September 21, 2005
Dr. William Jeffrey
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
On behalf of the VCAT, I would like to again welcome you as the new NIST Director and to thank you and your staff for another engaging meeting held in Gaithersburg on September 14-15, 2005. We also would like to commend Hratch Semerjian for his outstanding leadership of NIST as Acting Director and express our gratitude for his strong support of our Committee.
We fully support your commitment to more closely examine and sharpen the NIST mission and goal as a crucial step for identifying the related core competencies at NIST. Furthermore, we commend your sense of urgency in reviewing these core competencies to help establish NIST's priorities and investment strategies and look forward to a progress report on these efforts at a future meeting. In addition, we are still eager to learn about NIST's strategy and tactics for implementing the Information Knowledge Management Strategic Focus Area where there is a huge opportunity for NIST research to make an even greater impact across industry sectors.
U.S. Measurement System (USMS)
We commend NIST for its ambitious plans to lead the huge USMS road mapping effort and to reaffirm its leadership role in the system. However, we continue to strongly encourage NIST to link these efforts with the Institute's vision and Strategic Plan.
We appreciate NIST's efforts in providing a presentation on the Homeland Security Strategic Focus Area in response to our request for progress on the implementation of the NIST Strategic Plan and our specific recommendations on this topic. We are very impressed with NIST's rapid response and extensive contributions to Homeland Security needs in a wide range of areas. However, we would have liked to have learned about the processes used by NIST to address some of the management concerns that were described to the Committee last December, such as priority-setting, cross-OU collaborations, and funding trends. NIST should provide this information in their future updates to the Committee in order to seek additional guidance from the members.
Response to the VCAT's FY 2004 Annual Report Recommendations
Since you have been the new NIST Director for such a short period of time, we recognize the challenge of responding to the VCAT's recommendations from our last annual report. We suggest that you provide the Committee with a more detailed progress report on our key recommendations at future meetings.
The laboratory tours continue to be extremely interesting and valuable. The demonstration of a ballistic-resistance body armor test and the full-scale fire test of a residential bed mattress illustrates NIST's important contributions in measurement science and standard development.
In the current environment of tight budget constraints, we are hopeful that your extensive background in government and science will help NIST remain at the forefront of promoting U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness. As always, the Committee is looking forward to the December meeting in Boulder . We encourage you to think of ways in which we can be of further help to you and to NIST.
April Schweighart, Chair
Visiting Committee on Advanced
cc: Senior Management Board