Root Server System Advisory Committee

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The Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) advises the ICANN Community and Board on issues pertaining to the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet's Root Server System.[1] RSSAC was also tasked to review the number, location, and distribution of the root name server and its total system performance, robustness, and reliability .It was created under the Article VII Section 3 (b) of the ICANN Bylaws, which gave the ICANN Board the mandate to appoint the initial Chairman of the Committee, after which the following chairman was to be elected by the members of the committee. Jun Murai was appointed as the first chairman of the RSSAC.[2]


RSSAC has the following responsibilities, per the ICANN Bylaws:

  1. Communicate on matters relating to the operation of the Root Servers and their multiple instances with the Internet technical community and the ICANN community. The RSSAC shall gather and articulate requirements to offer to those engaged in technical revision of the protocols and best common practices related to the operation of DNS servers.
  2. Communicate on matters relating to the administration of the Root Zone with those who have direct responsibility for that administration. These matters include the processes and procedures for the production of the Root Zone File.
  3. Engage in ongoing threat assessment and risk analysis of the Root Server System and recommend any necessary audit activity to assess the current status of root servers and the root zone.
  4. Respond to requests for information or opinions from the Board.
  5. Report periodically to the Board on its activities.
  6. Make policy recommendations to the ICANN community and Board.

RSSAC Policy Advice Development

The RSSAC follows six basic steps to develop the advice it provides the ICANN Board and community on the operation, administration, security, and integrity of the Internet’s Root Server System.[3]

  1. An RSSAC or RSSAC Caucus member proposes a work item, which can include requests from the ICANN Board, and then submits a statement of work for the RSSAC to consider.
  2. The RSSAC reviews the statement of work, and if it is approved, a work party of either RSSAC or RSSAC Caucus members is formed.
  3. The work party writes a draft document, which its leader circulates for review and comment among RSSAC members and then RSSAC Caucus members.
  4. The work party submits the document to the RSSAC for a vote.
  5. The RSSAC shares the document with those it might affect and submits it for Public Comment proceedings.
  6. The RSSAC publishes the approved document and tracks its effects.



The RSSAC consists of voting representatives from each of the 12 organizations responsible for operating the 13 root name servers and alternates to each of these. It also includes non-voting liaisons from a number of functions related to services pertaining to the root zone. The RSSAC Caucus provides a pool of expertise, to which the representatives of the 13 root name servers can turn to form work parties and draft advice documents.

The current composition is available at RSSAC's official web page.

Voting Members

Root Server Operator Representative Term Expires Alternate
Verisign Brad Verd 31 December 2024 N/A
University of Southern California – Information Sciences Institute Wes Hardaker 31 December 2023 Suzanne Woolf
Cogent Paul Vixie 31 December 2023 Brad Belanger
University of Maryland – ACIGS Karl Reuss 31 December 2022 Gerry Sneeringer
NASA Ames Research Center Barbara Schleckser 31 December 2022 Tom Miglin
Internet Systems Consortium Jeff Osborn (Chair) 31 December 2024 Robert Carolina
Defense Information Systems Agency John Augenstein 31 December 2022 Jill Place
U.S. Army Research Lab Howard Kash 31 December 2022 Kenneth Renard (Vice Chair)
Netnod Lars-Johan Liman 31 December 2024 Patrik Fältström
RIPE NCC Hans Petter Holen 31 December 2023 Paul de Weerd
ICANN Matt Larson 31 December 2024 Terry Manderson
WIDE Project Jun Murai 31 December 2023 Hiro Hotta

Liaisons to RSSAC

There are four liaisons to the RSSAC from other organizations within the Internet community:

Organization Liaison
IANA James Mitchell
Root Zone Maintainer (Verisign) Duane Wessels
Internet Architecture Board (IAB) Daniel Migault
SSAC Russ Mundy

Liaisons from RSSAC to Other Organizations

RSSAC appoints liaisons to other groups and organizations to coordinate or communicate matters of common interest, as required by the RSSAC Operational Procedures

Liaison To Name Affiliation
ICANN Board of Directors Wes Hardaker University of Southern California – Information Sciences Institute
Customer Standing Committee Kenneth Renard U.S. Army Research Lab
Root Zone Evolution Review Committee Daniel Migault IAB liaison to RSSAC
ICANN Nominating Committee Amir Qayyum ICANN community

Other Appointments

Team/Committee RSSAC Rep
Work Stream 2 – Community Coordination Group Robert Carolina
ICANN Fellowship Program Selection Committee Gaurav Kansal
ICANN Fellowship Program Mentoring Committee Afifa Abbas
IANA Naming Function Review Team (IFRT) Suzanne Woolf
NextGen@ICANN Selection Committee Abdulkarim Oloyede
NextGen@ICANN Mentoring Committee Dessalegn Yehuala

Previous Leaders

RSSAC Rep Dates
Jun Murai, Chair January 1999 - December 2014
Matt Larson, Vice Chair August 2006 - July 2013
Lars-Johan Liman, Co-Chair July 2013 - December 2015
Tripti Sinha, Co-Chair January 2015 - October 2018
Brad Verd, Co-Chair January 2016 - October 2019
Fred Baker, Co-Chair October 2018 - October 2019

RSSAC Projects

Since its inception, the committee continuously performs projects under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)[4] between ICANN, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to conduct a collaborative study to address the operational and technical requirements of the root name servers to be able to establish a more robust and secure management of the Internet DNS root server system.[5]

The RSSAC was also involved in the Y2K Project between 1999 to 2000. Its objective was to make sure that the operations of the root nameserver system are in compliance with the Y2K protocol by conducting administrative services and testing.[6]

The committee is also conducting new technical developments on IPv6, DNSSEC, IDN, and their effects on the root nameserver system.

Organizational Reviews

Article 4.4 of the ICANN Bylaws mandates that organizational reviews should be conducted on a periodic basis to establish that a particular SO or AC is still needed and is operating as effectively as possible.[7] Organizational reviews are conducted by an independent examiner retained by ICANN.[8]

RSSAC has been reviewed twice, in 2008 and 2017.