This is an interesting announcement. If you haven't seen it, the MITRE Corporation is joining the Web3D Consortium as a Directing Member. This means they get a seat on the board of directors and influence. To fully disclose, I am currently a professional member of that board finishing out another term, but that gets me a seat at the table. Directing Members have a lot of influence.
This is very good news for the consortium and for users of VRML and X3D technologies. MITRE gets considerable respect in the tight circles inside the Beltway and other procurement-driven centers. MITRE is already contributing technology as the announcement makes clear.
VRML/X3D continues to be the open IP-unencumbered technology that preserves the promises made at the dawning of the web to keep it open, accessible and cheap. In hard economic times, it is this savvy and essentially decent approach by companies and individuals that get us across the chasms by preserving choice.