Through federal funding of initiatives that support key national priorities, the Act seeks to strengthen the foundation of the U.S. economy, create new jobs, and increase U.S. competitiveness abroad. H.R. 5116, which updates the America COMPETES Act of 2007, commits $45 billion to science, technology, and education programs over the next three years.
Included in the Act are several important provisions impacting the funding and leadership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). COMPETES seeks to double NIST's budget for core science and technology programs within ten years, and creates the position of under secretary of commerce for standards and technology.
COMPETES also calls for NIST to expand upon its work with the private sector to develop standards in support of key industries such as cloud computing, emergency communications, green manufacturing, and high performance green building construction.
As part of its mission to improve the effectiveness of federal involvement in standards activities, NIST—on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards (SOS)—is seeking public comment on federal engagement in private sector-led standardization activities through March 7, 2011.
In particular, the SOS seeks to consider federal engagement in standards activities supporting the following national priorities: 1) smart grid; 2) health information technology; 3) cyber security; 4) emergency communications interoperability; 5) radioactivity detectors and radiation monitors; and 6) other technologies involving significant federal participation in standards setting.
Issues impacting U.S. competitiveness, such as the interplay of standards with intellectual property, competition, and innovation, are also significant considerations.