Two US government agencies have united forces to coordinate the creation of a new set of standards aimed at securing the process of routing of information between major Internet entities, such as Internet Service Providers, hosting providers, cloud providers, educational, research, and national networks.
The solution they developed is actually a collection of standards known collectively as Secure Inter-Domain Routing (SIDR).
SIDR is the first comprehensive effort of its kind aimed at improving the security of BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), an Internet networking protocol used to route information between large Internet networks.
The protocol works by each router advertising to its neighboring networks what IP blocks are available on its network. When data needs to travel from one network to another, the sending router selects the best neighboring router to send the data based on an internal score that describes each adjacent router's reliability. The protocol is a little bit more complex and we can't describe it here in full. You can read more about BGP here.
BGP's biggest problem is security, or its lack of. Developed in the late 1980s, security was not a major threat vector at a time before the Internet we know today, so it wasn't taken into consideration when building the original protocol.
Attackers of different sizes and with various intentions have abused the BGP protocol in attacks named BGP hijacks. These happen when an Internet entity (network) advertises to nearby networks that certain IP blocks are on its network when they aren't.
This allows the malicious network to receive traffic intended for other networks. For example, a rogue ISP could hijack traffic destined for Google's servers.
The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate have started working on addressing the problem of BGP hijacks a few years back.
While work on SIDR has been going on behind the scenes for years, recently, the people involved started publishing standards on the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) portal.
RPKI is a product of the IETF's SIDR Working Group, not NIST or DHS, but they are part of the final SIDR standard.
Most of the NIST and DHS proposed solutions have already gone through the first stage of the IETF standardizing process, which is "Internet Draft." Most are the stage of proposed RFC (Request For Comment), the last step before becoming an official Internet Standard.
You can read more about the SIDR on the project's homepage, in this project intro, and you can check out the IETF SIDR project page. NIST and DHS have separate project pages describing their efforts on SIDR.