As part of ongoing efforts to gather private-sector input on implementation of the U.S. Government National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology (USG NSSCET), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) co-hosted a November 16 listening session in ANSI’s Washington, DC, headquarters.
The session brought together private-sector stakeholders and NIST representatives, including Dr. Laurie Locascio, NIST director and Under Secretary for Standards and Technology, and Dr. Jayne Morrow, NIST senior advisor for standards policy, with opening remarks provided by ANSI president and CEO Joe Bhatia.
Panelists and attendees, both in person and online, spoke on the following topics:
Speakers agreed that the U.S. private sector-led standards system, with its foundation in the WTO TBT principles, must be protected and promoted in the implementation of the USG NSSCET, and amidst the evolving international standards landscape.
Several panelists addressed the importance of hosting international standards meetings in the U.S., which allow for greater attendance by U.S. stakeholders and reflect the value of U.S. leadership in standards for critical and emerging technologies; however, lengthy visa processes for some attendees have presented challenges in bringing international stakeholders to the U.S. for meetings.
Financial barriers to participation were highlighted as well: while larger organizations may be able to finance participation in standards development, small- and medium-sized enterprises often lack the resources to be involved. Attendees discussed these challenges and the role of the U.S. government in facilitating and incentivizing participation. Participants also noted the importance of government expert participation in standards activities, and the need for funding and consistent government-wide policy supporting that participation.
Education, training, and fostering a standards-literate workforce was another theme among panelists and attendees. Preparing the next generation of standards leaders is vital in the continued success of the U.S. standards system, and more resources are needed to bring awareness to sectors not familiar with standards—including the rapidly growing open source community. Discussions also addressed the need for investment in pre-standardization and precompetitive activities including research and technical consortia, and the value of assuring familiarity with standards in critical and emerging technology research and development communities, as well.
Panelists voiced that leveraging existing government resources, and referencing previous programs that have been successful, will provide an effective and efficient path forward to guide implementation of the USG NSSCET.
NIST will participate in several more listening sessions on implementation of the USG NSSCET, including a December 6 session co-hosted by ANSI, Workcred, and Columbia University that will focus on building standards awareness and fostering a standards-literate workforce.