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August 21, 2012 - Recent Treasury guidance consents to ANSI's international standards development activities with Iran.  The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) advised that ANSI's participation in international standards activities involving Iran is permitted by exception (section 560.21 O(c)) or general license (section 560.538) in the Iranian Transactions Regulations.  Read the decision…




The NTTAA supports the requirements of The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA), which directs Federal agencies with respect to their use of private sector standards and conformity assessment practices. The objective is for Federal agencies to adopt private sector standards, wherever possible, in lieu of creating proprietary, non-consensus standards. The Act directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to bring together Federal agencies, as well as State and local governments, to achieve greater reliance on voluntary standards and decreased dependence on in-house standards.

Progress toward accomplishing NTTAA aims is summarized in annual reports prepared by NIST, in collaboration with the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP).

OMB Circular A-119

OMB Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities, establishes policies on Federal use and development of voluntary consensus standards and on conformity assessment activities. OMB issued this revision of the Circular in order to make the terminology of the Circular consistent with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA).

Guidance on Federal Conformity Assessment Activities

This document contains policy guidance on Federal agency use of conformity assessment activities. The document was developed by NIST in compliance with Paragraph 8 OMB Circular A-119.

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News from the NSTC's Subcommittee on Standards
The National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Standards (SOS) is an inter-agency forum for senior officials of federal agencies interested in standards and standardization related issues.



Three offices in the Executive Office of the President, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs / Office of Management and Budget (OMB/OIRA), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), have recently released a memo "Principles for Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities" which is available at

This memo reaffirms the U.S. approach to standardization, lays out federal government objectives for standards engagement, and outlines agency responsibilities in instances where agencies assume a convening role to find standards solutions for technologies/issues identified as national priorities. The memo also provides important guidance for agencies as they engage with the private sector on standards issues of interest to agencies.


View the NSTC Subcommittee on Standards report on Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities – Background and Proposed Policy Recommendations

Send comments regarding the recommendations here.


View a Summary of the responses to the December 8 RFI on Federal Agency Participation in Standardization Activities in Select Technology Areas and related Observations based on these responses. The summary and observations are intended to facilitate both internal (government) and external (public) discussion and interactions on issues related to federal government engagement in standardization activities in national priority areas.

Questions or comments can be sent to


Three deliverables are currently under development for consideration by the NSTC Subcommittee on Standards, building on the public response to the RFI.

These are:
  • An initial set of four case studies, drawn from the technology areas called out in the December 2010 RFI that federal agencies can refer to as they consider their future engagement in standardization activities. Each case study will outline, for a specific select technology area, the background for standardization activities, types of standards, government role, success and failures and lessons learned.
  • A background document articulating the strengths of the private sector-led standardization system and describing the importance of U.S. government participation in standardization and the various modes of engagement that are utilized.
  • A set of recommendations regarding principles or best practices for future engagements between the public and private sector in national priority areas.

A Subcommittee meeting will be convened in late June to consider these deliverables and identify issues for further consideration, either by the Subcommittee itself, by the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy, or by individual agencies.

Subcommittee conclusions will be made publicly available and further public engagement on next steps is welcome and encouraged.


View comments to the Federal Register notice seeking input about federal agency participation in standardization.


A recorded webcast of the Jan. 25th, 2011 roundtable on federal government engagement in standards is now available here. It includes remarks from Secretary Locke, Aneesh Chopra and Pat Gallagher, and features Phil Weiser leading a panel discussion with CTOs from leading companies (e.g., Motorola, Cisco, Silver Spring Networks, etc.)