The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released an interagency report, “Advanced Communications Technologies Standards,” to serve as a guide that pinpoints the standards priorities and activities across Federal agencies with interests in communications technologies. The Advanced Communications Technologies (ACT) Working Group (ACTWG) of the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP) developed the report, which also recognizes how the United States Standards Strategy helps drive innovation in a globally competitive economy.
ACTWG was chartered by ICSP to enable interagency coordination on communications technologies standards efforts. Eighteen federal agencies, departments, and offices participate in the interagency group. The interagency report provides an overview and identifies nine strategic standards priority areas for coordination across federal agencies and offices, including:
Additionally, the report provides examples of current standards-related activities, recognizing several ANSI members and standards developers and committees that support these areas. NIST emphasizes that participation by agencies in standards activities focuses on “open, consensus-based, voluntary, private sector-led, and science- and engineering-informed standards that enable: Innovation in products and services; interoperability across systems and devices; open and competitive national and global markets; and efficient and effective acquisition processes.”
In its announcement, NIST also recognized the United States Standards Strategy for its focus on voluntary consensus standards that promote innovation and provide a level playing field for all in a globally competitive economy.
Next Steps for Standards Priorities
With ICSP guidance and input on which of the priority areas are appropriate for further consideration, NIST notes that the ACTWG will seek community input on standards gaps and opportunities in the selected priority areas and consider recommendations for next steps for interagency coordination.
“While the private sector is best positioned to lead on standards, Federal agencies are both important adopters and technical contributors in standards development,” the report asserts. “To be effective in these roles, agencies must do two things. First, they must coordinate with one another, so they aren’t duplicating effort or working to cross purposes. Second, they must communicate clearly with private sector standards leaders in a unified voice. The ACTWG and its report are focused squarely on these two goals.”