In a March 30 Federal Register notice, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated that issues in the standards and conformity assessment areas may have emerged or evolved since the Circular was last updated in 1998, and sought input on how additional or more specific guidance on standards and conformity assessment will assist agencies engaged in rulemaking, procurement, and other activities.
The notice also announced a free public workshop on OMB Circular A-119 to be held on Tuesday, May 15, at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This workshop will include presentations from key government officials, industry, and experts on standards and conformity assessment issues, and time will be allotted for participant input and discussions. Advance registration is required for this workshop; to register, click here.
In its role as the coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, ANSI developed a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community. The response was informed by comments solicited and received from a broad cross-section of ANSI's membership, which includes industry, standards developers, government agencies, and conformity assessment bodies. [see related news item]
The ANSI input document affirms that standards and conformity assessment activities are inextricably linked to all facets of our national economy and are vital to the continued global competitiveness of U.S. industry.
As one of the biggest users of standards, the U.S. government's participation in standards development activities is of the utmost importance. In keeping with the tenets of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), the standardization community highly values the expert input that government employees provide and the reliance that agencies demonstrate by adopting and relying on voluntary consensus standards and compliance programs. In order to assure continued success, the U.S. government should continue to promote the system and participate actively to identify and support the technical work that it perceives to be in the national interest.