The primary external advisory committee for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its annual report to Congress today, expressing support for the institute's efforts in cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, advanced communications, disaster resilience and safety.
The Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) reviews NIST's strategic direction, performance and policies, and provides the Secretary of Commerce, Congress and other stakeholders with its assessment of the value and relevance of NIST's programs to the U.S. science and technology base and to the economy.
The committee commended NIST's response to the recommendations outlined in its July 2014 report on the process by which the agency develops its cryptographic standards and guidelines. The committee also "supports NIST's continued focus on advanced manufacturing with an approach spanning research, collaboration, technology transfer and outreach across multiple programs."
Regarding advanced communications, the committee notes that NIST has a unique and critical role to support the metrology and measurement needs to foster an interoperable first responder network and to develop the partnerships to address spectrum sharing and next-generation communications. The report recognizes NIST's efforts to develop additional partnerships and external capacity in areas of national priority, particularly through NIST's new Centers of Excellence program.
In February 2015, NIST awarded a $20 million cooperative agreement to Colorado State University to establish the Community Resilience Center of Excellence. The committee recommends that NIST continue with its plans to address disaster resilience.
In its report, the committee also notes "steady improvement in safety performance and a positive change in the overall safety culture" at NIST.
The next VCAT meeting will be June 9 and 10, 2015, in Gaithersburg, Md. VCAT meetings are open to the public. More information on the committee, as well as previous reports, is available on the NIST website.