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2 Workshop Session 1: Past, Present, and Future of Specifications anti Standards The first session was clesigned to create a foundation of understancling among workshop attendees regarding the history and focus of evolving government actions to use commercial standards in defense procurement. The four session presentations, followed by the speakers' panel discussion, provided an overview perspective on a number of topics: Historical involvement of DoD and NMAB in specifications and standards focused on materials and processes, Original intent of laws passer! regarding the ongoing Defense Standardization Program (DSP), The military aviation sector's real-worId reaction to acquisition reform, Recent specifications and standards symposium sponsored by NDL\'s Technical Information Division, and Current perception of the status and adequacy of ongoing initiatives and processes. PAST DOD AND NMAB INVOLVEMENT WITH MATERIALS AND PROCESS SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS ;. Jerome Persh, consultant to Zimmerman Associates, Inc., and the Institute for Defense Analyses, is a former staff specialist for materials and structures at the Office of Defense Directorate of Research and Engineering for Advanced Technology. He provided a historical overview of the involvement of DoD and NMAB in specifications and standards focused on materials and processes, tracing some 50 years of related NMAB activities. Emphasis was placed on the value of the continued leadership and guidance role that should be played by the NMAB in this subject area and the continuer! relevance of the conclusions contained in the 1977 NRC/NMAB report Materials and Process Specifications and Standards, NMAB-330, on similar workshop themes. Mr. Persh began with a chronology of NMAB-relatec! activities over the last 50 years and emphasized that the NMAB's role is still an important one. A review of the 1975 NMAB study lecI by Nathan PromiseT (NMAB-330, mentioner! above) showed that while it is the only existing stucly on the subject, it is still very relevant. The lessons to be learned remain the same, indicating that very little has changed since its publication. The main points of NMAB-330 were as follows: · Costs need to be reduced. One shouicl design to unit production cost rather than exclusively to performance. 9
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10 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications and Standards · More effective use of standards, inclucling commercial standards, is necessary. Industry standards should be used but converted carefully. Specifications and standards for materials and processing are a complex arena. · Contractors should be more responsible for field maintainability and reliability. However, in today's changing environment, a new paradigm may be needed. Globalization and international impact today are reasons to refocus. The message of NMAB-330, the need to "work toward a unified system of specifications and standards," is still valid today. The current workshop is an important start, but it might be advisable to revisit or even update the 1975 stiffly. The workshop may be a good prelude to a full National Academy of Sciences study, since the issues are currently not well focused. Mr. Persh closed by suggesting that, following this workshop' the DoD should sponsor a comprehensive NMAB study, including a full update of NMAB-330. There remains a need to provide national visibility and to focus on the use of specifications and standards. DEFENSE STANDARDIZATION PRO GEM, MILSPEC REFOR1\1, AND NONGOVERNMENT STANDARDS Stephen Lowell, of the DSP Office, presented an overview of the original intent of laws passed regarding the ongoing DSP; the status of DSP objectives; the adequacy of communications and understanding throughout DoD and between DoD and industry; and the adequacy of DoD support for and interaction with commercial standards development organizations (SDOs). The SDOs cited or discussed at the workshop were the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the Performance Review Institute. The use of nongovernment standards (NGSs) dates back to 1952 DoD policy, and the DSP is required by law. Mr. Lowell pointer! out that the objective is an integrated, single, DoD-wide program with the highest practical standardization; however, the message of the Perry memorandum was misinterpreter! as intending to get rid of all MilSpecs. The key MiTSpec reform policies are to give preference to performance specifications over detail specifications and to require waivers to cite detailed military specifications and standards. A DoD-wide program should be centrally managed but decentrally executed. One solution is through centralized, online data, but the heart of the process is consensus. He stressed that the law had been misunderstood; the intent was always to use NGSs where practical. Mr. Lowell also pointed out the following: The DSP stated that government participation in NGSs was needled; however, no funds were provided. · MilSpec reform policy was a real change. Now the use of MiTSpecs must be justified. · Currently, waivers are needled to require cletailec! military specifications and standards as a solicitation requirement.
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Workshop Session 1. Past, Present, and Future of Specifications and Standards MiTSpec reform actions are 98 percent complete; NGS actions are 70 percent complete. More opportunities exist to reduce acquisition costs, but time and funds are not available. 11 The DSP policies and laws are being successfully implemented but often are not well communicated or well understood. Government participation in NGSBs and involvement in NGS processes is constrained by time and funding. The adequacy of government support is suspect. However, in the context of current to near-term activities, some accomplishments of note have occurred: MiTSpec reform as originally defined is nearing completion. The first ever U.S. national standards strategy was approved in September 2000. The DoD 5000 Series on acquisition policies is being extensively revised. ISSUES AFFECTING THE DOD Gary Adams, of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, provided an overview of the military (fixed-wing) aviation sector's rear-world reaction to acquisition reform, emphasizing that the sector's first responsibility is to meet safety and mission requirements and to adequately serve its ultimate consumers: the pilots and operators. Mr. Adams began with a top-down aviation sector view of how the real world uses specifications and standards. He stressed that the aviation sector must take a responsibility focus by certifying that aircraft are safe to fly and mission capable. The aviation sector has "enough control to meet responsibilities," and all other issues are secondary. However, it is also necessary to know that lower-level processes are suitable and to understand the basis for certification. The Air Force Research Laboratory is an essential partner and the keeper of MIL handbooks. It is also a primary source of expertise necessary for pursuing the corporate . . mlsslon. Since the primary objective is to assess and manage risk, the strategy should have _ , _ three priorities, according to Mr. Adams: Jomt service specll~catlon guides, interoperability, and affordability. The focus should be on the products that are purchased: for example, "buy equipment not titanium." The Army, Navy, and Air Force are working together in the aviation sector. The use of NGSs is the "best choice within existing constraints," he said. This requires an unbiased process, where the ultimate consumer is of primary concern, not the buyers or sellers. Mr. Adams recommended that the aviation sector adopt bodies of standards rather than individual standards, but noted that there must be confidence in the process used to develop the standards. The downside is that the DoD and military services are not funding government participation in NGSBs; the discretionary budget is zero. In summary, Mr. Adams believed the aviation sector is doing its job. Its focus is on its responsibilities to the pilots and operators. Emphasis is on alignment with
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12 Impact of Acquisition Reform on DoD Materials and Processes Specifications and Standards standards bodies, not standards. If stanclards are adequate for industry, then one must assume they are adequate for the government. Resources are not aligned with the stated policy to support NGS organizations; the DoD needs to align resources with stated policy or vice versa. A performance specification for NGSBs may need to be written. OVERVIEW OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS SYMPOSIUM SPONSORED BY THE NDIA'S TECHNICAL INFORMATION DIVISION Timothy Guilliams, of the Boeing Company, provided an overview of the recent Specifications and Stanciarcis Symposium sponsored by the National Defense Inclustrial Association's (NDIA) Technical Information Division. This symposium, held in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 16-17, 2000, sponsored a variety of panel discussions relevant to the NMAB workshop: · MiTSpec reform, status and lessons learned Future directions for specifications and standards in the DoD. The impact of MiTSpec reform on industry, and DoD qualification program assessments. The symposium overview reinforced many themes of the present workshop and is directly relevant to the workshop. The full proceedings of the symposium are available from the NOIA and on its Web site at . PANEL DISCUSSION :. The four speakers assembled for a question-and-answer session with the audience at the end of the session's formal presentations. The following provides a general overview of the more topical questions along with a general description of speaker and auclience responses to the questions. This part of the report should be consiclered qualitative and subjective in that many opinions, comments, and perceptions have been, by necessity, folded into it. The major issues covered during the Session 1 panel discussion follow. Discussion question 1. It seems from the presentations that for the most part everything is going well. Is this is an accurate perception? Where are the "horror stories"? In practice, companies will probably use the "easiest nongovernment stanclards specification" available, so errors may occur (e.g., bolt integrity may suffer). Do we have a problem? What is really happening? Integrated responses of pane! and audience. Discipline may erode as a result of the initial use of NGSs. It was observed that MilSpec use has historically resulted in a disciplined, uniform process. If the use of MilSpecs is skipped over to save costs, the process may become dependent on the knowledge, expertise, and integrity of indiviclual users, which increases program risk and variability. Further, historically, there has been a natural tension between program managers (responsible for cost and schedule) and the
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Workshop Session 1. Past, Present, and Future of Specifications and Standards engineering communities (responsible for "doing the job righted. Eliminating MilSpec leverage might disadvantage the engineering community vis-a-vis the program office, so that reliability and integrity could suffer. It was stated that the Air Force, to offset any loss of discipline, instituted two new policies intended to focus on operational safety and airworthiness criteria. The intent is to assure that technical discipline is present in the process and to allow engineers to prove that the technical responsibilities are being met. A related issue was raised the need to create a culture of trust in the process between industry and government and program office and engineers. For the most part, the Army, Navy, and Air Force (i.e., the aviation sector) were said to be succeeding in this; there were no comments on other sectors. Discussion question 2. What are the key challenges that must be met to move the process forward? Integrated responses of Panel and audience. Resources ant! nercention are the kev 13 _ ~ 1 1 1- challenges. The messages sent by policy makers are different from the messages receiver! at the working and implementation levels. We need to find the right number of specifications to maintain quality and will need to maintain some MilSpecs, which in some cases are the de facto industry standards. Government organizations lack budgets that would allow them to adequately participate in nongovernment SDOs. Government support was always intended and is needec! to ensure that requirements are consistently met and prioritized. Further, there exists an underlying concern that the NGS system may not be working as well as we perceive, which is compounded by the fact that current government budgets are ad hoc and inadequate for support. We may be building the commercial standardization system on a seriously flawed existing system. The problem is complex and not solely due to funding issues. We may neec! new, fresh ideas and a new paradigm. The NMAB could serve as a catalyst for planning and focusing issues and policy-making discussions. funding? Integrated responses of pane! and audience. The consensus is that we are getting the job done at the product level, but a growing concern centers on our understanding of the Tower-level processes and process assurances. For instance, are the material qualifications and design allowables still adequate? Additionally, significant cost reductions may still be possible at the lower levels. Unfortunately, neither adequacy studies nor pursuit of cost reductions are possible within the government-supportecl funding that currently exists. Historically, customers were able to supply funcling for the Tower-level processes due to MiTSpec-related activities. Today, while it is recognized that standardization is a valuable corporate mission, funding sources are at the program level. No central pool exists, there is no sharing, and funding is not easily obtained. Discussion question 3. Are we really getting the job done, and how do we get
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Representative terms from entire chapter: