The United States Standards Strategy (USSS) supports the development of economic growth through the development of standards. This development is open to participation by U.S. companies in their respective sectors.
Originally published in 2000, the USSS was formerly the National Standards Strategy for the United States (NSS). It coordinates the efforts of industry stakeholders in the development of standards to ensure a sound U.S. economy and infrastructure. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) board of directors oversees this undertaking.
The Role of Standards in Technology
Rapidly evolving technologies present challenges for the world. Standards are created to establish minimal criteria for functionality, interoperability, and safety. They also establish methods of test and evaluation to ensure those criteria are met by products. Because these standards effect the manner in which products are specified, it is important that U.S national security and foreign policy interests are represented in their formation.
A consumer product must be tested and certified by the manufacturer or importer to be in compliance with applicable standards for the specific countries the product is to be sold in. While many standards can be harmonized for North America / Europe more extensive testing is often required for a product to meet a global market.
Important Considerations for Future Standards
Because technology is controlling more and more critical functions, it is important that it functions safely and reliably. This is especially this case for technologies like autonomous vehicles, and medical devices. The ability of devices to not interfere with each other and coexist operationally is of increasing concern. Standards must be created and evolve to rapidly developing technologies and airways that are becoming busier with wireless communication.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotic applications are other technology sectors that will require relevant and effective standards to meet regulatory and market needs to safeguard the public.
The Importance of U.S. Involvement
Making tech standard development open to U.S. tech firms allows major technology developers to shape the industry, based on expectations of future product capabilities. U.S. product standards are often accepted as a baseline for the creation of international standards. To establish a vision of the future that incorporates national and international priorities it is essential to engage diverse U.S. interests. This should be approached with consensus, openness, and transparency in the standards community.
Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. This action recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic and national security. The Department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”
Directions in Standard Development
As Tech Standard Development opens to the public, industry and government should work together to identify coordinated solutions. These solutions should address public health, the environment, and safety. Resultant standards should reflect consumers groups and academia concerns for energy efficiency, product quality, health, and safety.
The U.S. standards community should promote the adoption of their endeavors by participating in international standard organizations. This is of particular importance in working to prevent standards from forming trade barriers to U.S. products.
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