redirection and the elimination of barriers to implementing congressional mandates, lack metrics and bench marks for gauging performance, and consider strategies as permanent documents rather than as plans subject to continual change.
Recent national events--NIST's new role as a centerpiece of the administration's civilian technology initiative, the appointment of a new NIST director, and proposals to Congress that NIST's funding be significantly increased--have dictated that NIST revisit its strategic planning in a major way. Given the administration's new expectations for NIST, the Board believes that its fiscal year 1992 recommendations for strategic planning by NIST's major laboratories require even more urgent attention now.
The VCAT's “Framework for Operating Unit Planning” emphasizes situation analysis, development of a strategic vision, and identification of external drivers and key customers. These parameters of strategic planning encompass the concepts recommended by the Board.
In its fiscal year 1992 assessment, the Board alerted NIST to signs of the erosion of NIST's traditional core programs--e.g., standard reference data, instrumentation, calibration services, and related scientific and engineering research--that support the nation's measurement infrastructure. The Board argued (p. 8) that “NIST's unique ability to support U.S. industry either directly in the development of precompetitive technology or indirectly as lead laboratory for the nation's measurement infrastructure derives from NIST's hard-earned . . . leadership in science and engineering [research].”
The Board recommended (p. 2) that NIST “examine the strengths and weaknesses of its traditional programs that support industrial competitiveness to assure the necessary modernization of facilities and infusion of new talent and skills, . . . continue to phase out traditional activities that cannot be adequately supported or have lost their relevance, . . . [and] assess and provide for the levels of fundamental research needed in each of its programs, recognizing that fundamental long-term research sustains all of NIST 's functions.”