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Standards Executive Resources

Federal Standards-Related Policies and Guidance | Federal Standards-Related Statutes | Incorporation by Reference | Recommendations from the Administrative Conference of the United States | Federal Agency Training


Federal Standards-Related Policies and Guidance

Federal Standardization Manual
The Federal Standardization Manual (2000) provides acquisition guidance to ensure consistency and relevance of product information along with guidance for the development of federal product descriptions, consisting of federal specifications and more.

OMB Circular A-119: Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities
Establishes policies on Federal use and development of voluntary consensus standards and on conformity assessment activities. OMB issued this revision of the Circular in order to make the terminology of the Circular consistent with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA).

Analysis Model for Selection of Private Sector Consensus IT Standards
Analysis model includes applicability, availability, completeness, implementation, interoperability, legal considerations, maturity, source, and stability.

Guidance on Federal Conformity Assessment Activities (15 CFR Part 287)
Final policy guidance on Federal agency use of conformity assessment activities. The provisions are solely intended to be used as guidance for agencies in their conformity assessment activities and do not preempt the agencies’ authority and responsibility to make regulatory procurement decisions authorized by statute or required to meet programmatic objectives and requirements.

ICSP Procedures in Accordance with Section 413 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-39)
These procedures provide a mechanism for the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP) to initiate implementation of  the requirements of Section 418 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.

Memorandum for the General Counsel, Office of Government Ethics, August 24, 1998, Application of 18 U.S.C. § 208 to Service by Executive Branch Employees on Boards of Standard-Setting Organizations
Under 18 U.S.C. § 208, a federal employee may serve as a member of the board of a private voluntary standards organization to the extent necessary to permit participation in his or her official capacity in the organization's standard-setting activities.

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on the Principles for Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities
Issued by OSTP, USTR, and OMB, this Memo clarifies principles guiding Federal Government engagement in standards activities that can help address national priorities.

Principles for Federal Engagement in Standards Activities to Address National Priorities, October 2011
Provides a high-level overview of the current legal and policy framework for government engagement in private-sector standards activities and describes how the government engages in these activities.


Federal Standards-Related Statutes

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (P.L. 104-113) (NTTAA)
Requires Federal agencies to adopt private sector standards, wherever possible, in lieu of creating proprietary, non-consensus standards and directs NIST to bring together Federal agencies as well as state and local governments to achieve greater reliance on voluntary standards and decreased dependence on in-house standards.

Compactors and Balers Safety Standard Modernization Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-174)
Explains responsibility of employers to make the initial determination that equipment to be loaded by 16- and 17-year-olds meets appropriate ANSI standards.

Consumer Product Safety Act (P.L. 92-573)
Addresses CPSC's use of consumer product safety standards. Among other things, the Act requires CPSC to rely on voluntary consumer product safety standards where feasible rather than promulgate its own standards.

Fastener Quality Act (P.L101-592) (As amended by P.L.104-113 and P.L. 105-234 and P.L. 106-34)
Requires that certain fasteners sold in commerce conform to the specifications to which they are represented to be manufactured; provides for accreditation of laboratories engaged in fastener testing; and requires inspection, testing, and certification, in accordance with standardized methods, of fasteners used in critical applications.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Modernization Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-115)
Contains a number of standards-related provisions that pertain to the regulation of food, drugs, devices, and biological products.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1995 ( P.L. 104-191) (HIPAA)
Contains general requirements for adoption of standards.

Homeland Security Act of 2002
Addresses a number of Homeland Security and Law Enforcement standards-related issues. Among other things, it establishes the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Justice and authorizes it to develop and maintain performance standards in accordance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act and to test and evaluate law enforcement technologies that may be used by Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. It also authorizes the Office to establish and maintain a program to certify, validate, and mark or otherwise recognize law enforcement technology products that conform to standards established and maintained by the Office.

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002
SEC. 1115. Participation of Personnel in Technical Standards Development Activities - modifies subsection (d) of section 12 of the NTTAA of 1995 by addressing expenses of government personnel.

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Public Law 114-328
SEC. 875. Use of Commercial or Non-government Standards in lieu of Military Specifications and Standards
This legislation requires DoD acquisition programs to use non-government standards unless a waiver is obtained.  It adds specific requirements that support this section including: requiring standards and specification reform information in training and educational materials, working with industry groups to develop non-government standards including replacements for military specifications, negotiating and sharing of standards licenses within DoD and requiring specific revisions to the DFARS.

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) (P.L. 91-596)
Addresses a number of issues related to the development, adoption and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards.

Public Law 107-107 107th Congress
SEC. 1115. Participation of Personnel in Technical Standards Development Activities - modifies subsection (d) of section 12 of the NTTAA of 1995 by addressing expenses of government personnel.

Standards Development Organization Advancement Act OF 2004 (SDOAA) (P.L. 108–237)
This law extends the anti-trust liability limitations of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993 (NCRPA) to standards developing organizations that file for protection.

Telecommunications Act of 1996 (P.L 104-104)
Enhanced FCC's ability to regulate telecommunication services in a number on standards-related areas.

Trade Agreements Act of 1979 - 19 U.S.C. 2531-2573), P.L. 96-39
The Trade Agreements Act of 1979, authorized the implementation of all agreements negotiated during the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Tokyo Round, including those relating to non-tariff barriers, also known as technical barriers to trade and/or standards-related barriers.   


Incorporation By Reference

Incorporation By Reference Handbook
Provides information to Federal agencies regarding Incorporation by Reference (IBR) which allows agencies to include technical and complex requirements in regulations when those requirements cannot be published in the Federal Register or Code of Federal Regulations.

Office of the Federal Register Rule on Incorporation by Reference – 1 CFR Part 51 
The Office of the Federal Register's Final Rule on Incorporation by Reference – 1 CFR Part 51 -  sets forth requirements for incorporating material into the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations. The rule was recently amended to require agencies to "...set out, in the preambles of their proposed and final rules, a discussion of the actions they took to ensure the materials are reasonably available to interested parties and that they summarize the contents of the materials they wish to incorporate by reference. "  The rule became effective on January 6, 2015.


Recommendations from the Administrative Conference of the United States

Incorporation by Reference (Recommendation 2011-5) 
Examines the current processes that federal agencies use to publish rules in the Code of Federal Regulations that refer to standards or other materials published elsewhere.  ACUS's report consolidates knowledge of how individual agencies use incorporation by reference, identifies best practices and provides recommendations on how to improve the process.

Agency Use of Third-Party Programs to Assess Regulatory Compliance (Recommendation 2012-7)
A look at current practices used by agencies to assess compliance with regulatory standards and other requirements.  Provides recommendations on determining whether and how to establish third-party programs to assess regulatory compliance.

Federal Agency Training
Providing no-cost training to the staff of federal, state, and local agencies who need to navigate or participate in standardization





Created October 7, 2016, Updated July 3, 2023