The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) directs Federal agencies to adopt voluntary consensus standards wherever possible (avoiding development of unique government standards) and establishes reporting requirements. NIST roles have the following objectives:
OMB Circular A-119, revised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in January 2016, spells out the government strategy for standards development. It promotes agency participation on standards bodies, specifies reporting requirements on conformity assessment activities, and informs agencies of their statutory obligations related to standards setting.
NIST Guidance on Federal Conformity Assessment Activities (15 CFR Part 287) outlines Federal agencies’ responsibilities for using conformity assessment to meet respective agency requirements in an efficient and cost-effective manner for the agency and its stakeholders.
NIST is responsible for coordinating standards and conformity assessment activities and reporting government-wide progress annually to OMB.
Under NTTAA, Federal agencies are responsible for evaluating the efficacy of their conformity assessment activities. Each agency must coordinate its activities with those of other appropriate agencies and the private sector.
This applies to all federal agencies that set policy for, manage, operate, or use conformity assessment activities and results, both domestic and international—except activities carried out pursuant to treaties.