ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

Department of Defense Says Standards Help Protect National Security

DoD Honors Standardization Efforts at Annual Awards Ceremony

Washington, DC, Apr 24, 2002

During a ceremony held last week in Arlington, VA to honor the recipients of the 2002 Defense Standardization Program (DSP) Achievement Awards, a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) official stated that standards are "critical to the fight against terrorism."

The keynote speaker for the event, Mr. 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."

Mr. Beckett also referred to the problems that came to light on September 11th when many emergency response agencies were unable to communicate due to the use of different communications equipment and frequencies. "Because of the unfortunate lessons learned at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, local, state and federal emergency agencies are all looking for universally accepted, interoperability standards and equipment [to enable] radio and telephone communication…between responding units." [Editor's note: The full text of Mr. Beckett's keynote address is available from the What's New section of the DSP site at this address: Please see the news release dated 4/22/02.]

The DoD recognizes the crucial role that standards play in facilitating interoperability for the nation's armed forces. The agency's DSP awards were initiated to honor the significant achievements of standards experts whose contributions have led to greater mission readiness, improved operational capability and reduced costs for the U.S. military and its allies during the previous fiscal year. The 2002 award recipients include four individuals and three teams representing such diverse projects as the replacement of 30 military specifications (MilSpecs-a government term for standards) for sealants and elastomeric seals with voluntary consensus standards; the development of a Joint Precision Approach and Landing System; and new standards for relays, plastic semiconductors, radio software and survival radios. Meeting the award criteria demands a significant contribution to enhanced technical performance while also reducing government spending. DSP estimates that, in addition to increasing the effectiveness, safety and reliability of the systems involved, savings from the projects honored during the ceremony was more than $30 M.

Mr. Alan Fletcher, the winner of the DSP Distinguished Achievement Award and the accompanying $5,000 was recognized for his work with the Society of Automotive Engineers, and ANSI member and ANSI-accredited standards developer, replacing MilSpecs and moving to an industry operated qualification system. His work led to the elimination of both military and prime contractors' specifications, consolidating them into a single industry standard for various types of sealants resulting in lowered costs and improved quality for both the DoD and for industry. "Standardization is by definition a way to find common solutions to common problems and share them across programs," said DSP Office Director and ANSI board member, Gregory E. Saunders. "Working with industry to develop voluntary consensus standards not only increases jobs and contributes to the national economy, it also allows the DoD to function more cost effectively."

Attending the prestigious event was Oliver R. Smoot, chairman of the ANSI Board of Directors and president-elect 2002 of the International Organization for Standardization, a non-governmental, worldwide federation of national standards bodies to which ANSI is the U.S. national member body. Chairman Smoot noted, "In addition to honoring the contributions of standards experts to national defense, the DSP awards also recognize the value of government reliance on the voluntary consensus standards system to enhance performance and reduce costs. I believe the DSP practice of honoring both individual and group achievements demonstrates the value of accomplishing a complex project in diverse ways."

David Karmol, ANSI director of public policy and government affairs, also attended the event. He and Chairman Smoot were recognized as special guests during the ceremony. "The Department of Defense has always been a leader in the movement of government agencies to adopt and use voluntary consensus standards," he noted. "This program and the remarks made by Mr. Beckett point out the real value of consensus standards to our troops in the field. Institute members should be proud of the contribution they are making to the fight against terrorism." The mission of the DSP is to identify, influence, develop, manage and provide access to standardization processes, products and services for warfighters and the acquisition and logistics communities. In addition, the program promotes interoperability and assists in reducing total ownership cost and in sustaining readiness.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel