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Executive Summary At the request of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), through its Defense Science and Technology Reliance Group Sub-area for Materials and Processes, a committee was formed by the National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB) to organize and conduct a workshop on technical strategies for the adoption of commercial standards in defense procurement. The interest in ant! concern about this subject emerged as a result of developments in the area of materials and processing specifications and standards following the issuance of the Policy Memorandum by Secretary of Defense William Perry on June 29, 1994, "Specifications & Standards—A New Way of Doing Business." The full text of that memorandum is given in Appendix A. While the intent of the Perry memorandum was to reduce system acquisition costs and complexity, implementation of the policy had some mixed and perhaps unintended consequences in the area of specifications and standards for materials and processes over the ensuing years. The task of this workshop, which was held October 11-12, 2000, in Washington, D.C., was to examine the effects of the implementation of that policy memorandum to Late. The problems that hac! been introduced were to be clefined and actions were to be discussed that would allow taking better advantage of the opportunities available. It was not the committee' s assignment to develop inclepenclent conclusions or recommendations based on the workshop activities. Rather, it was tasked with organizing and conducting the workshop and then preparing a report. By the same token, the workshop participants did not develop consensus conclusions or recommendations. Accordingly, this report highlights the important points of the presentations and resulting discussions, with emphasis on the observations, subjects of consensus and/or disagreement, and suggestions made by the participants in the workshop. There were six sessions during the 2 days of the workshop. The 20 speakers who were invited to present their views on this subject had been carefully chosen to represent a broac! base of organizations critical to this area. Includes! were representatives of the DoD, the military services, other government agencies the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)— airframe and engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), materials suppliers, the nongovernment standards bodies (NGSBs) involved in the preparation and publication of the industry standards now being emphasized by the DoD, and selected individual consultants. During the course of the workshop, a number of very interesting and pertinent observations were made. One concern was brought up by a large number of participants that support for NGSBs and participation in their work by technical personnel are being noticeably reduced. The representatives of DoD agencies indicated that they hac! not been allocated sufficient funding by their organizations to allow their technical personnel to be involved with the various NGSB committees to ensure that DoD interests are represented. Industry support is also decreasing as a result of inadequate funding and the Toss of the skilled anti experienced personnel who would otherwise be expected to participate on the appropriate committees. The lack of technical support is further complicated by the fact that the cancellation of military specifications
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2 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications ant! Standards . . (MiTSpecs) and their replacement by industry consensus or commercial specifications are greatly increasing the workload of NGSBs. This increased workload will be compounded as time goes on, since the specifications must be continuously updated on a 5-year basis. In addition, for the necessary materials procurement documents to be made available in a timely manner, the time required to generate new and updated NGSB documents must be significantly reduced. It was pointed out that the acquisition reform initiative did not mandate that all military specifications be canceled, as some individuals in the DoD had mistakenly thought. Other observers saicl that some segments of industry had hac! little or no advanced warning of the cancellation of important military specifications and that they have not had sufficient information on DoD conversion plans. There were concerns expresser! about the potential risks involved in changing detail specifications to performance specifications. With the loss of experienced technical personnel in both industry and the DoD, such a change can be risky for both performance and reliability. The conversion of military and federal specifications to industry consensus documents on a word-for-word basis has been causing some confusion on the part of buyers and suppliers. Some OEMs even questioned the value of canceling military specifications at all since they are so widely used in industry. They expressed concern that the cost of providing and maintaining the documents would be transferred to industry. Another concern that was brought up frequently was that the DoD was not continuing to provide Tong-term support for military handbooks such as Metallic Materials and Elements for Aerospace Vehicle Structures (more commonly referred to as MIL-HDBK-5) and the Composite Materials Handbook MIL 17 (MIL-HDBK-1 7), which are sources of reliable and statistically valid data on metals and composites. Without those documents, there is concern as to the validity of mechanical property data used in specifications for those materials. In light of the problems that arose as a result of the many actions taken in recent years, industry and the DoD might benefit from several changes, including providing adequate funding directly to the organizations responsible for supporting the NGSB activities. The workshop produced several common themes, identifier! a key barrier to the military use of commercial materials and process specifications, and identified keys to the rapist insertion of commercial technology. The common themes across all sessions of the workshop were as follows: . . While the military can and does make use of many commercial items, certain military-unique items exist and will continue to require military-unique specifications that are best prepared and coordinated within military organizations of the DoD. Although contractors are scrambling to recover, the recent wholesale cancellation of military specifications has strained configuration control and increased product performance risk throughout the military supply chain. The additional cost to cope with this transition will continue over the next generation of contracts and products. Suitable NGSBs exist to meet the commercial needs of military products, but DoD member participation in these bodies is required to ensure that the resulting specifications meet military needs. .
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Executive Summary . The workload of these NGSBs has increased as a result of cancelled military specifications, but the participation of users ant! the DoD in nongovernment standards (NGSs) is decreasing and poses the risk that these "sharect" specifications will not be adequately maintained to meet military-unique needs. · Retirements and career decisions have led to an erosion of materials and process expertise within industry and the DoD at a time when increased efforts are necessary to continue the transition to performance specifications and NGSs envisioned! by the acquisition reform movement. The foundations of national materials and processes reliability (MIL-HDBK-5 ant! MIL-HDBK-17) are in danger of losing their independence and creclibility if these documents are no longer funcled and maintained under government cognizance. The apparent lack of a DoD master plan and DoD master coordinator for the military materials and processes specification development strategy is causing confusion and delay during the acquisition reform transition. The key barrier to military use of commercial materials and process specifications appears to be a lack of DoD participation in NGSBs, which poses a significant risk that specifications may not meet military needs. Two keys to rapid insertion of commercial technology into DoD were iclentified: · First, neutral (government) control of the fundamental materials databases (MIL-HDBK-5 for metals and MIL-HDBK-17 for composites) must be retained to allow rapid dissemination of reliable data. These handbooks foster the widespread use of new, commercially developed materials. Lack of such a common materials database will cause each contractor to develop its own data over a longer period of time (if ever) and delay the impact of using such materials by several generations of product design. · Second, strong DoD materials and processes expertise is required to conclude the transition to NGSs ant! performance-based specifications and to leverage the benefits into real cost savings, but technical expertise and discipline are eroding. This expertise is essential to skillfully craft performance-basect specifications, provide strong DoD participation in NGSBs (leveloping the specifications, and manage the complex assessments to ensure that DoD program needs are satisfied by the commercial technologies. This report summarizes the comments and suggestions made by each of the speakers, the results of the discussion sessions, and the common themes repeated throughout the workshop. It contains the original Perry memorandum (Appendix A), the workshop agenda (Appenclix B), a list of participants Appendix C), biographical sketches of the committee members (Appendix D), and a list of acronyms and abbreviations (Appendix E).
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Representative terms from entire chapter: