ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Defense Standardization Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

DoD Agency Achievements Reflect Strong Partnership with Voluntary Consensus Standards Community

New York, Jul 08, 2002

Fifty years ago, Congress passed a law establishing an agency within the Department of Defense (DoD) with the lofty goal of streamlining its myriad standardization activities. For the ANSI Federation, the Defense Standardization Program's (DSP) Golden Anniversary represents a valuable public-/private-sector partnership that has strengthened over time.

In his congratulatory letter to the DSP, the Institute's president and chief executive officer, Dr. Mark Hurwitz, CAE, commented on the "positive, cooperative relationship" between the two organizations that has resulted in substantial cost savings to the federal government and U.S. taxpayers. Hurwitz attributed this to the DSP's "vigorous support of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act and aggressive implementation of MilSpec Reform." As a result, nearly 3,500 military specifications were converted to voluntary consensus standards in the last eight years.

In addition, since the DSP's creation in 1952, Hurwitz noted that the DoD has led all other federal agencies in its efforts to "maximize resources" in its partnership with the private-sector both domestically and internationally. The DSP's cooperation with standards-setting organizations around the world ensures the interoperability of product, systems and personnel that "assist in protecting our nation and collaborating with allies in global peacekeeping efforts."

At the recent ceremony for the 2002 DSP Achievement Awards, Allen W. Beckett, the DoD's Principal Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness, pointed out the value of standards in America's war against terrorism. He noted that many of the military operations in and around Afghanistan are conducted jointly with several different allied forces involved simultaneously, and pointed out the need to supply food, armaments and other materials to troops deployed in very distant locations, with little or no local supply infrastructure. "None of these…operations would have been possible if it were not for common fuel, coupling, and communications standards." Many of these documents have been developed as a result of the close partnership between the federal government and voluntary consensus standards community. [For more on the DSP Awards, please refer to the ANSI Online News item, "Department of Defense Says Standards Help Protect National Security."]

The DSP team celebrated its Golden Anniversary on July 1st, fifty years after Congress passed the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act. Initially named the Defense Supply Management Agency, the DSP is housed in the current Defense Logistics Agency, headed by Vice-Admiral Keith Lippert. The DSP was initially charged with increasing interoperability through the development and use of a single set of specifications that would reduce overlap and duplication, and this continues to be its primary mission.

The DSP director, Gregory Saunders, reflected on the benefits of standardization that have contributed to operational effectiveness, reduced costs, improved logistics support and increased reliability for the nation's armed forces. He cited the B-52 bomber, rolled out fifty years ago and still in use today thanks in part to DSP specifications that have allowed for upgrades in avionics and data link communications as well as inspection tests to ensure the structural integrity of the aircraft, scheduled to remain in service for the next forty years.

The partnership between the private- and public-sectors stretches back to 1918, when the Departments of War and Navy joined with the Department of Commerce and five professional societies to establish a national body to coordinate national standards development activities. The American National Standards Institute is the product of this partnership. The Institute will continue to support the efforts of the DSP and related federal agencies serving the interests of American citizens and our allies abroad.

For more information on the DSP's 50th Anniversary, please review the agency's special Golden Anniversary issue of the DSP Journal .

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