Navigating the Internet requires using addresses and corresponding names that identify the location of individual computers. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the distributed set of databases residing in computers around the world that contain address numbers mapped to corresponding domain names, making it possible to send and receive messages and to access information from computers anywhere on the Internet. Many of the technical, operational, and management decisions regarding the DNS can have significant impacts on Internet-related policy issues such as intellectual property, privacy, Internet freedom, e-commerce, and cybersecurity. The DNS is managed and operated by a not-for-profit public benefit corporation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Because the Internet evolved from a network infrastructure created by the Department of Defense, the U.S. government originally owned and operated (primarily through private contractors) the key components of network architecture that enable the domain name system to function. A 1998 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ICANN and the Department of Commerce (DOC) initiated a process intended to transition technical DNS coordination and management functions to a privatesector not-for-profit entity. Additionally, a contract between DOC and ICANN authorizes ICANN to perform various technical functions such as allocating IP address blocks, editing the root zone file, and coordinating the assignment of unique protocol numbers. By virtue of this contract and two other legal agreements, DOC exerts a legacy authority and stewardship over ICANN, and arguably has more influence over ICANN and the DNS than other national governments. On March 14, 2014, the DOC's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intention to transition its stewardship role and procedural authority over key domain name functions to the global Internet multistakeholder community. If a satisfactory transition and Internet governance mechanism can be achieved, NTIA will let its contract with ICANN expire on September 30, 2015. NTIA has stated that it will not accept any transition proposal that would replace the NTIA role with a government-led or an intergovernmental organization solution.