The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a proposed updated version of OMB Circular A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities," for public inspection and comment. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) strongly encourages representatives of standards developing organizations (SDOs), industry, academia, government agencies, and other relevant stakeholders to review the proposed draft, which is expected to have a significant impact on future U.S. government use of privately developed voluntary consensus standards.
The proposed changes focus on numerous topics of critical importance to ANSI’s constituency and the greater standardization community. These include the use of voluntary consensus standards in federal regulations, incorporation by reference and intellectual property rights, government participation in standards development activities, international conformity assessment schemes and regulatory cooperation, and the role of the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP) as well as of agencies’ standards executives, among many other issues.
The current version of Circular A-119, which was last revised by the OMB in 1998, and the associated National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 jointly serve to direct U.S. federal agencies to consider the use of private-sector-developed standards in lieu of government-unique standards whenever possible. In 2012, the OMB announced that it was considering revising the circular in connection with significant changes that had taken place in connection with standards, conformity assessment, and government regulation in the years since its last revision. A total of about 70 stakeholders submitted comments to OMB in connection with the proposed revision, including ANSI, standards developing organizations, conformity assessment bodies, private citizens, and others [see related story].
The proposed updated draft of Circular A-119 is currently available online in PDF format. A Federal Register notice containing full details about the comment period is expected to be posted here on February 11.