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4 Workshop Session 3: Implementation Issues Government Agencies' Perspectives The speakers at Session 3 focused on the implementation of commercial specifications or standards in place of those previously issued by the government and on barriers to their implementation. The organizations offering their experiences were the Langley Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center. NASA IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATIONS Mark Shuart, of the NASA Langley Research Center, spoke of NASA Langley's efforts in developing composite materials and their associated standards. Its development focus is to formulate new materials, characterize new materials and material forms, and to demonstrate and validate new concepts. He spoke extensively on the development of test methods and the program objectives ofthe NASA Technical Standards Program. Standards are an outgrowth of research and technology work and the need for new materials and forms. NASA recognized its need to lead the development of standards. The approach was proactive interaction of NASA with industry and universities to develop and verify test methods for new materials. There are multiple examples of NASA cooperation with industry in development of methods and standards. Testing is initiated at NASA then continues with round robin testing. It is necessary to negotiate cost sharing with industry. However, cost sharing can limit the dissemination of information, as some data are proprietary. The NASA Technical Standards Program coordinates standards for agency programs ant! projects. Its objectives are as follows: . Develop and maintain an integrated NASA Preferred Technical Standards System. · Improve interoperability within NASA and with industry and universities both nationally and internationally. Document experiences and lessons learned. Sponsor the development of technical standards and products of particular use to NASA. Promote increased use of and support for national and international consensus standards. · Enhance awareness of stanclardization in NASA. 19
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20 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications and Standards NASA Langley has contributed to standards as part of its materials and structures technology development and has developed standard test methods to evaluate composites. Research at NASA Langley continues to support ASTM and MIL-HDBK-17 efforts for composite materials standards. In closing, Dr. Shuart emphasized that the agency needs to ensure continued involvement in the development of standards and needs to promote its participation in technical societies. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION PERSPECTIVE Larry Ilcewicz, of the FAA, spoke on the following topics: FAA certification and delegation for commercial products; general outlook on the barriers; recommended solutions for composites used in aviation products; an evolving national plan for composite certification initiatives; and some progress in base material control and shared databases. He said that the good old recipes are understood, reliable, and proven to yield repeatable, safe, and durable products. Desired new recipes will have all the benefits of the good old recipes plus cost and performance advantages. Such imr~rovements will (~ - - 1- - -7 ¢ ~ -I r ~ =7~ V ~ require a joint effort of industry, government agencies, and national organizations, which will be more efficient and smarter in developing the new recipes. The FAA certification process includes type certification, with extensive FAA oversight, and production certification, where the manufacturer controls production with less FAA oversight. Each aircraft must have an airworthiness certificate, and the certification steps are basically the same for MilSpecs, commercial, or "own specs." The FAA recognizes there will be interim problems until new specifications are developed. Dr. Ilcewicz suggested the FAA form Partnerships in Safety with individual designees and company delegations to assist FAA aircraft certifications. Although MilSpecs were benchmarks for safety, national standardization leads to more efficient product certification. The conversion to commercial specifications will, however, have some interim lack of standardization and may inadvertently omit some shared technical information that came from the DoD. Among the indirect effects of DoD acquisition reform on the FAA is less training and experience available to those who must produce specifications, and it becomes clear that SDOs must have a conduit to industry-government-university research initiatives. The greatest barrier to the adoption of commercial materials and processing standards will be the time that is needed. Somewhere between forced standardization and a commercial consensus process is a middle ground that should yield specifications acceptable to an efficient industry. Industry, government agencies, and national organizations need to work together to accomplish this. Dr. Ilcewicz suggested that SDOs need to reconsider the technical processes and business structure of their organizations in order to address how the technical resources to create specifications can be supported; the proprietary material and process issues; how to retain valuable research . . .. . .. . Norma on In one commercial specifications; and feedback from applications using the specifications. Government agencies and technical resources must remain major stakeholders to gain technical benefits. Dr. Ilcewicz also listed educational issues as a
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Workshop Session 3: Implementation Issues Government Agencies' Perspectives major barrier to the acceptance of commercial specifications. The associated documentation and the training of a workforce for new standards is not a trivial task and relates to limited resources skilled in particular materials technologies. Dr. Ilcewicz's recommendations were as follows: Promote integrated development among industry, government, and university research. . Promote close collaboration between international and national standards organizations, industry, and government. Create composite certification initiatives by: Working with industry, government, and academia to ensure safe deployment of technologies, Sharing databases, and Fostering FAA/NASA/DoD partnerships with industry. SPACE SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE Dave Davis, of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los ;; ~ 1 Angeles Air Force Base, elaborated on the systems-level acquisition methodology for the center and on technical challenges and issues. The goal of acquisition reform is to derive a best practice by capitalizing on commercial practices and competitive supplier designs and processes and by consistently applying them across the DoD. The focus is performance-based, so the government should continue to assess capabilities, approve contractors' proposals of production, and manage risks. Mr. Davis also reviewed the center's implementation of a performance-based business environment. Recent contracts have used performance-based business environment methodology and made minimal use of MiTSpecs and standards; performance requirements have been clocumented. Contractor processes and applications are inclucled as part of the proposal. In the area of specifications and standards, there is a recognized neecl for industry standards, substantial conversion of MilSpecs, and government support for NGSBs. Critical process assessment tools would also be useful if the government can assess all responses to a common set of evaluation standards. He identified several technical challenges and issues: · The industrial base has undergone significant change and is continuing to change. · Proposal costs are out of sync with the costs associated with actual processes. Technical processes often are just streamlined, not reengineerecl. Industrial base concerns include the following: Many manufacturers have left the military market in recent years, resulting in decreased availability of devices that meet MiTSpecs. There is a decreased availability of product, leading to concerns about the future supply.
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22 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications and Stanblards · Other issues are: advanced technology funding; product life cycle vs. acquisition schedules; and the financial viability of suppliers. In summary, the current practice of system-level acquisition facilitates the application of commercial materials and processes. Also, the space community must be selective, since not all commercial specifications get the job done. There remain numerous technical challenges, including a better understanding of the products and supply base. PANEL DISCUSSION The speakers assembled for a general question-and-answer session with the audience at the end of the formal presentations. The following items provide a general overview of the major issues covered during the panel discussion: Government needs to work closely with NGSBs. Government engineers must understand processes. Companies that could not compete using MilSpec requirements can supply to performance-based requirements. Test methods vary between supplier companies. · The risk is twofold: the loss of controlling or defining specifications and the loss of an experienced personnel base in government and industry.
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