MEMORANDUM FOR Board on Assessment and its Panels

From: Robert E. Hebner

Acting Director

Subject: 1998 Charge to the National Research Council Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

Welcome to NIST. Thank you in advance for your contribution of time and effort to the technical review of our Measurements and Standards Laboratories. The experiences and insights you bring to the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Assessment of NIST Programs review process are valued by me, the NIST Laboratory Directors, and our staff scientists. Your reports are used by NIST management in carrying out our Laboratories' mission to promote the U.S. economy and public welfare by providing technical leadership for the Nation's measurement and standards infrastructure, and assuring the availability of essential reference data and measurement capabilities.

Measurements and standards are playing an increasingly important role in our Nation's economic future as it enters an era of the global electronic marketplace. A market that links measurements to acceptance of products and services, and requires information technology standards for interoperability, is driving U.S. industry to demand state-of-the-art measurement services and standards. A key component of NIST's plan to meet this challenge is the Facilities Master Plan. This ambitious undertaking, focused on new construction and major renovations, is urgently needed to maintain and strengthen NIST's world-class facilities that are critical to ensuring its continued technical leadership nationally and internationally.

This year marks the first full year of government-wide implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). For GPRA, peer review is a valued component of the process for measuring the performance of the NIST Measurements and Standards Laboratories. NIST feels that the present NRC review process of its laboratories, by its independence and high level of technical oversight, is well suited to this task. Since the final report of the Board on Assessment addresses the broad

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