and organizations such as NATO. Unfortunately, the MILSPECS and MILSTDS system cannot react to market forces as quickly as the private sector. Thus, in rapidly changing areas such as elimination of ODCs, MILSPECS and MILSTDS rapidly become obsolete, hindering rather than encouraging environmental performance of products and manufacturing processes. Significantly, this also impedes the ability of defense industries to change quickly to new manufacturing technologies, an important issue as companies move from defense to commercial business ventures.

MILSPECS and MILSTDS were created at a time when environmental impacts were not thought of or understood. As a result, the documents focus on obsolete notions of reliability and performance rather than environmental concerns. Moreover, the process for Changing or eliminating them is far more cumbersome than for creating them. As a result, Air Force and DOD procurement is constrained by bureaucracy that tends to produce an ever-increasing body of requirements documents. The Defense Standardization Program, which formulates, issues, and implements policies and procedures governing MILSPECS and MILSTDS, is managed by the Defense Quality and Standardization Office. They are currently working with the Office of Management and Budget to adopt nongovernment standards in lieu of MILSPECS and MILSTDS. As of 1992, the DOD had adopted about 5,500 nongovernment standards. This trend will help the military services keep pace with the environmental ethic that industry is incorporating into manufacturing activities in response to customer demands, and free defense industries to move their processes closer to those in use in the commercial sector.

Reviewing the experience of the military in phasing out ODCs is a useful study in the dynamics of the MILSPECS/MILSTDS system. Over the past two years, the Defense Standardization Program has automated more than 600,000 pages of MILSPECS and MILSTDS to search for ODC requirements and has looked for opportunities to leverage its efforts to make changes. For example, the program found the one document requiring the use of ODCs in testing procedures for passive electronics devices was referenced by 1,700 other documents. The ODC requirement was eliminated, thus changing the other 1,700. The program also found more than 750 documents that referenced one requirement governing testing procedures for microelectronics. Again, by eliminating ODCs from the one, the program effectively changed the 750.


To create a MILSPEC, the preparing organization drafts and coordinates the document in collaboration with affected industries. Once the document is in circulation, anyone can use it. To change a MILSPEC, all the parties who have used it must coordinate on the change. In addition, there are ''lead agencies" responsible for specific documents used by others. For example, the Navy is responsible

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