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February 2011 VCAT Meeting Minutes





Visiting Committee Members Attending

Baer, Tom
Bajcsy, Ruzena
Cerf, Vinton
Chowdry, Uma*
Fleury, Paul
Green, Peter*
Haymet, Tony
Kheradpir, Shaygan*
Khosla, Pradeep
McRobbie, Michael
Romig, Alton
Solomon, Darlene
Taub, Alan*

Ehrlich, Gail,
VCAT Exec. Dir.

NIST Leadership Board

Boehm, Jason
Brockett, Del
Celotta, Robert 
Culpepper, Michael
Dimeo, Robert
Fiotes, Stella
Furlani, Cita
Gallagher, Patrick
Gebbie, Katharine
Hertz, Harry
Kayser, Rich
Kilmer, Roger
Kimball, Kevin
Porter, Gail
Robinson, David
Romine, Charles
Schufreider, Jim
Singerman, Phillip
Stanley, Marc
Sunder, Shyam
Wisniewski, Lorel
Wixon, Henry

NIST Staff

Allocca, Clare
Barker, William
Belford, Diane
Briggman, Kimberly
Cavanagh, Richard
Curry, Emily
Dohne, Kirk
Gayle, Frank
Gillerman, Gordon
Grant, Jeremy
Hardis, Jonathan
Herman, Michael
Holland, Diane
Ivester, Rob
Jillavenkatesa, Ajit
Jones, Al 
Karam, Lisa
Leaf, Dawn
Liu, Rosa
Olthoff, Jim
Orr, Dereck**
Ott, William 
Polk, William
Rivera, Eddie
Roberts, Kamie
Rochford, Kent
Schiller, Susannah
Schwartz, Ari
Schwarzhoff, Teresa
Seymour, Desmond
Shaw, Stephanie 
Sienkiewicz, Robert
Silcox, Barbara
Sriram, Ram
St. Pierre, Jim

NIST Staff Cont.

Stanley, Marc
Steel, Eric 
Theofanos, Mary
Warren, James
Watters, Bob 
Whitman, Lloyd
Williams, Karen


Bratcher, Jeff**-
Technical Manager, Public Safety Communications Research Program, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Corson, Paul-
Acting Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Department of Commerce

Schmidt, Howard-
Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator

Westlake,Brittany- American Chemical Society

*Attended meeting via teleconference.
**Attended meeting via video teleconference.

Call to Order and Announcements – Dr. Vinton Cerf, VCAT Chair

Dr. Cerf called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m., pointed out the location of the emergency exits, and reviewed the meeting logistics.  Dr. Gallagher, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director, along with Dr. Cerf and VCAT member Dr. Romig will be leaving the meeting at 2:45p.m. to meet with Secretary Locke.  Dr. Haymet will chair the meeting in Dr. Cerf's absence. 

NIST Director's Update – Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director

Presentation Summary– In his opening remarks, Dr. Gallagher introduced Dr. Phillip Singerman and Dr. Chuck Romine who serve at the NIST associate director level.  Dr. Singerman is the new Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services and has been a leader in technology-based commercialization at the state, local, and federal levels.  Dr. Romine, the Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, has a background in computer science and worked on Information Technology (IT) issues at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Dr. Gallagher also thanked VCAT member Dr. Peter Green, who is attending his last VCAT meeting via teleconference, for his leadership and input on the Committee over the past three years.  Dr. Cerf also acknowledged Dr. Green's service to the country, NIST, and the Department of Commerce (DOC) as a member of the VCAT.

As context for the VCAT's Annual Report due thirty days after the President's budget submission to Congress, Dr. Gallagher provided an overview of the current budget situation for FY 2011 through FY 2013 along with the Administration and Congressional agendas.  With innovation as the cornerstone for the U.S. policy for economic growth, the Administration's agenda continues to be a driving force for NIST's programs.  NIST also has a role in the technology infrastructure piece of the platform.  For example, NIST is involved with on-going Administration's priorities in cloud computing and cybersecurity.   The 111th Congress passed several pieces of legislation which have a major impact on NIST, including the America COMPETES reauthorization, the HITECH Act, and the Energy Independence and Security Act.  Major themes of the 112th Congress include spending, oversight, the government role in innovation, economic growth, and research and development. Dr. Gallagher also described the impacts and changes to the NIST authorization (H.R. 5116) related to its administrative, manufacturing, and collaboration and outreach activities.  

Turning to the VCAT's focus areas over the past year, Dr. Gallagher reviewed NIST's significant efforts in documentary standards for Smart Grid, Healthcare IT, and Cloud Computing; measurement services; and management and operational issues.  In response to a 2009 VCAT recommendation, NIST is now serving as the principal inter-agency convener for documentary standards in its role as co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards to begin a dialog on the federal government's role in standards to address national priorities.  As input on this topic, a Request for Information was issued in the Federal Register and a Standards Roundtable was held with Chief Technology Officers, senior officials from the Administration, and other industry and government attendees.  In the area of measurement services, Dr. Gallagher summarized the VCAT's concerns and recommendation areas and noted the critical importance of strengthening these services which provide the measurement infrastructure needed for trade and commerce.  Management and operational issues cover the NIST organization, safety, and policies affecting foreign national researcher access to NIST facilities. 

Looking forward to key programs and themes, other presentations at today's VCAT meeting will address NIST's roles in three Administration's priority areas:  1) National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cybersecurity (NSTIC) and the NIST role in leading the National Program Office for coordinating this effort; 2) public safety communications standards and technology; and 3) cloud computing.  NIST has also been asked to play very visible and central roles in other areas including advanced manufacturing, wireless infrastructure, sustainable manufacturing, cyber-physical systems, green technologies, commercialization and technology transfer, and nanotechnology.  Since the VCAT's visibility has been substantially elevated and the Administration is increasingly looking at it as the voice of industry and technology, Dr. Gallagher proposed that the VCAT address a more dynamic and broader agenda in 2011 and presented several options to carry out this role, such as the use of subcommittees, staff support, and external expert panels. 

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • The impact of the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution, including no new program starts.
  • The impact of the budget proposal to return to the FY 2008 funding levels depends on the particular scenario adopted.
  • NIST engagement with other agencies and the White House in the area of healthcare IT takes place at multiple levels.
  • NIST involvement with a new Institute on Translational Medicine being created by the National Institutes of Health includes standards for interoperability and measurement services as the basis for regulation. 
  • When signed by the President, the NSTIC will involve all parties at the interagency level including the organizations under General Alexander.  
  • The different roles and responsibilities of the federal government and the private sector for creating an identity management system and the importance of the NIST's interagency coordination.
  • NIST is working closely with the Department of Transportation to support standards needed for the security and reliability of inter-vehicle communications.
  • The value of appointing new VCAT members from the major medical school hospitals or in the biomedical health field may help balance the Committee.
  • The benefits of using external panels and/or a taskforce to generate a White Paper to assist the VCAT in addressing a wide variety of issues,  as well as the possibility of coordinating meetings with members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
  • The importance of positioning the VCAT to provide the most timely and high impact advice on critical technology issues to the Administration.
  • The February 2012 meeting will be moved to the week of the budget rollout so that the Committee can become part of this effort.

For more details, see Dr. Gallagher's presentation.

NIST and the 112th Congress – Mr. Jim Schufreider, Director, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, NIST

Presentation Summary– Mr. Schufreider described the changing landscape between the 111th and the current 112th Congress and how NIST plans to address these changes. The 111th Congress had solid champions and support for NIST.  The 112th Congress saw significant change including new House leadership with significant freshmen presence, loss of old champions, and a high turnover in staff.  For each of NIST's authorization and appropriations committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate, Mr. Schufreider reviewed the changes in leadership and membership along with their major interests and noted efforts in educating these individuals about NIST's programs.  In particular, the significant number of freshmen on NIST's authorization and appropriation committees will require a huge education effort about NIST.  Mr. Schufreider also presented two charts that show how NIST's broad portfolio addresses issues that cut across many other key authorizing committees in the House and the Senate.  His office is also responsible for educating these committees about NIST so that legislation regarding standards includes NIST, as appropriate. Lastly, Mr. Shufreider provided an analysis of NIST's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in working with the 112th Congress.  He reiterated the importance of educating new members, caucuses, companies, and associations on the value of NIST, but noted the limited number of NIST staff to assist in this task. 

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • Industry support for the importance of NIST is critical. 
  • Likelihood of a "tug of war" in authorizations between NIST, NASA, and the Department of Justice.
  • The distinction between "documentary standards" versus "measurement standards" could be the reason why the "standards" issue is missing from the chart displaying the interests of the House and Senate Armed Service authorizing committees.
  • Turf battles between the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Committee on Science and Technology. 
  • Other science agencies issues overshadow NIST by sheer funding size rather than mission.
  • Since NIST's extramural programs have much more visibility on the Hill than its laboratory programs, how can NIST engage industry leadership in understanding the role and relevance of the laboratories?
  • Suggestions by the VCAT for educating Congress and senior industry leaders on the value of  NIST, including:
    • For Congress, clearly articulating the value of NIST's daily work on commerce and providing numbers which show the economic impact of NIST's work on each State;   
    • For industry, providing economic impact of NIST's standards on the U.S. economy and justifying the research program to support their further development;
    • Establishing vertical communications within a specific company where the people most familiar with NIST can help with proof of principle in educating the CEOs on the value of the NIST laboratories; and. 
    • Proactively publicizing the VCAT's 2010 Annual Report which will include compelling information about the impact of NIST on the U.S. economy.

For more details, see Mr. Schufreider's presentation.

Foreign National Guest Researchers at NIST– Ms. Stella Fiotes, Chief Facilities Management Officer, NIST

Presentation Summary – Ms. Fiotes represents NIST on the DOC Office of Security (OSY) Working Group which is focused on rewriting the Department Administrative Order (DAO) regarding the access of Foreign Nationals (FNs) to laboratory facilities.  NIST, along with help from the VCAT, has been working with DOC on this issue with an emphasis on the importance of the Foreign National Guest Researcher program to the NIST mission. Although the rewrite of the DAO did not meet its target completion date of January 2011, there has been some progress and two interim measures were put in place to allow more flexibility for FN access until the DAO is completed.  The first measure was a pilot program that provided the means for allowing limited unescorted afterhours access to FNs and the second measure expanded the areas for limited unescorted access.   

Ms. Fiotes highlighted some of the key points, details and positive aspects included in the latest working draft of the DAO created in December 2010 and expressed some concerns. As a major step forward, the draft DAO is now a high-level policy/guidance document that places the responsibility for risk-based implementation on the Bureaus. The draft also calls for the development of each Bureau's management plan to rely on the inventory of sensitive assets and how these are determined.  According to Ms. Fiotes, the definition of these sensitive assets is the most critical issue and the working group will have the opportunity to comment on the methodology and template for this inventory currently under development by the DOC OSY.  The Bureaus will also be responsible for determining which areas in the facilities are "open access" and which assets cannot be accessed by FNs.  Each Bureau will have six months to develop their implementation plan once the DAO goes into effect.  Ms. Fiotes noted that the draft provides a clear set of roles and responsibilities for the OSY and the Bureaus and summarized these.  With regard to the positive aspects, each Bureau is responsible for implementing its FN Guest Researcher program and secondly, there has been a significant shift in philosophy and approach concerning which areas the FNs can access.  Turning to concerns about the DAO, Ms. Fiotes noted the importance of agreeing on the methodology for the inventory of sensitive assets and its definition, the additional resources that may be required for implementation, and the need to clarify "use" versus "access."

In closing, Ms. Fiotes summarized NIST's external review with the security office of the Department of Health and Human Services, in response to the VCAT's suggestion that NIST meets with other federal agencies about their FN access policies; described the next steps needed to finalize the draft DAO; and emphasized that although there has been progress on the DAO, this effort needs to be monitored as the details are being worked out. 

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • The bureaus within DOC that are involved in the FN access policy are NOAA, NIST, and NTIA.
  • Concerns or procedures for measuring the efficacy of these policy changes on security performance and operational efficiency.  
  • Issues regarding proprietary information and conflicts of interest are not addressed in the FN access policy but are covered in NIST internal management plans which are the same for FNs and domestic guest researchers. 
  • Importance of understanding the scope and areas in which the FN security procedures are designed to protect or enhance, such as commercial interests and deemed exports.
  • The impact of deemed exports and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on NIST R&D activities.
  • The actual effect of this policy on FN access cannot yet be determined and will depend on the definition of the inventory of sensitive assets.  
  • The need for the VCAT's continued involvement with DOC on this policy to be determined.

For more details, see Ms. Fiotes' presentation.

Discussion of VCAT Focus and Charge for 2011 Meetings – Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director

Discussion Summary – In his opening remarks, Dr. Gallagher noted that the VCAT has been very helpful over the past two years in highlighting the broader context and importance of the NIST laboratory mission by focusing on documentary standards and measurement services.  He noted the significance of selecting among the following topics for the VCAT focus in 2011 and asked for feedback. 

  • NIST's National User Facilities (i.e., Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) and NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR))
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Technology Transfer
  • Combination of NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Technology Innovation Program (TIP), the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, and NIST's economic analysis activity
  • Internal Management Operations (i.e., how conducive is NIST in conducting science and technology activities as a federal agency?)

In an extended dialogue on technology transfer and commercialization, VCAT Chair noted the importance of developing mechanisms that accelerate bringing innovative ideas closer to investment by industry.  He also suggested that the Committee consider exploring the relationship between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to innovation and entrepreneurship and engage PCAST in this discussion.  The group also discussed NIST's leadership role in federal laboratory technology transfer activities based on its research portfolio, its mission to provide services to industry, and its current responsibilities under the Federal Technology Transfer Act.  In addition, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DOC has been holding forums with brainstorming sessions on technology transfer mechanisms where lots of ideas have been generated.  Some of the VCAT members suggested that the government should also explore technology transfer mechanisms between universities and the private sector to learn about their successes and to work on the interface between the government, universities, and private sector. 

Other topics discussed include the following:

  • The National Research Council panels of assessment for NIST laboratories provide independent peer review of NIST programs rather than an advisory role.
  • The importance of linking job creation to the topics of Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation.

Overview of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) – Mr. Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the White House and Cybersecurity Coordinator

Presentation Summary–Mr. Schmidt began his talk with a description of his office within the National Security Council, highlighting its good relationship with lots of private sector groups in a wide array of areas and its ability to reach across the government agencies and get expertise from DOC, the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the FBI.  His office also includes a dedicated privacy and civil liberties director that reports directly to him.  Mr. Schmidt reports to both the National Security Advisor and the Director of the National Economic Council.

Mr. Schmidt reviewed recent Administrations' efforts in cybersecurity policies and strategies since 1998 and noted the benefits of the unclassified version of the 2007 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative which was released about a year ago.  The most recent effort was the Cyberspace Policy Review requested by President Obama and completed in May 2009 with ten short-term recommendations, including the creation of Mr. Schmidt's position and office.   

Mr. Schmidt emphasized that a trusted identity is not a national identification card; instead, a new identity ecosystem will be developed based on experience from the past 20 years.  He described several cybersecurity issues in which the identity ecosystem is intended to address, such as frail user IDs and passwords, identity theft, credit card fraud, and technology failures.  The new ecosystem is envisioned to provide for better protection of personal information in cyberspace where individuals can choose who to share it with, what level, and for what length and time.

The NSTIC, which has not yet been released, is all about choice and must be a collaborative effort between the private sector and the government.  Some of the guiding principles for this effort include having the private sector develop the solutions which must be voluntary and privacy-enhancing, secure and resilient, and interoperable.  Although the private sector will lead the effort, a National Program Office for the NSTIC was recently created within DOC under NIST leadership to help bring the public and private sectors together. Jeremy Grant, who has just joined NIST from the private sector, will be managing the establishment of this Office which will be staffed with individuals having an understanding of the commercial sector, technology, and privacy issues needed to help implement the NSTIC.  In closing, Mr. Schmidt emphasized that government cannot and should not build the ecosystem alone but needs to be involved with the private sector to secure its part of cyberspace. 

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • The goals of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).
  • In the new ecosystem, trusted transactions will not depend on a central database or a single-sign on.
  • The new ecosystem should be built with the fundamental premise that not all operating systems are secure. 
  • NIST will be involved with assessing the quality of the ecosystem. 
  • The standards for this new ecosystem will be a collective effort between the government and the private sector.

The NIST Director thanked Mr. Schmidt for taking the time to give this presentation and acknowledged his close partnership with NIST on a number of issues, including the critically important NSTIC.

National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC):  The Department of Commerce and NSTIC National Program Office – Mr. Ari Schwartz, Senior Internet Policy Advisor, Information Technology Laboratory, NIST

Presentation Summary–Mr. Schwartz began his presentation by highlighting problems associated with today's complex and insecure on-line internet environment which have led to a lack of mutual trust on the internet. The vision of the NSTIC is to build an identity ecosystem that addresses all of the various cyberspace problems with four main goals -- cost effective and easy to use, privacy-enhancing and voluntary, secure, and interoperable.  He also noted the national costs of identity theft which is a growing problem; the projected national savings from identity solutions which increase efficiency and productivity in government and industry; and the different on-line identity efforts of other countries' around the world that are moving ahead with ideas that will not spur innovation. For the U.S. solution, trusted identities will be built on a secure and convenient platform that spurs innovation and growth, with privacy and civil liberties fundamental to this ecosystem. The identity ecosystem will be completely voluntary and led by the private sector. 

Turning to execution mechanisms for the NSTIC, the National Program Office will be hosted by DOC, with NIST having the operational and technical lead, the National Technical Information Administration (NTIA) having the policy lead on privacy and governance issues, and the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Services Agency providing key support.  Mr. Schwartz also described NIST's role in convening workshops and working on pilot projects in such areas as state government services and e-commerce, health IT, and public safety broadband networks.

Lastly, Mr. Schwartz clarified three misconceptions about the NSTIC: 1) all Americans will not be issued an Internet ID; 2) NSTIC will not enable privacy invasive tracking of people; and 3) there will not be a government run identity infrastructure.  He emphasized that the private sector must lead the implementation and management of the identify ecosystem to be successful. 

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • The role of biometrics in establishing a trusted identity.
  • The advantages of having different types of authentication techniques for different types of interactions.
  • The different levels of authentication for government transactions are still open for discussion and will be explored.
  • The importance of distinguishing between the term "identifier" and "identity" when describing authentication techniques.
  • The identity ecosystem will involve a number of solutions.
  • Involvement with the Department of Justice in defining identity theft as a crime or a civil penalty.
  • On the international arena, the European Union is interested in working with the United States.
  • The defensive tone of the "Combating Misconception" slide used in the presentation.
  • Private sector support for the NSTIC in absence of the actual release. 

For more details, see Mr. Schwartz's presentation.

NIST and Standards for Cloud Computing – Ms. Dawn Leaf, Senior Advisor for Cloud Computing, Information Technology Laboratory, NIST

Presentation Summary– In her introductory remarks, Ms. Leaf  noted the widely adopted NIST definition of cloud computing and provided some context for the U.S. government's (USG) use of cloud computing. Vivek Kundra, the U.S. Chief Information Officer (CIO), requested NIST to take a leadership role in supporting the accelerated application of cloud computing in the federal government in order to reduce costs and improve services.  This role is consistent with the NIST mission to support innovation and the advancement of technology, particularly in the areas of standards and measurement science.  In late 2010, the Office of Management and Budget issued an IT Management Reform Plan which included the "Cloud First" policy that directed U.S. government agencies to consider cloud computing before and during its IT investments. In addition, a draft USG cloud computing strategy currently under development by the U.S. CIO includes a target of $20 billion per year to be allocated to cloud computing. 

The goal of the NIST Cloud Computing program is to accelerate the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing by 1) building a USG Cloud Computing Standards Roadmap which focuses on the highest priority USG cloud computing security, interoperability and portability requirements; and 2) leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in close consultation and collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector, and other stakeholders. Ms. Leaf described why cloud computing standards for security, interoperability, and portability are important to USG CIOs and why NIST is the appropriate agency to support this effort.

Designed with stakeholder input, including standards development organizations and marketplace advocates, the strategy for the NIST Cloud Computing program addresses the processes, projects, and working groups needed to define the priorities for NIST's core competencies in standards, guidance, and research.  This strategy consists of  a concurrent and iterative three-step process to drive tactical efforts.  These three steps involve defining target USG cloud computing business use cases, defining neutral cloud computing reference architecture and taxonomy, and generating the cloud computing roadmap to translate the requirements and identify gaps.  A byproduct of this approach is that the roadmap can be used to communicate the priorities to other stakeholders, including policy makers.  Ms. Leaf also reviewed the program's timeline beginning in May 2010, which include forums and workshops widely attended by stakeholders, and noted that the first draft USG Standards Cloud Computing Roadmap will be developed by the end of fiscal year 2011.  After this date, NIST will continue to assess the results and re-plan as needed to define its priorities for its tactical efforts and response.

The presentation also covered the NIST Cloud Computing collaboration public website; program highlights since May 2010, including progress in reference architecture and standards activities; the challenge for stakeholders; and measures of success.  The biggest cloud computing challenge is that the "space" and community is so broad that it is not feasible to cover all relevant work and collaboration opportunities.  In response to this challenge, NIST is using the three-step strategy to focus its efforts and resources on the highest priorities and is leveraging the contributions of stakeholders with its efforts.  In closing, Ms. Leaf remarked that NIST sees its role as a significant contributor and its measures of effectiveness include the extent to which its products are adopted and used as well as the level of voluntary stakeholder participation. 

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • Plans for international standards.
  • The importance of defining exit strategies early in case services need to be moved back in-house or to another vendor. 
  • Concerns over government agencies moving to a cloud provider before interoperability and portability standards are in place.
  • USGs are aware of the value of cloud computing for commodity services, such as email and office automation, but are concerned with cloud computing applications for mission critical areas.  
  • NIST's role is to support the development of cloud computing standards not to be the sole or primary developer of the standards. 
  • As USG standards are identified, they will be incorporated into the federal strategy through the General Services Administration. 
  • The need for a very dynamic public/private partnership to achieve this program's success, especially in view of its urgency.
  • Possibility of defining the basic levels of functionalities and applications as a mechanism to achieve some early results. 

For more details, see Ms. Leaf's presentation.

Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) – Mr. Dereck Orr, Program Manager for Public Safety Communications, Law Enforcement Standards Office, NIST

Presentation Summary– Mr. Orr presented his talk via a video teleconference from Boulder, CO, where he was joined by Jeff Bratcher, technical manager for the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  Prior to the formal establishment of the joint PSCR program between NIST's Law Enforcement Standards Office  and NTIA's Institute for Telecommunications Sciences, the two agencies have been working together on public safety communications issues for over a decade.

The presentation began with a brief description of the five main activities within the PSCR portfolio which are carried out in the Gaithersburg and Boulder laboratories.  These activities cover Land Mobile Radio standards and technologies, broadband standards and technologies, interoperability device standards and technologies, emerging standards and technologies, and cross-cutting or supporting activities.

The remainder of the presentation focused on broadband technologies for public safety use which has been the major level of effort in the PSCR program over the past 12 to 18 months.  Mr. Orr summarized the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Plan released in March 2010 which allocates a ten megahertz (MHz) block of the spectrum band for public safety communications to form a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network accessible to all first responders.  Both the FCC and the Administration's plans leverage commercial standards for broadband and chose Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the standard of choice for the nationwide public safety network.  Verizon and AT&T are deploying LTE for commercial needs and have spent millions of dollars on its pilot systems and testbeds. 

Since public safety had no mechanism to create a pilot project to determine the applicability of LTE to its current use, the PSCR program proposed that the Boulder laboratories would be a great location to create a 700 MHz Public Safety Broadband Demonstration Network.  Located in the Boulder laboratories, this Demonstration Network is the only government or independent lab facility in the United States to test and demonstrate public safety 700 MHz broadband networks and applications.   The Demonstration Network provides a place for manufacturers and carriers to deploy their systems to test them in a multi-vendor environment; a place for public safety to see how these systems will function, specific to their unique needs; and a place where early builders can ensure that the systems they might procure will in fact work in the eventual nationwide network.  In reviewing the Demonstration Network project plan, Mr. Orr remarked that he has been working with all of the major carriers, cellular manufacturers, and test equipment manufacturers in developing Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) for deploying the Network.  To date, there is one manufacturer deployed in this system and two additional manufacturers of infrastructure are expected to be deployed over the next six to eight weeks.

The planned outcomes from the Demonstration Network are that stakeholders will be able to deploy their equipment in a neutral host network; public safety will be informed on how this new technology can meet their requirements; all stakeholders will be informed of the information and test results; and nationwide interoperability will be created through a unified approach to network design and implementation.  Mr. Orr also noted the importance of identifying the areas and standards that are currently not meeting public safety requirements so that discussions can be held with industry and public safety to focus on the priority areas and to start to address these gaps fairly soon.  In closing, Mr. Orr again emphasized that the public safety network is envisioned to leverage existing systems and processes that are already in the commercial space.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • Interoperability is the backbone of the PSCR program.  For example, the Demonstration Network's multi-vendor platform will provide the participants with an understanding of any interoperability issues in their implementation of the LTE standard before deployment.
  • There were several reasons for selecting a standalone 4G LTE network over leveraging 3G technology, such as the capability to provide priority access for public safety.
  • The timeline for the deployment of the actual 700 MHz public safety broadband network is outside the purview of the PSCR program and depends on legislation and significant funding.
  • Discussions are underway with Verizon and AT&T to leverage its current efforts in 4G LTE interoperability by allowing access to their commercial sites to test roaming between the public safety network and the commercial networks. CRADAs with these companies will also provide for sharing lessons learned on interoperability issues in network deployment to help inform public safety. 
  • The need to include internet protocol (IP) based mechanisms for interoperability and a focus on higher levels for public safety.
  • NIST's help with implementing an IP multicast on an LTE network and the related standards.

For more details, see Mr. Orr's presentation.

National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) – Mr. Paul Corson, Acting Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Department of Commerce  

Presentation Summary–Mr. Corson provided an overview of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) which was established as a Federal Advisory Committee within DOC in October 2009.  The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship was created to provide guidance and leadership on innovation and entrepreneurship to DOC which addresses the full continuum of the business life cycle through its different agencies. NACIE's membership is composed of broad stakeholder representatives from academia, the entrepreneur community, and technology-based economically development organizations from around the country. Meetings are held quarterly with some held outside of Washington D.C. to provide an opportunity for local innovators and entrepreneurs to participate as another mechanism for NACIE to gain a broader perspective.

NACIE's goals are to foster entrepreneurship, expand commercialization efforts, and develop 21st century innovation ecosystems. To help achieve these challenging policy-related goals, NACIE has three co-chairs and a DOC-wide internal steering committee which includes the NIST Director. To address its first priority of commercialization, NACIE is working on defining a National Stretch Goal which is actionable, comprehensive, and quantifiable as well as exploring ways to reach this goal. Several forums and events with the Secretary of Commerce have been held to identify some of the issues and challenges associated with this stretch goal.  Mr. Corson welcomed the VCAT's views and ideas on this topic. With regard to the second priority related to capital, NACIE will address ways to spur more access to capital in both the early and growth stages of venture-backed companies to create jobs for economic growth.  Start Up America was launched on January 31, 2011, in support of NACIE's celebration priority. This national campaign is also a national priority which seeks to increase the number of successful start-ups, improve the environment for high-growth firms, broaden entrepreneurial opportunities, and celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • Estimated timeframe for deliverables includes having people committed to the national stretch goal by summer 2011.
  • Importance of NACIE coordinating its efforts with existing venture capitalists groups as well as entrepreneurs in different markets around the country.
  • NACIE is addressing the role of universities in innovation and entrepreneurship.

For more details, see Mr. Corson's presentation.

NIST Blue Ribbon Commission on Management and Safety II Report Summary – Dr. Tony Haymet, Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Presentation Summary– Dr. Haymet, a member of the NIST Blue Ribbon Commission on Management and Safety II (BRCII), reviewed the five findings from the first BRC Report issued in November 2008 and summarized the BRCII Report dated December 2010 which assesses NIST's progress in addressing these findings.  The BRCII report summary covered the membership, the findings and recommendations, the review process which included targeted lab visits and focus groups at both the Gaithersburg and Boulder sites, the safety culture findings and integration, the importance of benchmarking and metrics, and the desired end-state for safety at NIST.  

The BRC II found that progress in the last two years has been both impressive and dramatic and that the new NIST Director has led what can be termed a transformational safety initiative.  Secondly, despite the extraordinary progress, much remains to be accomplished in order for the new safety efforts to be institutionalized beyond the tenure of the current NIST Director.  The three recommendations for action are: 1) appoint crucial Associate Director for Laboratory Programs (and Principal Director); 2) address the enthusiasm gap in some senior management; and 3) establish an audit mechanism.  Among the nine safety culture findings, one of the most important challenges remaining for senior management is convincing the "traditionalists' that safety and science engineering can (and must) be fully integrated, without reservation, into each individual's personal philosophy at work.  Dr. Haymet noted that the BRCII was extremely impressed by the speed in which NIST responded to its safety issues which exceeded such transformations in other organizations familiar to the membership.  In describing the need for benchmarking and metrics to monitor safety requirements, Dr. Haymet remarked that a difficult issue for NIST is identifying the appropriate organizations for comparison and the BRCII provided some suggestions for this work in progress. 

Turing to the desired-end state, the BRCII would like the NIST's safety culture and program to be the gold standard by which all scientific laboratories would measure themselves.  Senior science managers should be visiting NIST to learn about safety the way that scientists now visit NIST to learn about science and engineering.  The BRCII has set a timescale of five years to achieve this standard and establish the audit mechanism.  

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • Responsibilities of the NIST Chief Safety Officer who reports to the NIST Director.
  • DOC is currently focusing on implementing an enterprise risk management approach across the department.
  • Possibility of universities serving as a comparable institution for NIST benchmarking.

For more details, see Dr. Haymet's presentation.

Update on NIST Response to BRC II Report Recommendations – Dr. Rich Kayser, Chief Safety Officer, Office of Safety, Health, and Environment (OSHE), NIST

Presentation Summary– Dr. Kayser provided a summary of NIST's efforts in response to the three recommendations in the BRCII Report as well as the suggestions regarding metrics.  In response to the first recommendation, Chuck Romine was appointed as the Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs (ADLP) and Principal Deputy (PD).  Dr. Gallagher is continuing to seek a permanent ADLP with qualifications that include the ability to provide safety leadership.  To address the enthusiasm gap in some senior management, NIST is planning a safety leadership summit this Spring to discuss the Institute's vision for safety, among other topics.  In addition, Dr. Gallagher is developing a culture of safety accountability through changes that address roles and responsibilities, expectations, and data to measure success. 

In describing a Safety Culture Maturity Model, Dr. Kayser noted that NIST is a mixture of these three levels, but mainly at level one, compliance, and is moving forward.  Some areas of NIST, such as radiation safety, are at level two, the improvement culture, while some of the user facilities are at level three, the learning culture. 

Turning to metrics, NIST is moving into a data rich environment by tracking OSHA-recordable incidents as well as identifying leading performance indicators (LPIs) that tie to where NIST is today and will evolve as NIST's safety culture matures.  NIST has developed a list of candidate areas for LPIs and has already collected and begun to analyze data on inspections, incident reporting and investigation, and safety service delivery.  In addition, NIST recently conducted its first safety climate program as input for the safety leadership summit.  Dr. Kayser also described NIST's priority plans for a three-tier assessment framework covering self-assessments, OSHE assessments, and third-party assessments which will help drive program improvements.

NIST is in the process of identifying possible third-party audit mechanisms in response to the third BSCII recommendation.  These include the Department of Energy national laboratories, independent contractors, and reciprocal relationships with other organizations.  Dr. Kayser noted that NIST is considering an external assessment of its hazard review program.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • The Acting ADLP plays an active role in helping to achieve NIST's safety goal with respect to the laboratory programs. 
  • The VCAT's role with regards to safety has changed over the years.
  • The possibility of NIST providing a progress report on safety and risk mitigation to the VCAT on a regular basis for an independent perspective. 
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory may be another good organization to benchmark with its integrated safety management model.
  • Offer for DuPont's Lab Safety Management group to assist with NIST's external safety audit.
  • Importance of exporting some of NIST's best safety practices to other parts of the organization, such as the CNST use of instrument level control. 
  • People responsible for safety at NIST are now empowered to address problem areas.

For more details, see Dr. Kayser presentation.

VCAT Administrative Sessions - Draft Initial Observations, Findings, and Recommendations for the 2010 VCAT Annual Report

The VCAT Administrative sessions focused primarily on revisions to the draft 2010 VCAT Annual Report followed by a brief discussion on candidates for VCAT membership and topics for the June 2011 VCAT meeting.  To begin this session, the members were reminded that the 2010 report will only capture the most significant issues raised over the course of the year rather than all of the topics covered.  After the members agreed that the topics in the draft report were appropriate and none were missing, they reviewed the recommendations under each topic and suggested revisions as needed.  In particular, the group had extensive discussions on NIST's assessment process and the value of direct customer input.

The report will include the following topics:

  • NIST Management and Operational Challenges
  • NIST Role in Measurement Services
  • NIST Realignment and Reorganization
  • NIST Role in Forensic Science
  • NIST Strategic Planning and Performance
  • NIST Budget

Turning to the VCAT membership, the NIST Director noted the technical gaps in areas of representation.  He requested the members to recommend VCAT candidates with high-level industry leadership in the areas of health, biosciences, biotechnology, biomedical, or biomanufacturing fields as well as venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.  These candidates can also include high-ranking individuals from industry associations. 

Lastly, the group discussed possible topics for the June 2011 meeting which may include advanced manufacturing.  The FY 2012 budget may help define the hot topics. NIST will draft ideas for discussion with the VCAT Chair and Vice Chair.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 2011.

I hereby certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing minutes are accurate and complete.

Gail Ehrlich, Executive Director, NIST Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology

Dr. Vinton Cerf, Chair, NIST Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology

Created May 20, 2011, Updated September 9, 2021