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o Existing base funds and an additional $940,000 from FEA
will enable NBS to provide technical support to FEA
primarily in the following two areas:
Test method development;
Research on efficiency levels and targets.
NBS is preparing to carryout the following new programs
under the Act.
Development of procedures for evaluating used oil
(on a reimbursable basis from FTC).
Consultation with FEA on promotion of industrial
energy standards and on the establishment of
energy efficiency targets for the 10 most energy
No cost estimates for the additional programs
bave been prepared.
Plans for Implementation of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975
The Metric Conversion Act, P.L. 94-168, enacted December 23,
1975, provides that the policy of the United States shall
be to coordinate and plan for a voluntary changeover to
the metric system of weights and measures. The Act also
establishes an independent u.s. Metric Board to coordinate
the conversion. The Board will consist of 17 members,
all from the private sector.
Although the Department has no direct responsibility in
implementing this legislation, Section 11 provides that
Commerce may be called upon for administrative support
(i.e., budgeting, accounting, financial reporting,
personnel, and procurement) by the Board. The Department
would be reimbursed by the Board for such services.
Impact: on Departmental Operations:
The National Bureau of Standards has consulted GSA regarding
procedures for handling administrative details of such
independent boards prior to their receiving appropriations
and staff. It is possible that they will be called upon
for assistance because of their ongoing responsibilities
with maintaining the national measurement system, coordina-
ting metrication with state weights and measures officials,
and their international coordination through the National
Conference on Weights and Measures.
NBS also has a small (approximately $130,000) Metric Informa-
tion Office already in existence. No decision has yet been
made as to whether this office will be eliminated once the
Board starts functioning.
There will be a need to convert some Department operations
(e.g. NOAA maps and charts) to metric units now that a
policy has been established. However, the extent of the
changes, and their likely costs, have not yet been identified.
Status of Computer Data Standards Program at NBS
This program is the single source of Federal ADP
standards and is required by the "Brooks Act"
(P.L. 89-306) which authorizes the Secretary of
Commerce to recommend government-wide standards
for computers and information processing activities.
May 16, 1974 GAO report entitled "Emphasis needed
on Government's Efforts to Standardize Data Elements
and Codes for Computer Systems" stated that standardized
data elements and codes "could help reduce high costs
of Federal computer operations by eliminating unnecessary
duplication and incompatibilities in collecting, process-
ing, and disseminating data.
GAO further concluded that the Secretary of Commerce
should determine where standards would be most beneficial
and established standardization priorities.
The Secretary of Commerce, according to GAO, should
also issue policy on theory and terminology and
provide for preparation of guidelines, methodology, and
criteria to be followed by Agencies in their standardiza-
• In order to carryout its assigned responsibilities, NBS
will produce required Federal Information Processing
Standards (FIPS) and guidelines in the following areas:
NBS will develop practices and procedures for use
by other Federal agencies in producing higher quality
NBS will develop methodology for testing and evaluating
existing computer programs.
o During 1977, NBS plans to complete the development of
15 additional FIPS and guidelines which will include
four data standards (codes for cities, towns and
places, water bodies, and sudivisions and countries)
two standards for computer magnetic storage media
one standard on use of computer system benchmarking
one standard or guid ine for print quality of optical
character recognition characters.
Computer software will be developed to automatically
measure the quality factors in COBOL and FORTRAN applica-
A software simulator will be developed for use in evaluating
performance of computer programs.
Technical specifications will be produced for use by other
Federal agencies in procuring software products.
NBS Study of the Economic Effects of Corrosion
The Senate Appropriation Committee Report dated
July 24, 1975 directed that "within the funds provided,
the National Bureau of Standards shall embark upon a
study of the economic effects of corrosion."
The National Commission on Materials Policy estimated
losses of $15 billion annually directly attributable to
An estimated 40% of all steel production in the United
States is used to replace corroded parts and products.
The Federal government, alone, sustains 10% of these
An annual savings of $5 billion could be realized
by applying existing knowledge and technology to
corrosion prevention techniques.
Goals and Objectives of NBS Program
NBS will conduct an economic study of the effects on
corrosion in the United States.
The irreducible costs of corrosion to the U.S. economy
will be determined by applying existing prevention
NBS will monitor the application of these practices to
determine how closely the irreducible costs are approached.
An economist will be hired (as a consultant) to assist
NBS in the coordination and design of the "Economic
Study on Corrosion" - • late May, 1976.
The responsibility of designing and monitoring the
study, as well as evaluating the final report, will be
assigned to a non-profit organization - - - July, 1976.
Once the study is designed, and proposals for conducting
the study are reviewed a contract will be awarded
The study should be completed by March, 1977.
The final report will be evaluated during the months
of March June, 1977.
Estimated Staff Costs..
$20,000 $20,000 $60,000 $100,000
50,000 200,000 250,000 $20,000 $70,000 $260,000 $350,000
Summary of OT Program Redirection
The 1976 budget reflected a proposed consolidation of the
Office of Telecommunications with the National Bureau
of Standards. This consolidation proposal was based on:
The similarity of the technical work
performed by the two agencies.
Administrative efficiencies achievable
because of the co-location of the lab-
oratories of both agencies in Boulder,
An opportunity to correct an imbalance in
the OT program between its directly funded
work ($1.3 million) and its reimbursable work
($10.6 million) through merger with the
Subsequent to the House hearing on the 1976 budget at
which the proposal was discussed in depth, the Committee
issued a Report, on June 20, 1975, which passed over the
proposal without prejudice. The Committee cited the fact
that the authorizing committee (House Interstate and
Foreign Commerce) had the matter under review.
On July 10, 1975, Rep. Torbert Macdonald, Chairman of the
Subcommittee on Communications, and Rep. Timothy Wirth,
representing Boulder, Colorado, wrote to Secretary Morton
to express concern about the proposed consolidation. This
letter expressed the belief that the merger would downgrade
the role of Telecommunications at a time when that role
should be given more emphasis.
Secretary Morton replied on July 16, indicating that he had
decided not to implement the consolidation. This letter
also indicated that the Department's telecommunications
goals and programs would be reviewed to determine how the
Department might best support the telecommunications industy.
In late July, a joint OT-DIBA task force was formed to
determine problems and develop a coordinated program
strategy in the following areas:
Reversal of negative U.S. balance of
trade in telecommunications;
"One-stop" service to help the private
Accelerated application of R&D results into
new products and services.
After consulting with and visiting numerous telecommunica-
tions firms and associations, the task force submitted a
report to the Secretary on October 31, 1975.
The task force reported that the telecommunications
industry is characterized by: (1) rapid technological
change; (2) severe competition; (3) a rapidly increasing
demand for existing services; and (4) interest in new
types of services at reasonable cost.
Regarding its three specific areas of investigation, the
task force reported that:
Additional promotional efforts by DIBA aimed
at improving the balance of trade in tele-
communications could not be done without
significant additional funding. Since DIBA
has already expanded its foreign marketing
services to the telecommunications industry,
this increased program was not recommended.
Establishment of a "one step" telecommunications
service would not be desirable since the
industry itself did not favor such a move.
Additional work should be done by OT to
stimulate new applications of telecommunica-
tions technology, to transfer existing tech-
nology from Government to the private sector,
and to improve the technological basis for
Specific new applications suggested by OT include:
Acceleration of the introduction of broadband
(cable) communications for non-entertainment
purposes, such as education and health.
Stimulating the development of direct satellite
communications systems using small earth stations
in place of the current large, and expensive,
Stimulating the development and application of
fiber optics for use within building complexes
as non-common carrier communications systems.
Improving the efficiency of land mobile radio
systems (citizens band and paging systems) in
terms of frequency spectrum use.
1977 Budget Implications:
The 1977 OT budget is $1,414,000. This represents no increase
over the 1976 level except for cost of living.
The budget justification does indicate, however, that the 1977
telecommunications application program will be redirected to
focus existing resources ($241,000) on the direct satellite
communications project outlined in the task force report. o This work will be started in 1976 through reprogramming.
The Committee will be notified of this action in the near