In 2012, the OMB announced that it was considering revising the circular, which was last updated in 1998, in light of notable changes that had occurred in the ensuing years in connection with voluntary consensus standards, conformity assessment activities, and government regulatory work. Circular A-119 and the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 instruct U.S. federal agencies to consider using voluntary consensus standards developed privately instead of government-unique standards whenever possible. ANSI was one of about 70 organizations and individuals to submit comments in connection with the 2012 request for feedback [see related story].
The proposed update to Circular A-119 touches on a number of different topics associated with standards and conformance, including many with the potential to have a significant impact on the U.S. standardization community. Subjects covered include government participation in standards development activities, the role of the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP), international conformity assessment schemes and regulatory cooperation, and the use of voluntary consensus standards in federal regulations, as well as incorporation by reference and intellectual property rights.
The OMB's Federal Register notice and a PDF copy of the proposed updated draft of Circular A-119 are both available online.
Given the importance of the proposed revision, ANSI has begun taking steps to develop a consensus response on behalf of the larger U.S. standards and conformity assessment community. In order to have sufficient time to develop this document, ANSI members are asked to review the revised draft of Circular A-119 and to submit input on the proposed changes to Elizabeth Neiman, ANSI senior director of communications, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 21, 2014.
ANSI also encourages individual organizations to submit their own comments in direct response to the notice. Please be aware that all direct responses must be submitted via the U.S. government's www.regulations.gov portal or faxed to 202-395-5167 no later than Monday, May 12, 2014. All direct comments received by the government in connection with this call for feedback will be posted publicly.