Progress is being made in Secretary of Defense William Perry's plan to reform
the acquisition process in the Department of Defense. Since Secretary Perry
announced his plan in February 1994, more than 1200 commercial standards have
been adopted, a plan for a national software development standard has been
created and a special military specification hot line telephone number is in
"Acquisition reform has long been one of my top goals here at the Pentagon,"
Perry said when he introduced his plan. "We need access to state-of-the-art
commercial technology, we need the ability to obtain products and technologies
more rapidly and efficiently, and we need to cut costs and save taxpayers'
dollars. We need to replace, whenever and wherever we can, military-unique
specifications," the Secretary explained.
Perry also said that the use of commercial and performance standards fits in
with the Administration's concepts of dual-use technology and support of our
nation's industrial base by relying on the commercial marketplace.
Following are highlights of successful steps toward acquisition reform in
1200 Commercial Standards Adopted -- This is the most that the Department has
ever adopted at one time. It also represents a growth of nearly 20 percent of
the total for all specifications and standards adopted by DoD. These documents
were developed by trade associations, industry groups, and professional
societies. Adoption of these commercial standards for government use moves the
Department one step closer to achieving the culture shift called for by
A National Software Development Standard Planned -- The DoD Standards
Improvement Council, established by Secretary Perry to be the primary
coordinating body for specificiation and standards reform, has approved a
strategy for replacing existing military standards governing software
development with a commercial standard. The first step in this new strategy,
as an interim measure, is the approval of military standard 498 that covers
software development and documentation. and is the outgrowth of a DoD-industry
collaboration. This action eliminates three military standards and 30 Data
Item Descriptions. With proper tailoring, MIL-STD-498 is designed to be usable
on very small to very large, complex software systems. This action places DoD
in the forefront of software development practices for the next century.
MIL-STD-498 will be canceled once a commercial standard is published.
MIL-SPEC Hot Line Activated -- The DoD has established a toll-free military
specification hot line to answer questions on the Department's policies and
efforts to achieve specifications and standards reform. The phone number is:
1-800-DAR-SPEC (1-800-327-7732). DAR stands for Defense Acquisition Reform,
and SPEC means specifications. Callers will be connected to a 24-hour a day
answering machine that will record comments, questions or concerns on specific
specifications or standards, implementation issues, the military specification
waiver process, or general policy direction. The machine will be monitored
continuously during the workday, and calls will be returned promptly.
Within Secretary Perry's office, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Economic
Security Joshua Gotbaum is charged with implementation of specifications and