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DOJ To Reorganize Antitrust Division

7 Jan, 2002 By: Hive News

As the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division busies itself investigating movie studio video-on-demand efforts, the agency will restructure the division to put greater emphasis on new technology issues.

"The modernization is good government," said Assistant Attorney General Charles A. James. "It positions the Antitrust Division to address the challenges of the New Economy in the 21st Century while strengthening enforcement capability in traditional industries."

The Computers and Finance Section will be strengthened and renamed the Networks and Technology Enforcement Section in response "to the emergence and future importance of these areas of the economy by improving the Division's ability to focus on increasingly sophisticated high technology, networking and intellectual property issues."

The Telecommunications Task Force will become a permanent section entitled Telecommunications and Media Enforcement Section to more accurately reflect that in this era of technology convergence this section's work extends beyond telecommunications and to reflect the permanent need for a section that concentrates on these industries.

Each of the Division's five Deputy Assistant Attorneys General has oversight of a specific major program area, which include Civil Enforcement, Regulatory Matters, Criminal Enforcement, Economic Analysis and International Enforcement.

The modernization plan is designed to concentrate investigatory and enforcement expertise and resources for commodities within a particular section and to consolidate enforcement efforts across sections. The effort also assigns to each section enforcement responsibility for both civil merger and non-merger matters to reflect the actual practice of most sections, which although nominally assigned responsibility for either civil merger or non-merger investigations, have for some time handled both types of matters.

The modernization effort also recognizes the emergence and future importance of certain areas of the economy--including information technology, telecommunications and industries characterized by network competition--and the need for concentrated, focused expertise in these industries, James said. The plan is expected to improve the Division's ability to effectively marshal and deploy resource and expertise in investigating and enforcing antitrust laws.

"The modernization effort affords us the opportunity to clarify areas of responsibility, sharpen lines of reporting, increase accountability and ultimately improve efficiency and productivity in carrying out the Division's mission," said James.

The Division expects that the reorganization will be fully implemented in February.

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