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Electromagnetic Spectrum Management  (ESM)

Name Email Phone Room
Thomas  L. Wilson (703) 292-4909  1045 S  
Joseph  E. Pesce (703) 292-7373  1080 N  

For Spectrum Certification of Major Systems and Frequency Assignments please contact Thomas Wilson at (703) 292-4909 or



The objective of Electromagnetic Spectrum Management (ESM) is to ensure the access of the scientific community to portions of the radio spectrum that are needed for research purposes. ESM does this by representing the interests of the NSF and the scientific community in the field of telecommunications management and regulation, by:

  • Participating in the establishment of radio regulations, operating procedures and technical standards related to private sector uses of the radio spectrum, by providing input into Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceedings, directly or through NTIA; and

Other ESM activities consist of:

  • Maintaining liaison with the Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the US National Committee of the International Radio Science Union (USNC-URSI) and the Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies (CRAF) of the European Science Foundation (ESF);
  • Assisting with national and international registration of radio telescopes. In the U.S, use of the spectrum by radio telescopes may be registered with the NTIA and entered in the Government Master File (GMF). Internationally, radio telescopes may be registered with the ITU. For details, see: Registration of radio telescopes
  • Obtaining spectrum support for NSF radio communications systems and radio research instruments, such as, e.g. weather radars, when required. For spectrum certification and frequency assignments, please contact the Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Unit at the NSF by e-mail at; and
  • Working with the appropriate Study Groups (SGs), Working Parties(WPs) and Task Groups(TGs) of the Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), such as SG 7 (Science Services) and WP 7D (Radio astronomy); chairing the corresponding U.S. group (US WP7D) within the International Telecommunication Advisory Committee - Radio (ITAC-R), chartered by the Department of State; and serving on U.S. delegations to appropriate ITU-R meetings to ensure that technical and regulatory requirements of the radio astronomy community are adequately represented.  US WP 7D activities and documentation may be accessed through the US SG7 website.

NSF Long Range Spectrum Plan



U.S. Govt Preparations for World Radiocommunications Conferences


Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management


Rules Governing non-Federal Radio Spectrum Users

International Telecommunication Union

Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R)

ITU-R Study Group 7

ITU-R Working Party 7D

ITU-R Meetings

US Study Group 7

Committee on Radio Frequencies of the National Academy of Sciences (CORF)

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century


National Radio Quiet Zone

Scientific Committee on Frequency Allocations for Radio Astronomy and Space Science (IUCAF)

Committee on Radio Astronomy Frequencies of the European Science Foundation (CRAF)

Radio Astronomy Frequency Committee in the Asia-Pacific Region (RAFCAP)

National Spectrum Managers Association

Spectrum Wiki