Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

June 2011 VCAT Meeting Minutes





Visiting Committee Members Attending

Baer, Tom*
Cerf, Vinton
Chand, Sujeet
Chowdry, Uma
Haymet, Tony
Kerr, Karen
Kheradpir, Shaygan
Khosla, Pradeep
Padovani, Roberto
Romig, Alton
Solomon, Darlene
Taub, Alan

VCAT Exec. Dir.
Ehrlich, Gail

NIST Leadership Board

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

NIST Staff

Allocca, Clare
Anderson, Gary
Archer, Donald
Bartholomew, Richard
Briggman, Kimberly
Cook, Robert
Coraggio, Mary-Deirdre
Dobrzeniecki, Aimee
Dodson, Donna
Dohne, Kirk
Evans, Heather
Fasolka, Michael
Foecke, Timothy
Fraser, Gerald
Gaitan, Michael
Gayle, Frank
Geist, Jon
Harary, Howard
Hardis, Jonathan
Herman, Michael
Hight Walker, Angela
Hogan, Mary Ann
Huergo, Jennifer
Ivester, Rob
Jillavenkatesa, Ajit
Jones, Al 
Kaiser, Debra
Klein, Andrew
Lambis, Barbara
Liddle, James
Lieberman, Melissa
Lin, Eric
Liu, Rosa
McTigue, Kathleen
Meininger, Anne
Messina, Elena
Nam, Sae Woo
Olthoff, Jim
Orr, Dereck
Ott, William 
Phillips, Margaret
Putorti, Anthony
Rioux, Nathalie
Rivera, Eddie
Saunders, Mary
Schwarzhoff, Teresa
Seiler, David
Shaw, Stephanie 
Simpson, Michael
Sienkiewicz, Robert
Souryal, Michael
Srinivasan, Vijay
St. Pierre, Jim

NIST Staff Cont.

Stanley, Marc*
Uhteg, Lawrence
Umberger, Brenda
Walsh, Michael
Warren, James
Watters, Bob 
Wavering, Albert
Whitman, Lloyd
Whetstone, James
Wiggins, Thomas
Williams, Karen
Wollman, David


Atkinson, Robert-Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Bose, Vanu-
Vanu, Inc.

Chang, Yoon-

Chopra, Aneesh-
Office of Science and Technology Policy

Doering, Robert-Texas Instruments

Frantz, Fred-Communications Technology Center of Excellence

Ghaffari, Behzad-FCC

Harris, Philip-Communications Technology Center of Excellence

Harrison, Gina-NTIA

Heaps, Joe-US Department of Justice

Kota, Sridhar-Office of Science and Technology Policy

Luu, Cuong-DHS/S&T

McDougle, Jack-Council on Competitiveness

McLaren, James-NRC Canada

Merritt, Nancy- US Department of Justice

Miller, Jason-National Economic Council

Mustain, Chris-Council of Competitiveness

Pentz, Alan-Corner Alliance Consulting

Reynolds, Corey-Corner Alliance Consulting

Rhoads, Robert-DHS Office of Emergency Communications

Rice, Mark-Maritime Applied Physics Corp.

Zimmer, Stephen-USCAR

*Attended meeting via 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. He also introduced two new VCAT members: Karen Kerr, Director of Business Development, Intellectual Ventures, and Roberto Padovani, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm.

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

Presentation Summary– Dr. Gallagher welcomed the new VCAT members; provided an overview of the current budget situation; described changes at the Department of Commerce (DOC); presented updates on NIST's key programs and activities in documentary standards, measurement services, and management and operational issues; summarized NIST's activities in disaster resilience; and described the two new VCAT subcommittees.     

In his opening remarks, Dr. Gallagher introduced George Jenkins, the new Chief Financial Officer for NIST. He also welcomed the new VCAT members and highlighted their career achievements and areas of valuable expertise for the Committee. Dr. Padovani's expertise will be helpful in addressing public safety networks while Dr. Kerr's perspective in business creation and small business enterprise will be important to discussions on public-private partnerships.    

Turning to the current budget situation, Dr. Gallagher described how NIST is operating in an extremely divergent planning environment as it is deals with three active budgets at the same time. The fiscal year (FY) 2011 full year Continuing Resolution was $106 million less than FY 2010 and mostly represented a reduction in congressionally directed projects with the labs remaining largely flat and a $25 million decrease in the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) preventing the award of any new TIP grants this year. The President's FY 2012 budget request of $1.1 billion reflects the largest increase in NIST's history with a strong focus on manufacturing and cybersecurity. Planning has begun for the FY 2013 budget request and many options are under consideration due to the uncertainty of the FY 2012 budget. A bar graph comparing the FY 2010 budget versus the FY 2012 budget request by funding source was also presented.  

Dr. Gallagher noted that Advanced Manufacturing is the largest single theme in the FY 2012 budget request and emphasized its importance to innovation. He also described how manufacturing involves every area of NIST including the laboratory programs, TIP, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP). The FY 2012 budget request includes language directing NIST to identify and evaluate alternative funding sources for BPEP with the goal of transitioning the program out of federal funding. The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) is a new grant program initially proposed for $12.3 million with the goal of collapsing the timescale of technological innovation through industry-led consortium based R&D. The role of AMTech will be one of the main topics of the VCAT Subcommittee on Manufacturing.  

Another theme in the FY 2012 budget request is NIST's involvement in the Wireless Innovation Fund whereby NIST will work with industry and public safety organizations to support the development of a next-generation wireless communication network to meet the needs of the public safety community. To support this effort, legislation is being drafted to give NIST access to "mandatory funds" totaling $100 million per year for five years available from the proceeds from the auction of reallocated spectra.    

Changes at DOC include Secretary Locke's departure to become U.S. Ambassador to China, John Bryson's nomination as the new Secretary, and Terry Garcia's nomination as Deputy Secretary. A key agenda item for the February 2012 VCAT meeting which is scheduled to take place soon after the FY 2013 President's budget is released is to have all or some of the members meet the new Secretary and Deputy Secretary.   

As recommended by the VCAT in 2009, NIST has made progress in serving as the principal inter-agency convener for documentary standards. NIST is leading the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards (SoS) which is developing a white paper on federal government engagement in standardization for discussions at the interagency level based on responses from a Request for Information on the federal government's role in standards-setting activities. Mary Saunders recently returned to NIST from the International Trade Administration as the Director of the Standards Coordination Office.

NIST has leadership roles in the inter-agency coordination of several high profile standards related issues in such areas as Smart Grid, Cloud Computing, Health Information Technology (IT), the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), cybersecurity, privacy, and the new public safety communications network. The progress report on NIST's role in Smart Grid included recent international leadership activities, the importance of NIST as a technical non-regulatory body working with industry, and the soon to be released NSTC Smart Grid policy framework which highlights NIST's strategic roles in this effort. NIST is also extremely active in its efforts to accelerate the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing, including the development of a cloud computing technology roadmap to be released for public comments in November 2011 and the design of a conformity assessment system for Cloud Service Provider's security controls. In the area of health IT, NIST is focused on the certification and usability aspects of products and services. The NIST role in the NSTIC, which was released by the President on April 15, 2011, is to serve as the National Program Office to facilitate private sector involvement in this multi-agency effort aimed at creating an identity ecosystem with interoperable technologies. In the area of cybersecurity, the focus has been on policy issues including a White House legislative package and a DOC Green Paper looking at the role of government in establishing best practices and the infrastructure to support cyber security in the private sector.  

NIST has been making progress on other VCAT recommendations. With regards to measurement services, the Physical Measurement Laboratory and the Materials Measurement Laboratory have been looking at the business cases, business systems, and assessment methods in their specific areas. In the area of safety, NIST performed a staff safety climate assessment and held a two-day NIST Safety Leadership Summit in May, 2011. In the area of security, DOC issued a final draft Department Administrative Order for Foreign National Guest Researchers' access to facilities and correctly places the responsibilities for implementation on each individual bureau.    

Dr. Gallagher also reviewed NIST's disaster resilience activities within the Engineering Laboratory along with the specific statutory responsibilities in fire prevention and control, earthquake hazards reduction, windstorm impact reduction, and disaster and failure studies. NIST is the lead technical partner in working with the first responder community, the code community, and other agencies in helping to develop better model codes, standards, and practices. He also described the cross-cutting issues associated with resiliency in addressing the survivability of critical infrastructures.  

Lastly, Dr. Gallagher set the stage for the two VCAT subcommittees with kickoff meetings today that will be exploring key issues for NIST and the Administration focused on the major themes in the FY 2012 budget request which address the NIST role in manufacturing and the NIST role in the President's Wireless Innovation Initiative (WIN). The recommendations for deliberation by the full committee will have a much broader perspective than NIST and the outputs can be disseminated before the VCAT Annual Report. Dr. Gallagher reviewed the context and role for each of these Subcommittees. The VCAT Subcommittee on Public Safety Networks will be chaired by Vinton Cerf. Aneesh Chopra, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, will be speaking later in the meeting and will address NIST's involvement in the WIN and how the VCAT can help define the key architectural elements of the next generation wireless communications network. The VCAT Subcommittee on Manufacturing will be chaired by Alan Taub to help frame policy directives and provide guidance on program priorities at NIST. Several speakers from outside and inside the government will provide their perspectives on current efforts in developing priorities and a strategy for advanced manufacturing. Dr. Gallagher noted that both subcommittees should rely on outside expertise for additional background information.  

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics: 

  • The language regarding manufacturing is a key obstacle. 
  • NIST will maximize its flexibility to move funds across programs to keep its core functions healthy.
  • The FY 2012 initiatives for the laboratory programs include increases in NIST staff as well as funds for contracts and extramural support including university collaborations to establish centers of excellence.
  • NIST must make its plans based on the FY 2012 President's budget request even if the target funding levels are unrealistic and is asking for the VCAT's help in prioritizing and managing some of these large increases so that NIST can be well positioned to carry out these programs. 
  • A VCAT member noted that IT is an element of each of the high profile standards that NIST is involved with and that more interagency collaboration has taken place in the last 18 months in these areas due to NIST initiatives and its visibility in standards coordination.
  • NIST does not want to focus on branding its standards contributions since the goal is to have broad stakeholder participation. NIST's involvement is very visible through many of its publications, such as those related to Smart Grid.
  • In the area of privacy, NIST has a very visible role on the technical and implementation activities but the policy position is led by DOC through the Internet Policy Task Force.
  • Metrics for measuring the U.S. global competitiveness in technology areas is an important issue and should be goal driven. NIST and the SOS will be involved in this effort.
  • In regards to the manufacturing sector, NIST is very involved in standards used in robotic safety and interoperability of machine systems.
  • A NIST Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) is being developed to accredit the testing laboratories for health IT electronic health records that will be used for the Office of the National Coordinator's permanent certification program. 
  • With regard to the NSTIC, a distinction should be made between the terms "identity" and "identifiers".
  • NIST recognizes that privacy, security, and usability are cross-cutting issues in the standards arena which is advantageous in its convener role.
  • Interagency discussions are being held on how to drive stronger building code adoption by the various communities.
  • Supply chain resilience in the face of disasters needs to be better understood.
  • Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy have the primary responsibility for risk assessment of reactor systems, NIST provides strong support, such as providing certified materials for building advanced plants.  
  • NIST recognizes the need to develop a framework for system level standards that can be applied across sectors.

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

Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP)– Dr. Harry Hertz, Director, BPEP, NIST

Presentation Summary– Dr. Hertz reviewed the FY 2012 appropriation language which calls for NIST to evaluate alternate sources of funding and alternative cost models consistent with the administration's goal of transitioning the program out of federal funding, described the Baldrige business model, and presented the consequences of finding other funding. The FY 2012 budget proposes to reduce the program from $9.6 million to $7.7 million through administrative savings.    

As context for this evaluation, Dr. Hertz described the Baldrige business model, a unique public-private partnership, highlighting its operations and the revenue flow from various sources. The staff of 35 is currently supported by $9.6 million of appropriated funds. The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which has a current endowment of $20 million and an annual budget of about $1.3 million to $2.3 million per year, has no oversight role and provides a contract to the American Society for Quality, ASQ, for BPEP's logistics and administrative support required by law. However, no government funds flow to the Foundation and no Foundation funds flow to the BPEP staff. The Board of Overseers provides advice and guidance to the program. Senior leaders, Presidents, and CEOs, from multiple industries are actively involved with the Baldrige operations via the Foundation and/or the Board of Overseers. About 600 volunteers serve annually on the Board of Examiners and spend about 200 hours each reviewing applications and acting as ambassadors for the program. BPEP also has close ties with the 91 past Baldrige award winners who volunteer many hours sharing their successful strategies with other companies and organizations. The Baldrige enterprise consists of cooperating organizations including the Alliance for Performance Excellence with 35 state programs and other local programs with Baldrige-like programs and awards. These organizations do not receive any funds from the BPEP; however, they are guided by the Baldrige criteria, case study materials, and process. In-kind resources from volunteers total about $9.3 million.   

Dr. Hertz explained several consequences of finding other funding such as the need for the Foundation to increase its endowment, the impact on health care and education, the availability of the Baldrige criteria, the crippling of the network of 38 state and local Baldrige-based programs, and risking the goodwill of the Baldrige award winners.

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • Although there is no formal coordination between the BPEP and ISO 9000, many of the Baldrige volunteers are involved with drafting the ISO 9000 standards focused on conformity which are becoming more Baldrige-like in terms of the content and focus on excellence.
  • With a goal to always reflect the leading edge of validated management practices, the Baldrige criteria are constantly evolving and have kept in synchrony with the changes in the world. For example, the 2013 criteria addresses the full economy and have a significant focus on strategic planning including intelligent risk.
  • Some companies have internal programs for their suppliers based on the Baldrige criteria.
  • With regards to connectivity to government, the Army and the Veteran's Administration, for example, have Baldrige-based programs.
  • NIST may want to consider documenting how the Baldrige criteria may have affected some of the ISO 9000 standards in its analysis. The purpose of this presentation is to update the VCAT on the charge from Congress to evaluate the alternative sources of funding for the BPEP and the consequences of reducing the federal funding to zero. NIST is working on this analysis with the Foundation and other stakeholders. The VCAT will have an opportunity to comment on a more specific proposal once the analysis has been completed. The Administration's intent was not to eliminate the program.

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

National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards: Progress Report – Dr. Mary Saunders, Director, Standards Coordination Office, NIST

Presentation Summary – Dr. Saunders' progress report on the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Subcommittee on Standards (SOS) covered the Subcommittee's history, composition, and mission; the rational, responses, and opportunities related to the Subcommittee's Request for Information (RFI) on standards policy and federal government coordination; and the Subcommittee's deliverables and next steps.    

With regard to the Subcommittee's background, the co-chair structure changed due to personnel shifts at the Department of Justice and Dr. Gallagher is now the chair. The SOS which was chartered in March 2010 to provide high level coordination of agency standards policy reflects a wide range of interests with members from government agencies, independent commissions, and the White House as well as executive sponsors from the White House who are providing tremendous support. The SOS reports to the NSTC Committee on Technology aimed at facilitating federal technology planning, coordination and communication. The three major roles of the SOS address policy coordination, awareness of best practices across agencies and departments, and communications and advocacy with respect to U.S. public/private partnerships.     

On December 8, 2010, the SOS issued an RFI to solicit broad input on issues for the Subcommittee's consideration in its deliberations on standards policy and federal government coordination. The RFI focused on a comprehensive set of 47 questions regarding the effectiveness of federal agency participation in standardization, including process improvement and metrics, in select technology sectors of interest where a national policy has been identified. Respondents also were invited to provide input in other technology areas and submitted comments, for example, on intelligent transportation, manufacturing, and network protocols. Dr. Saunders highlighted some of the observations associated with the 92 responses covering over 1,000 pages of comments received from a broad range of organizations. For example, it appears to private sector stakeholders that there is a national policy vacuum currently in terms of where the federal government sets standards policy. Dr. Saunders also elaborated on the general themes of the responses related to the need for clarification and greater consistency on government participation, the need for greater resources for participation, the need for coordination among agencies during standards participation, and the need to institutionalize NIST's convener role in national priority areas.   

Opportunities for improvement include the need to identify a focal point for developing standards at the national level. In addition, there are many opportunities for NIST which has the broadest footprint of any agency in the standards arena since its mission covers both measurement standards as well as documentary standards. For example, NIST role as an honest broker on standards and technology issues is significant and widely recognized both domestically and internationally. NIST also provides agencies with objective tools and guidance in making value judgments. About 20 percent of the NIST technical staff participate in standards development activities in over 70 standards-setting organizations in all technology sectors.   

Dr. Saunders emphasized the criticality of continuing consultation and engagement with the private sector, including those that responded to the RFI as well as under-represented stakeholder groups, and within the federal government. She also reviewed the Subcommittee's deliverables which include a framework document, case studies, and a set of recommendations on best practices and principles for future engagements between the public and private sectors in national priority areas. Lastly, Dr. Saunders summarized the next steps to be explored at the June 30 Subcommittee meeting, including the proposal to convert the set of recommendations into a policy memo signed by the Chief Technology Officer and OMB as a way to institutionalize the Subcommittee's decisions.

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • Although a question on international standards was not included in the RFI, the topic of promoting U.S. interests in international standards is on the Subcommittee's agenda.
  • Conformity assessment was not included in the RFI but some of the comments addressed this topic and it may be covered in the policy memo as an important life cycle issue.
  • Intellectual Property issues associated with standards need to be addressed.

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

Introduction to the Session on NIST Role in Advanced Manufacturing – Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director

Summary – Dr. Gallagher noted that the U.S. manufacturing policy is now being addressed in a very meaningful manner and emphasized the importance of correctly framing this discussion. The next two presentations on advanced manufacturing from guest speakers inside and outside the government are intended to help frame the Committee's discussions on the policy direction in this area.

Key Elements for a National Manufacturing Strategy – Dr. Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Presentation Summary–During Dr. Atkinson's introduction, Dr. Gallagher noted that the ITIF is one of the leading think tanks in Washington, D.C. and that Dr. Atkinson has played a key advisory role on innovation policy at the national, state, and international level. In his opening remarks, Dr. Atkinson announced that the ITIF is in the process of framing a very detailed and coherent strategy document for reviving U.S. manufacturing which will be released in September. His presentation covered the state of U.S. manufacturing, the need for a National Manufacturing Strategy which in the speaker's opinion is still an open question in Washington, and the outlines of a Strategy. In Dr. Atkinson's view, the dominant story regarding manufacturing is the loss of 6 million manufacturing jobs in this decade, the largest loss of U.S. manufacturing employment in our nation's history.    

With regard to the state of U.S. manufacturing, Dr. Atkinson contrasted the agriculture story based on a dramatic productivity in agriculture with the rust belt story, which he believes is a more accurate reflection of productivity. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that real U.S. manufacturing output declined in 15 of 19 U.S. manufacturing sectors, or 80 percent, in the last decade. Additional BEA data illustrated a decline in real manufacturing value-added as a share of GDP since 1987, lower capital stock for many manufacturing sectors, and how manufacturing has fallen behind growth in total private assets by decades.   

Dr. Atkinson explained why the United States needs a manufacturing strategy. He emphasized that virtually all of our competitors have very coherent and sophisticated manufacturing and technology strategies, and are investing more in innovation as reflected in data from Canada, Finland, Korea, Germany's Fraunhofer Institutes, and Japan's Kohsetsushi Centers. In addition, systematic market failures, such as spillover, are affecting our manufacturing activity.    

Lastly, Dr. Atkinson highlighted the importance of addressing talent, trade, taxes, and technology in a manufacturing strategy. For example, in the area of talent, the United States needs to have a more robust system of technical training. With regard to trade, a significant number of U.S. companies are facing serious challenges in global markets due to "innovation mercantilism" such as standards manipulation and Intellectual Property theft. Turning to taxes, Dr. Atkinson noted that the U.S. has high corporate tax rates compared to international competitors, described how eight European countries are collecting profits from patents in a "patent box", and stated that the U.S. has dropped from having the most generous R&D tax credit 20 years ago to 17th place today. Dr. Atkinson described ITIF's proposed strategies to reform the U.S. model for technology development in the context of technology and manufacturing readiness levels beginning with universities and federal labs, applied R&D institutes in the middle, and ending with industrial R&D. The proposed strategies include expanding industry-university partnership programs, creating a collaborative R&D tax credit for industry support of university and federal lab research, expanding funding for sector-based research consortia such as the proposed NIST's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech), expanding the R&D tax credit by increasing the Alternative Simplified Credit to 20 percent and clarifying that process R&D counts, and making permanent first year expensing of equipment. As background information, Sweden and Finland have restructured their higher education budgets based on how well the universities work with industry. ITIF will release an Atlantic Century report in July which ranks the United States very low on the growth of corporate R&D as a share of the economy. The ITIF also developed a Logic Change of Action which is available on their website.

Discussion – The group discussed the following topics:

  • The Japanese and the Germans have increased their share of high-value added, high-tech manufacturing while the United States has a bigger share in low-value added, low-tech manufacturing.
  • Other examples of systemic market failures in manufacturing activity include lower investments in work force training and stock targets. The American Society of Training and Development provides the annual amount of money that corporations spend on training.
  • In contrast to the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Australia have a combination of aggressive tax incentives and grant programs in support of innovation.
  • Different models have been used to determine the benefits of R&D tax credits at various levels.
  • Some policy makers in Washington are still questioning the need for a manufacturing strategy rather than focusing on how they can help manufacturers.
  • Trends at the sector level indicate that the United States is spending less on R&D of low value commodity products which are being moved overseas.
  • To help keep R&D from being exploited by foreign nationals, ITIF produced a report for the U.S. Trade Representative on how the United States should restructure trade policy and the need to target innovation mercantilists.
  • It is important that manufacturing policies cover R&D as well as talent, trade, and taxes.
  • During a fiscal crisis, Finland and the United Kingdom made investments in science and research.
  • There appears to be bipartisan alignment on the need to address U.S. manufacturing issues.

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

Overview of the Administration's Priorities in Advanced Manufacturing – Mr. Jason Miller, Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy, National Economic Council, White House

Presentation Summary–Dr. Gallagher introduced Mr. Miller and noted that he works for Ronald Bloom, the Assistant to the President on Manufacturing, who has the key role for driving the Administration's policy in this area. Mr. Miller is part of a small team in the National Economic Council at the White House exclusively focused on the U.S. manufacturing sector, which has been an Administration's priority since January 2009. The team's task is to address the near-term recovery of the manufacturing sector while building the longer term foundation. Mr. Miller's presentation covered a perspective on manufacturing employment and where advanced manufacturing fits into the Administration's broader agenda.   

Mr. Miller explained a graph which illustrated the long decline in manufacturing employment since the late 1960's and the dramatic shift in the last decade with the loss of 4 million manufacturing jobs from 2000-2007. He also highlighted the recent nascent resurgence in the manufacturing sector with the addition of 250,000 new manufacturing jobs from December 2009 to April 2011 and remarked that we should be cautiously optimistic. Nearly 100 percent of this job growth occurred in four industries (i.e., fabricated metals, machinery, transportation equipment, and primary metals) which are the same areas that represented 50 percent of the manufacturing job losses in the downturn of the recession. In addition, these four industries mostly driven by business investment only represent about 25 percent of the manufacturing sector which indicates that important national industries such as technology equipment have not seen any employment growth.   

Mr. Miller summarized the current political dialogue which is focused on the surging competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector and the nexus between innovation and manufacturing. He stressed the criticality of supporting the momentum of more companies choosing to locate in the United States. In describing the Administration's Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing, Mr. Miller remarked how these topics have been a priority since 2009 in support of the President's goal to support growth, investment, innovation, and job creation in the manufacturing sector. For example, the Recovery Act spurred billions of dollars in investment, and a new partnership with the Skills for America's Future and the National Association of Manufacturers to help train the next generation of the manufacturing workforce will be announced on June 8, 2011.   

The Administration's advanced manufacturing focus covers the effectiveness of our R&D resources, accelerating the commercialization of new technologies, and training the next generation workforce. Macro policies which are important to all sectors of the economy, such as trade and tax, are not advanced manufacturing-specific issues relevant for today's discussion. In helping Dr. Gallagher define the future of advanced manufacturing, the VCAT should focus on at least two important topics which are relevant to NIST as well as the Administration: 1) commercializing product technologies, including models for public-private sector collaboration on pre-competitive technologies that will bring together the capabilities and assets from across industry along with one or two examples of priority technology areas; and 2) developing shared "innovation infrastructure" in support of small businesses by identifying the core challenges facing suppliers and the needed infrastructure to address these challenges with opportunities for leadership by large companies.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • Reasons for employment growth in the machinery industry since 2009 needs further exploration.
  • The adjective "advanced" is used with manufacturing to reflect more process technology rather than the product itself.
  • It is challenging to narrow down a single Administration's goal relative to improving U.S. manufacturing because of its diversity. Some metrics for success could include investments, R&D expenditures behind innovative technologies, trade exports, and job creation.
  • When thinking about advanced manufacturing, a balance is needed between investing in next generation technology and in areas that can be broadly applied to today's industries to help them move forward and progress.
  • Effectiveness of R&D refers to the choices being made in allocating resources to meet industry needs as well as the broad knowledge needs of the core science and technology agencies.
  • The Administration's references to small business and suppliers were clarified.
  • Some of the VCAT members described their company's success stories involving shared resources as possible models for collaboration.
  • There is an on-going debate which differs by industry about the importance of proximity for design and research activities to the actual product manufacturer.
  • A sustainable long-term strategy for advanced manufacturing that leads to U.S. economic growth is challenging and involves the right balanced portfolio for investments and the right models.

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

National Wireless Initiative – Mr. Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

Presentation Summary– In his introductory remarks, Dr. Gallagher noted that Mr. Chopra, who is involved in nearly every technology issue of importance to the Administration and has been very focused on public safety, will explain the process for how the VCAT can make the maximum contribution in this area. Mr. Chopra expressed his appreciation to the VCAT for agreeing to step up, engage, and focus on the challenges of our public safety community with respect to broadband communications. His presentation focused on the expectations for the VCAT Subcommittee on Public Safety Networks, the criticality of their input, and how this input fits into the President's overall National Wireless Initiative (Wi3).     

Mr. Chopra summarized the main elements of the Wi3 which the President unveiled in Marquette, MI, on February 10, 2011. The plan calls for voluntary incentive auctions with the goal of freeing up 500 megahertz of spectrum; $5 billion investment incentives to cover 98 percent of spectrum with 4G wireless coverage; a $10.7 billion investment to build a nationwide interoperable, secure, and reliable public safety broadband network as well as the reallocation of the D Block; and a $3 billion innovation fund for basic R&D, test beds, and public sector application development. The $10.7 billion investment includes $500 million specifically directed to NIST. In support of the premise that the Wi3 will boost productivity in the public sector, Mr. Chopra presented a graphic produced by the McKinsey Global Institute and noted that a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that "data-driven decision-making" boosts productivity in firms five to six percent.   

Mr. Chopra reviewed the technical requirements and examples of important attributes for addressing public safety which were identified in a summit held last fall with members of the public safety community, technology sectors, and others. The public safety network must be 1) hardened, secure, and interoperable; 2) survivable; 3) evolve with commercial networks; and 4) dynamic to allow public safety controls. Important attributes include mission-critical voice; public safety packet prioritization; security and authentication capabilities; and a 'survivable core" as noted in a December 2010 report by the President's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST).   

Turning to the role of the VCAT, Mr. Chopra noted the importance of listening to the public safety community in developing a recommended set of attributes or desired functionalities for the public safety network architecture. He also emphasized the need for frugality when addressing the attributes and provided several anecdotes involving open innovation models such as NYC 311 and the SeeClickFix platform used in Maynor, Texas, as well as reverse innovation models such as Darmouth's $300 House Campaign and General Electric's portable heart monitor.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

  • DARPA's involvement in the Wi3 and its current Transformative Apps program.
  • Network sharing for cost effective delivery is important.
  • Video is also an important attribute for discussion.
  • Apps available from Federal databases need to be secure and reliably authenticated for use by first responders.
  • A robust architecture is needed to support authentication for different levels of authority.
  • Resources for network development will be available to local and regional entities.
  • Open innovation frameworks and crowd sourcing should be considered for rapid technology development.  
  • With regard to the timeline, the WIN legislation is expected to pass by the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with funding available to NIST and others on October 1, 2011. The evaluation framework for the public safety network is needed soon to inform the procurement process. Identifying the gaps and developing a model to address these gaps is also critical.

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

Concurrent VCAT Subcommittee Meetings

The VCAT Subcommittee on Manufacturing reviewed its purpose and operations and received presentations on manufacturing activities at NIST; models of innovation for advanced manufacturing including the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) program; and the role of small and medium manufacturers. Discussion sessions followed each of these presentations.   

The VCAT Subcommittee on Public Safety Networks reviewed its purpose and operations and heard presentations from external individuals on the drivers for public safety networks followed by a discussion session.

Wrap-Up Discussion and Plans for Future Activities:  Progress Reports from the VCAT  

Presentation Summary–Dr. Taub, Chair of the VCAT Subcommittee on Manufacturing, reviewed the group's consensus definition of "advanced manufacturing" along with examples of drivers, sectors, technology enablers, and the refined goal of advanced manufacturing programs. He also summarized several assumptions about the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) program which will be industry-led and expected to drive manufacturing competiveness in the United States by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technologies into the private sector. With regards to next steps, the Subcommittee will seek participation from a representative of a cross-cutting consortium to work with the other volunteers who are serving as consultants. Teleconference calls will be made over the coming months with the first one scheduled near the end of July with the goal of delivering recommendations on AMTech to the full VCAT at the October 2011 meeting. The Subcommittee will meet at the October VCAT meeting to explore how NIST programs support the Nation's advanced manufacturing agenda.  

Dr. Cerf, Chair of the VCAT Subcommittee on Public Sector Networks, reviewed the Subcommittee's twofold charge and its objectives to provide: 1) recommendations on the key architectural elements for the next generation wireless network that takes into account public sector needs; and 2) comments and recommendations for establishing and structuring a NIST program in this area. Although the subcommittee meeting focused mostly on the key architectural elements, the group recognized the importance of the Boulder testbed to this effort. Dr. Cerf also described some of the conceptual features under consideration and the underlying notions. The tactical plan and future actions include identifying additional consultants to review and comment on draft ideas with face to face meetings and teleconferences over the summer.

Discussion – The group discuss the following topics:

There is a movement toward "unified communications."

The concept of shared resources is addressed under affordability. Segmented outputs from the Subcommittees were encouraged rather than waiting to consolidate the recommendations in the VCAT Annual Report.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 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 October 3, 2011, Updated September 9, 2021