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.

Closing Remarks at U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day 2015

As prepared.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished colleagues, I'd like to thank you for such a wonderful evening. It's been great to have the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Thanks, as well, to our master of ceremonies, Dave Wilson, the CEA staff for administrating this fine event, and to ANSI and my co-chair and friend, Joe Bhatia.

And, at this time, I'd like to ask the World Standards Day Committee to stand and be recognized. Thank you for helping to make this evening a success.

Congratulations to James Williamson for winning this year's Ronald Brown Standards Leadership Award. A truly well-deserved honor.

And, if you may indulge me, I would like to also congratulate Dawn Marie Bailey, Jacqueline Deschamps, and the entire staff of the NIST Baldrige Performance Excellence Program for winning third place in the SES paper competition for their entry, "The Metrology of Organizational Performance: How Baldrige Standards have Become the Common Language for Performance Excellence Around the World." Well done.

Their paper was very well-linked to our theme tonight, "Standards—The World's Common Language."

Standards give people the power to come together and explore new ideas in new ways. Standards facilitate trade, simplify transactions, and enable us to work together toward greater common goals that cut across disciplines and borders.

While tonight we celebrate what's past, standards developers are always looking forward.

In particular, I'd like to mention a few relatively new programs we have under way at NIST that I think will have a broad reach—programs that some of you may soon be involved with, if you aren't already.

First, as Secretary Pritzker mentioned in her World Standards Day letter, we, and many of you, are working together to develop standards for the Internet of Things.

In addition, we are also working with the National Institute of Justice and a collaborative body that we've established called OSAC that includes more than 500 experts, to strengthen forensic science.

We have organized this body to coordinate the development of effective standards that will support scientifically sound methods and statistically valid test results across federal, state and local jurisdictions. Such standards are needed for facial identification (the Boston Marathon bomber), digital forensics (cybersecurity hackers), and pattern evidence (bullets from the Arizona Highway sniper), to name a few.

Once completed, these standards will enable forensic scientists to evaluate evidence according to well-understood criteria and quantify the confidence they have in their measurement results. These improvements will add rigor and serve to further increase confidence in our criminal justice system.

NIST is also launching a new measurement and standards effort in the rapidly changing arena of wireless communications.

We have recently created an entirely new technical entity dedicated to measurement and standards to support advanced communications: the new Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL).

First, CTL is working to improve public safety communications. The nation is building a nationwide, broadband wireless network to serve first responders. This will eliminate the interoperability problems that plague first responders during major crises (9-11, Katrina) that require that many jurisdictions work together.

CTL's second goal is to expand the nation's communications capacity through more efficient and effective sharing of spectrum.

Finally, I've directed CTL to investigate next-generation wireless networks so we can get ahead of the curve. The phone in your hand is likely 4G, and the industry is already beginning work on the 5G standard for launch at the end of the decade. 5G will embody a number of new technologies. One likely technology is the use of millimeter waves to open up new spectrum that can provide gigabit data rates. To support this, NIST has formed an international alliance with telecommunications companies and universities to model and measure wireless channels at these new frequencies.

So a standards developer's work will never be done! That's great job security.

And, from one standards geek to another, I want to thank all of you for being here tonight.

I'm looking forward to seeing where the future will take us.

Go get there effectively, efficiently and safely—WE NEED GLOBALLY HARMONIZED STANDARDS!

Created November 19, 2015, Updated October 1, 2016