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NSS Revision Paints Factual Landscape of U.S. Standardization and Business


New York, Nov 19, 2004

The National Standards Strategy Committee (NSSC) and its subgroups have kept up an aggressive pace towards the revision of the National Standards Strategy for the United States.

Four meetings of the NSSC itself, along with numerous meetings and teleconferences of the subgroups, have been held since the NSSC was convened earlier this year. Its fourth meeting, held on November 16 in Washington, DC, was dedicated to the vetting of input received from the subgroups formed to advance aspects of the revision process.

The first-ever NSS was approved in August 2000, and called for a regular review to determine whether new situations dictate strategic revisions and offer new opportunities; the NSSC was established to consider these revisions. More than one hundred representatives of the standards and conformity assessment community are currently participating directly in the revision process.

According to Joe Bhatia (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.), chairman of the NSSC, early agreement was reached on several principles to be included in the Strategy. Key among these is continuing support for the current sectoral approach to standardization that is supported by the U.S. Other topics that are being developed include mitigation of the use of standards as trade barriers, the need to educate policy and decision makers on standardization issues, protection of the pluralistic funding of the U.S. standards system, and a tactical initiative addressing embedded intellectual property in standards.

During its most recent meeting, NSSC members focused on painting “a factual picture of the landscape,” including recognition of consortia under the umbrella of standards developing bodies and the need for standards to support emerging national priorities. Support is being garnered for government endorsement of the Strategy, as well as an ongoing performance reporting mechanism.

“Members of the committee endorsed incorporation [into the NSS] of the WTO’s internationally recognized principles for standards development,” chairman Bhatia explained in a recent update to the Executive Committee of the ANSI Board of Directors. “They have also placed a high priority on the importance of standards education — not only for universities, but also for business and government leaders.”

A five-phase communications plan has been outlined for the months leading up to the launch of a new Strategy. The roll-out of the draft for review and comments includes a number of sector caucuses in early 2005 and a March 2005 public forum in Washington, DC. These events will provide an opportunity for the public at large to review and comment on the revised draft NSS; these events will be widely communicated when the dates are set.

Currently, the tentative schedule calls for delivery of a draft second edition of the NSS for review and comment by mid-January 2005. The ANSI Board of Directors is expected to give final approval to the revised document in May of 2005.

For more information on the NSSC or to submit input, contact Joseph Tretler, business director, standards facilitation (212.642.4977; jtretler@ansi.org), or visit www.ansi.org/nss.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel