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Did You Know....
The term “conformity assessment” describes any activity concerned with determining that relevant requirements are fulfilled.
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The Importance of Standards to Government

Federal, state and local governments use standards for regulation and procurement purposes and to accomplish different public policy objectives:

  • Regulation

    Governments worldwide are recognizing the importance of standards and their use for regulatory applications. In the United States, voluntary consensus standards are frequently referenced in regulations promoting health, safety, and protecting the environment.

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) requires that all federal agencies and departments use, wherever possible, technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies for regulation and procurement by the U.S. government.

    The Act (Public Law 104-113), signed into law in 1996, directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate with other federal agencies, state, and local governments and the private sector to achieve greater reliance on voluntary standards and less on regulations developed in-house. The NTTAA also encourages the participation of federal representatives in standards development to increase the likelihood that the standards will meet both public and private-sector needs.

  • Procurement

    Consistent with the mandate of the NTTAA, it is U.S. federal government policy to encourage procurement based on voluntary standards whenever possible. In fact, governments at all levels -- including states and local jurisdictions -- use standards in their role as purchasers of goods and services. Agencies at all levels have recognized that voluntary standards provide the government with sound technical solutions to safety and health problems without creating additional cost and operational burdens.

    For example, the U.S. Department of Defense purchases a wide range of technical, administrative and domestic goods, ranging from weapons to office supplies, machinery, uniforms and food products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also relies heavily on the private-sector voluntary consensus standards community to develop guidance documents and principles for use in making decisions on the procurement of goods and services that are environmentally preferable.

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2011 Schedule of Open Sessions