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Report Released on Federal Engagement in Standards Activities


Standardization and conformity assessment activities are tools of innovation, says John Holdren, OSTP Director

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards (SoS) released today a highly anticipated report on federal engagement in standards activities.

The report aims to:

  • provide an overview of the current legal and policy frameworks for government engagement in private-sector standardization and conformity-assessment activities;
  • describe how the government engages in those activities;
  • summarize stakeholder observations in response to a request for information about government engagement in standardization [see related news item] ; and
  • outline policy recommendations to supplement existing guidance to agencies.

As coordinator of the private sector-led standards and conformity assessment system in the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) submitted comments to the NSTC SoS in March 2011. As the ANSI input document asserted, today's report affirms that standards and conformity assessment activities are inextricably linked to all facets of our national economy and are vital to the continued global competitiveness of U.S. industry. A successful public-private partnership will yield faster, technically viable, and more economically feasible standards that are more likely to be embraced and rapidly implemented than those standards that are developed under different means.

"ANSI's unique role within this partnership is as a neutral forum - acting as the convenor of diverse parties and sectors in a problem-solving approach that is focused on results," explained S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. "We are pleased to see that this important report recognizes the leadership role that the private sector plays in our national standardization system, and acknowledges the ‘foundational attributes of standardization activities' such as transparency and openness that have contributed to our success."

The report also makes reference to the latest edition of the United States Standards Strategy (USSS).

More information on the report, the importance of standardization, and the community's celebration of World Standards Week is available in a White House blog post by Mary Saunders, Director of the Standards Coordination Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Nick Sinai, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

See related articles:

Mary Saunders Discusses Standards and Policy Issues at September ANSI Caucus
September 19, 2011

NIST Releases Summary of Responses on Federal Involvement in Standardization Notice
May 13, 2011

ANSI Submits Input on Federal Involvement in Standardization to NSTC Subcommittee
March 7, 2011

February ANSI Caucus Welcomes White House National Economic Council Advisor on Technology and Innovation Phil Weiser
January 24, 2011

Secretary Locke Announces Public Roundtable on Standards
January 14, 2011

America COMPETES Reauthorization Act Puts Focus on Standards
January 12, 2011


Jana Zabinski

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