WASHINGTON – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after President Trump nominated Dr. Walter Copan to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the role of Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.

Chairman Smith: “I am pleased that President Trump has nominated Walter Copan to lead NIST. Because our federal systems are prime targets for cyber-attacks, it is crucial that we maintain and heighten cybersecurity. NIST has the expertise necessary to help protect our information systems and is the front line of defense against cyber-attacks on the federal government and private sector. Rep. Abraham’s NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act and Rep. Webster’s NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act capitalize on NIST’s standards and measures, which are vital to the global competitiveness of American manufacturing, information technology, telecommunications, energy, and other critical industries. 

“In addition, during the former administration, the Science Committee investigated multiple shocking events involving the agency, including illicit drug manufacturing at a NIST facility, which led to the discovery of a culture of misconduct. I look forward to working with the Trump administration and with Dr. Copan upon his confirmation to ensure these critical issues are addressed going forward and to carry out the president’s order that all federal agencies implement and abide by NIST’s cybersecurity regime.”


  • On May 2, the committee approved H.R. 2105, the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act of 2017.
  • On March 1, the committee approved H.R. 1224, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Assessment, and Auditing Act of 2017.
  • In September 2015, Chairman Smith sent a letter to former National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Willie May requesting documents and information after an explosion at a NIST facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland was caused by the manufacturing of the illegal drug methamphetamine.