ISO/IEC JTC 1                                                         
Information Technology                                                

ISO/IEC  JTC 1 N 5909                   

DATE:  1999-10-01     


National Body Contribution                                            

US National Body Contribution on JTC 1 Strategic Planning             

US National Body                                                      


This document is circulated to JTC 1 National Bodies for review and   
consideration at the November 1999 JTC 1 meeting in Seoul.            


DUE DATE:            

DISTRIBUTION:  P and L Members                                             


DISKETTE NO.:            

NO. OF PAGES:  7         

Secretariat, ISO/IEC JTC 1, American National Standards Institute, 11 
West 42nd Street, New York, NY  10036; Telephone:  1 212 642 4932;    
Facsimile:  1 212 840 2298; Email:                 

US National Body Contribution on JTC 1 Strategic Planning

The US offers this contribution in response to JTC 1 N 5757, "Requestfor National Body Input on Strategic Planning", from the JTC 1 Rio Resolution32.  The US National Body notes with concern:

This contribution is intended to address three objectives:

  1. Better position JTC 1 to be the preeminent leader in information technologystandardization by continuing and improving JTC 1's market relevance ininformation technology standardization.
  2. Ensure that the structure of JTC 1 is simple, efficient and easy to administer,yet retains the value of JTC 1 standards.
  3. Offer a faster and more efficient way to function while maintaining financialviability into the next millennium.

To meet these objectives the US offers two strategies.

Maintain Current Product

JTC 1 should maintain its current product -- formal, consensus-basedInternational Standards -- but should encourage changes to the processto make their introduction more efficient and effective. The US considersthe creation of formal standards and technical reports essential to ourindustry and believes these products should continue to be the basis ofour ongoing work, rather than expanding the JTC 1 product line to includelower-consensus documents.

Establish Simplified Two Level Structure

JTC 1 should be organized in just two levels.  All technical workshould be done at a single Technical Group level to encourage greater responsibilityand productivity.  This structure would encourage Technical Groupsto investigate and explore opportunities to progress their work and helpensure that projects will have greater market relevance. The responsibilitiesof a Technical Group should include:

The JTC 1 Technical Groups would report to the JTC 1 Executive Group, whoseresponsibilities include:

 Management of the overall JTC 1 program of work
 Creation and approval of new Technical Groups and their associated scopes

Approval of FDIS and all managerial and policy decisions
 Evaluation of the progress of the Technical Groups

Establishment of liaisons with ISO and IEC groups outside of JTC 1

Much of the process of JTC 1 would remain unchanged under this proposal. The US proposes, however, major changes in the areas of membership, voting,project management and fees.


The US believes that the National Body process should be preserved atthe management level.  Membership in the JTC 1 Executive Group wouldtherefore be limited to National Bodies, with provision for information(current Category B) liaisons. The US notes that long and fruitful relationships between JTC 1 and its current Category A liaisons, and suggests that mechanisms be investigated in the spirit of this proposal to maintain the effective working relationships.

Membership in the Technical Groups should be open to all materiallyaffected entities such as National Bodies, companies, user groups, consortia,trade associations and government agencies. The US believes that openingthe technical process to the widest possible input would make JTC 1 moreattractive to those directly affected, and would produce more market-relevantstandards.  While JTC 1 has initiated a number of mechanisms to broadenthe base of JTC 1 technical input, none have proven effective.  Thisproposal seeks to provide a simpler and more responsive mechanism to openJTC 1 to the large body of work currently in process throughout the industry. It does so by granting a "seat at the technical table" for those with demonstratedinterests.  It also recognizes, through the continued inclusion ofNational Bodies in the technical process, the importance of representationfor materially affected interests who do not choose to participate directlyat the international level.  As with the JTC 1 Executive Group, informationliaisons would be allowed.

By providing direct participation rights to all materially affectedparties, the US believes that the need for other classes of external liaisonhas been eliminated.  Additionally, there would no longer be a needfor the PAS process since prospective PAS submitters could join any TechnicalGroup and directly submit new project proposals.


The voting mechanisms for the above structure would also be done attwo levels.  All Technical Group level votes through FCD would becast by Technical Group members only.  JTC 1 Executive Group votes,which would be cast by National Bodies, would be for final approval ofstandards  (FDIS) and policy matters.   FDIS balloting wouldbe accompanied by the ballot comments from the Technical Group.  Theprinciple of "one member, one vote" would be preserved for both the JTC1 Executive Group and Technical Group levels.

Project Management

To expedite the introduction of new work, Technical Groups would beempowered to introduce new projects that are within their approved scopes. Once approved, the Technical Group would notify the JTC 1 Executive Groupto ensure that all National Bodies and other interested parties have theopportunity to participate.  This notification would include an estimatedproject time line.  Work would go forward in the Technical Group unlesscontested by a National Body at the JTC 1 Executive Group. Work that isoutside the scope of existing Technical Groups would require approval bythe JTC 1 Executive Group and may necessitate the establishment of a newTechnical Group.

Technical Groups would be required to provide annual reports which describethe progress and any deviations in the time line as stated in the approvedproject.

Fee Structure

Secretariat support and National Body infrastructure costs are increasingwhile the revenue from the sale of standards is decreasing.  Becauseof this, many national bodies find it difficult to assume leadership rolesin JTC 1.  It is therefore necessary to find a more equitable wayof funding JTC 1 and of distributing Secretariat responsibilities. With the expanded membership in Technical Groups, JTC 1 has the opportunityto establish a better funding philosophy.

The US recommends that each Technical Group be financially supportedby its members.  While a National Body Secretariat retains the responsibilityfor the financial operation of the Technical Group, materially interestedparties would be assessed a fee for their membership.  Since the feewould be a fixed amount for all members and across all Technical Groups,the resources required by a Secretariat will vary.  National Bodieswould be exempt from paying fees.

The US also recommends that payment of fees should be structured sothat members could pay fees in one of two methods. Members could eitherpay a fee for each Technical Group in which they participate, or pay asingle universal fee to cover membership in an unlimited number of TechnicalGroups.   The collection and disbursement of the membership feeswould be as follows:

Single Technical Group Membership fees would be paid to the Secretariatfor that Technical Group.  That Secretariat, in turn, would remita percentage (e.g. 10%) of that fee to the Secretariat for the JTC 1 ExecutiveGroup.
 Universal membership fees would be paid to the Secretariat for the JTC1 Executive Group.  That Secretariat, in turn, would distribute apercentage (e.g. 90%) of that fee in equal increments to each of the TechnicalGroup Secretariats.

The US believes that the universal membership fee should be less than thesum of the single membership fees for all Technical Groups.


The US National Body believes the issues facing JTC 1 are significantand require immediate action.  As this proposal is substantial, itis imperative that initial steps be taken now and completed by the JTC1 Plenary in Norway.  We expect the breakout session in Seoul to resultin firm decisions to be incorporated in the Directives for the approvalof ISO and IEC.

The US National Body remains firmly committed to maintaining a strongJTC 1.  We believe the swift implementation of our proposals willensure the preeminent leadership of JTC 1 in information technology standardizationand request the support of all National Bodies.