to transfer to the private sector for commercial use. Bill was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for his accomplishments.
Bill has been a member of the IEEE since the early 1960s. In 1965-1966, he was Vice Chairman of the North Valley portion of the Antelope Valley Section, which focused on IEEE activities at Edwards Air Force Base. During the 1970s and 80s, he was active in the Washington Chapter of the EMC Society. He served in various offices and was Chairman of the Chapter for a year. He also served on the staff of several international IEEE EMC Symposia in the Washington, DC area. He now tries to keep up with the changing technologies through the IEEE Communications Society.
Bill and Merri Jo met at work while at NTIA and were married in 1982. On most issues they represented positions that were similar or at least complementary. But on some items the interests of their constituents were diametrically opposed, which made for some interesting evenings. But that is business and they are still married.

Bill and Merri Jo Gamble abroad their boat, the Merri Sea.

When they find time to get away from the rigors of spectrum management, they focus their main interest on their daughter Mary Catherine, a senior at Clemson University. They also enjoy relaxing on their Gibson houseboat, the “Merri Sea” which they keep at the Occoquan Marina, just off of the Potomac River. One of Merri Jo’s interests is her other “child” a West Highland white terrier, Winston. Bill spends some time in his workshop doing various projects, but mainly woodworking. Both are very active in the Springfield United Methodist Church, where they have served over the years as Lay Leader, Trustee, Chair of Church Council and Property Committee (Bill) and Trustee, Council on Ministries, Chair of Parsonage, Worship and President of United Methodist Women (Merri Jo). Bill has also been active in the Boy Scouts and various Masonic organizations. EMC

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