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Atlantic Council Article Encourages Prioritizing Standardization for U.S. Competitiveness

8/22/2022

A newly published Atlantic Council article co-authored by Mary Saunders, ANSI vice president, government relations and public policy, and Giulia Neaher, assistant director at the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center, examines how The Chips and Science Act, signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, takes a key step towards boosting U.S. standards infrastructure.

Beyond CHIPS: Prioritizing standardization is critical for U.S. competitiveness,” examines how Section 10245 of the CHIPS Act will help to bolster the United States’ position in the international standards-setting arena. The authors note: “The legislation highlights the importance of the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s leadership role in coordinating federal participation in standards related to critical technologies, and it will support NIST in partnering with the private sector to enhance U.S. standards leadership and capacity to participate effectively in the development of standards.”

Furthermore, the authors emphasize that the Act has important provisions in support of standardization. While these provisions will not have immediate effect on standards setting, they are important first steps. To that end, Saunders and Neaher note that there is still significant room for improvement in overall U.S. standards policy. To maintain the competitiveness of the U.S. technology sector, policymakers will need to continue to develop new standards policies that support innovation, build public-private relationships, and strengthen standards developing organizations.

According to the authors: “Improving federal coordination and engagement should be a top priority, along with expanded training and education programs to support effective participation in standards activities. Both of these activities should be undertaken in partnership with the private sector and should leverage both public- and private-sector resources. In addition, support for small business and other stakeholder participation in standards activities is valuable, recognizing that in some new technology areas, companies—both large and small—may be more focused on advancing the technology and protecting their innovative ideas than on standards work early in the technology life cycle.

The Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan think tank founded in 1961, promotes technology and innovation through its Geotech Center. In June 2022, Ms. Saunders was named a fellow of the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center.

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