In May of 2023, the White House published a document titled, “United States Government National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies.” The Executive Summary states:
Strength in standards development has been instrumental to the United States’ global technological leadership. Standards development underpins economic prosperity across the country and fortifies U.S. leadership in the industries of the future at the same time. Bolstering U.S. engagement in standards for critical and emerging technology (CET) spaces will strengthen U.S. economic and national security. The U.S. Government has long engaged in these standards development processes through an approach built on transparency, private sector and public sector leadership, and stakeholder engagement—a process that reflects the United States’ commitment to free and fair market competition in which the best technologies come to market. Government support for scientific research and development (R&D), an open investment climate, and the rule of law have also been critical for U.S. standards leadership. America’s workers, economy, and society have benefited significantly as a result, as have those of like-minded nations alongside which the United States has collaborated to forge technological progress.
Today, however, the United States faces challenges to its longstanding standards leadership, and to the core principles of international standard-setting that, together with like-minded partners, we have upheld for decades. Strategic competitors are actively seeking to influence international standards development, particularly for CET, to advance their military-industrial policies and autocratic objectives, including blocking the free flow of information and slowing innovation in other countries, by tilting what should be a neutral playing field to their own advantage.
The United States must renew our commitment to the rules-based and private sector-led approach to standards development, and complement the innovative power of the private sector with strategic government and economic policies, public engagements, and investments in CET. By supporting our unrivaled innovation ecosystem and related international standards development as part of a modern industrial strategy, we can ensure that CET are developed and deployed in ways that benefit not only the United States but all who seek to promote and advance technological progress. Strengthening the U.S. approach to standards development will lead to standards that are technologically sound, earn people’s trust, reflect our values, and help U.S. industry compete on a level playing field.
This strategy outlines how the U.S. Government will strengthen U.S. leadership and competitiveness in international standards development, and ensure that the “rules of the road” for CET standards embrace transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, coherence, and broad participation.