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U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day

Remarks as prepared.

Good evening. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate World Standards Day together with all of you, in person! Today marks the anniversary of my first month as NIST director, and I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate than with all of you and in this forum.

I am grateful to ANSI, for your close partnership with NIST, and for ANSI’s leadership role in the private sector’s standardization efforts. 

Joe [Bhatia], thank you for being a real partner to NIST and a standards leader, and also for serving as co-chair this evening. The ANSI-NIST relationship is a great example of the kind of public and private sector partnerships that make the U.S. standards system work. And this event is a testament to that!

Standardization plays an essential role in enabling a foundation of trust for new technologies, supporting innovation, and eliminating global barriers to trade. 

I want to take a moment and acknowledge a few people and organizations. 

I want to congratulate Dr. Ernest Grant, president of the American Nurses Association, as this year’s winner of the Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award. 

I want to recognize this year’s first place winner of the Society for Standards Professionals (SES) paper competition: Joseph Bocchiaro III of NV5 Engineering & Technology. Congratulations! 

I want to acknowledge the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for serving as the Administering Organization for World Standards Day this year. Our thanks to Jim Pauley and all the NFPA staff involved in that effort! 

And finally, I’d like the World Standards Day Committee to please stand so that we can acknowledge and applaud your hard work to make this event a success! 

At NIST, standards are central to what we do — it’s in our name. 

NIST supports standards development across an incredible range of topics from well-established disciplines to critical and emerging technology fields.

Over 570 NIST technical staff are engaged in over 300 standards organizations and more than 3,500 different standards activities in support of domestic and international priorities demonstrating our commitment to standards development.

We are proud of our sustained efforts in documentary standards setting over our history and the impact those efforts have had on society and our economy.

But there is always room to do better. The need for a robust presence in the international standards arena has never been so clear. As the pace of technology development and commercialization quickens and the global competition for technology leadership intensifies, our collective commitment to U.S. standards leadership is more important than ever.

With that, I commit to you that documentary standards development, participation and leadership will be a priority of mine going forward. I can assure you that you will have a good partner in me, and you can continue to count on NIST.

Our World Standards Day theme this year is “Standards for Sustainable Development Goals.” Each of the 17 goals for the world is lofty. And in some way, large or small, standards touch on all of them, making our water safe, our environment clean, and our food sources secure.

Innovation and economic security are central to those sustainable development goals and help ensure our quality of life. 

As new technologies converge and impact our lives, the role that standards play in innovation has never been more important and top of mind. 

We at NIST are hard at work on research and standards development in exciting areas such as quantum information systems, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and advanced communications. 

For instance, NIST is developing a framework to better manage risks to individuals, organizations and society associated with artificial intelligence (AI) by incorporating trustworthiness into the design, development and use of AI-enabled systems. The frameworks, guidance documents and standards that we work on every day are there to help build trust in new technologies.

And, as we all know, sustained engagement in the standards process creates understanding and also builds trust between people, organizations and the countries they represent. The standards setting process allows us all to build the relationships we need so that we can work toward consensus on the best technical solutions that benefit industry and society. 

Through this process we build important relationships, mutual respect and friendships that can last a lifetime. I see many friends in the audience that I have built as a result of the work we have done together.

Standards work is difficult. It takes technical competence, accurate data, patience, strong communications and solid negotiation skills. It takes a commitment to achieving results to balance the needs of many stakeholders. 

With the world is changing, it is important that we remain committed and strengthen our engagement in the development of high-quality standards with a focus on sustainability and security that will help us innovate and shape that new future, here in the U.S. and around the world. 

So thank you, each one of you, each organization, each company, each standards developing organization, for all that you do. My NIST colleagues and I look forward to continuing our work with you. 

Created May 25, 2022