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5 Workshop Session 4: Implementation Issues DoD Agencies' Perspectives Session 4 was a continuation of Session 3. The speakers focused on the implementation of commercial specifications or standards in place of those previously issued by the government and on barriers to their employment. The organizations offering their experiences were the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, the Naval Air Systems Command, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile ComrnancT at Redstone Arsenal, and the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). AIR FORCE IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATIONS R. Scott Kuhnen, of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, presented a history of the center's experience with implementing commercial materials and processing standards. He pointed out that people had mistaken the message about the use of commercial standards; the DoD did not plan to cancel all MilSpecs. Equal Partners, issued in 1985, recommended more use of voluntary standards and DoD participation in voluntary standards organizations. Currently, MIL standards and specifications are in transition. Some have been cancelled or inactivated. About 8,000 have been transferred to the Defense Logistics Agency and many have been replaced with voluntary standards. Air Force reform actions are 95 percent complete. However, · NGS actions are only 33 percent complete. This is too slow. The Air Force has less control over NGS actions. Sixty-seven members of the Air Force are involved in 193 NGS committees. The funding for Air Force participation in NGS activities went to zero in FY 2000 from $332,000 in FY 1996. Air Force technical expertise is eroding as a result of three factors: Retirements' Little or no incentive for Air Force engineers to work on standards, and A 10-year hiring freeze. In the past, DoD specifications were an important way to incorporate lessons Earned, and they impose discipline on the development process. The contract statement of work should simply read, "Meet the specifications." 23
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24 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications and Standards NAVY IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATIONS Bob Prine, of the Naval Air Systems Command, presented a history of the Navy's experience with implementation of commercial materials and processing standards in the aeronautical area. He stressed that, for a successful development program, government engineers need expertise beyond simply monitoring the results of a test program, and that commercial specifications should be used where possible. The number of institutionally funded Navy aeronautical personnel, the engineers who develop specifications, has declined from 1,100 to 350. The commercial aircraft industry uses many MiTSpecs. Over the last 6 years, the total number of specifications used has decreased significantly, and the percentage of commercial specifications has increased: In 1994, of 4,491 total specifications, 82 percent were military. In 2000, of 2,664 total specifications, 46 percent were military. The DoD policy on specifications and standards has given rise to many misunderstandings concerning conversion. There is a preference for, rather than a requirement for, performance specifications and commercial standards. Many uniq military specifications remain, and MiTSpecs often are commercial practice. However, nongovernmental standards are not a free ricle; consensus takes time. Commercial specifications can result in achieving the "lowest common denominator." Mr. Prine also emphasized that government and industry share responsibility, since all stakeholders should do their fair share of the work. Navy participation in NGS activities is now performed on an ad hoc basis. A strategy is needed to establish a schedule and funding levels and to define the requirements for the maintenance of specifications and standards. Priority should be given to the most important standards and the impact of not developing them. Senior- level government and industry need to endorse the strategy, and resourcing must be a corporate responsibility. . ARMY AIR SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATIONS Kirit Bhansali, of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, presented a history of Army experience with implementation of commercial materials and processing standards in the aeronautical area. He discussed the Defense Competitive Procurement Act, which requires the parts be procured from alternative sources in addition to prime contractors. This requires frozen processes for flight safety. However, processes such as grincling, shot peening, and cleaning have a critical effect on metal fatigue. The equivalence of military and commercial specifications often is not known. For example, the Aerospace Materials Specification allows for removal of material after shot peening, but the MiTSpec does not. Alternative sources often do not have a technical staff to evaluate the differences between military and commercial specifications, so quality control is maintained by Defense
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Workshop Session 4. Implementation Issues DoD Agencies' Perspectives Contract Management Agency personnel who may or may not be knowledgeable about materials and processes. Dr. Bhansali also noted that performance specifications can be too broad. It is not possible to anticipate all requirements, and performance-based testing is very expensive. For example, the steel heat treatment MilSpec was cancelled. Now, someone must review the NGS replacement and verify its equivalence. The implementation of changes in specification policy was very fast, and there is potential for problems later on. Converting to NGSs means that there will have to be more knowledgeable people to interpret commercial specifications and to verify their suitability for military use. This is particularly important for parts that are critical to flight safety. ARMY LAND SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMERCIAL SPECIFICATIONS Marta Tomkiw, of the U.S. Army TACOM, presented a history of TACOM experience with implementation of commercial materials and processing standards. Before 1996 there were 5,000 TACOM specifications. There are 1,500 today: 21 percent are NGSs, 16 percent are commercial, and 8 percent are performance-based. .; Army. 25 TACOM purchases many commodities but finds it hard to maintain technical competence because of a shrinking labor force. This leads to greater reliance on suppliers. For example, the M1 Abrams main battle tank uses 60 percent commercial design standards. Industrial "upscreen" alternatives are integrated daily, and new statements of work use performance-based requirements. Today the procedures are 100 percent electronic. The Army designs for extreme conditions that require unique military specifications, so participation in NGSBs is critical. TACOM cannot afford to convert existing technical data packages to performance specifications. It is hard to keep abreast of new technology because current employees are overworked and experts are leaving the PANEL DISCUSSION The speakers assembled for a question-and-answer session with the audience at the end of the formal presentations. Many of the major issues covered during the Session 3 panel discussions were brought up again. However, some additional points emerged during the Session 4 panel discussion: . · Performance specifications for reprocurement may be implemented by DoD. Performance specifications require more knowledgeable DoD personnel to assure a reliable product.
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26 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications ancl Standards Since DoD is procuring fewer new systems, fewer engineers than in the past are required to develop new specifications.
Representative terms from entire chapter: