VCAT Annual Report 1993, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, January 1994). Because the NIST-level strategic planning was properly launched, the Board focused on recommendations for improving strategic planning within the major laboratories.

  • Major laboratory strategic planning should mirror the expectations of the new administration and the new NIST director.

  • Strategic planning should be integrated across laboratory boundaries.

  • Strategic planning should (1) anticipate the need for redirection and/or reductions in some programs, (2) identify tactics for overcoming barriers to achieving specified goals and objectives, (3) provide metrics for developing priorities, managing projects, and assessing impact, and finally (4) be a continuous process.

  • Laboratories should plan for the kind of laboratories they would like to be in 5 to 10 years rather than focus on current activities, expertise, and levels of resources.

  • Laboratories should adopt the “Framework for Operating Unit Planning” recommended by VCAT for strategic planning.

  • Laboratories should invite representative customers to collaborate in situation analysis, development of a strategic vision, and identification of external drivers (scientific, technical, and industrial trends) that create demand for NIST's products and services.

  • Laboratories should take advantage of changes in national priorities by involving clients, peer organizations, and technology policymakers in the planning process; emphasize competence building in the emerging technologies; and cultivate technical managers eager to be agents for change.


What is the health of NIST's data programs? Are long- and short-term user needs being met? Is the focus right? Is the balance between NIST's data programs and research and other services appropriate? (See Appendix D for a more extensive statement of the issues.)

The Standard Reference Data Program (SRDP) coordinates and sponsors retrieval of numerical data generated by research in the physical sciences in laboratories located throughout the world, evaluation of the accuracy of the data and resolution of discrepancies, and dissemination of data evaluations (through the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data, a joint

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