ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Standards-related Provisions Prominent in Intelligence Reform Bill


New York, Dec 08, 2004

The United States Senate today approved the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act (S 2845), commonly referred to as the Intelligence Reform bill. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 7, and may be signed by President George W. Bush early next week. The landmark legislation will restructure the nation's intelligence community, creating a director of national intelligence and a counterterrorism center, and contains a number of provisions with implications for the standards community and standards developers.

The legislation contains an explicit reference to ANSI/NFPA 1600, the Standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity. Section 7305 states that the “Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security should promote, where appropriate, voluntary national preparedness standards, such as the private sector preparedness standard developed by the American National Standards Institute and based on the National Fire Protection Association 1600 Standard for Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity.” ANSI/NFPA 1600 was endorsed by the 9/11 Commission and included among the recommendations in its final report to the President and Congress earlier this year.

Among the counterterrorism elements of the bill, Sec. 7208 requires the director of the Department of Homeland Security to implement and report on a program to accelerate the deployment and use of a biometric entry-exit system for U.S. airports and ports. DHS would also be directed to accelerate the use of biometric screening for airport security. In 2004 the department announced the adoption of its first biometric facial recognition standard – ANSI INCITS 385-2004, American National Standard for Information Technology - Face Recognition Format for Data Interchange, which is used in the US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) program. Such standards will continue to be vital as reliance on biometric technologies expands.

Language in the bill also implies a need to reform the federal grants program that assists state and local governments in assuring that first responders are properly equipped and trained. Provisions relating to improving interoperable public safety communications are included, among them specific instructions for DHS to work with private sector organizations to identify and/or accelerate the development of standards in this area.

The bill also contains language regarding potential international agreements on translation standards to address database scanning of Arabic names.

The full text of the bill will be made available at http://thomas.loc.gov.

AN INTRODUCTION TO STANDARDS: WHY, WHERE AND HOW ARE THEY DEVELOPED?