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Standards Resources: DoD and Federal Government-based Standards

A guide to Standards, their value, and how to locate them.

Defense Standardization Program sites

Defense Standardization Program

The Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act (10 U.S.C. 145, Section 2451-2457) directed the Department of Defense to establish a single, unified standardization program. The Defense Standardization Program (DSP) addresses this requirement. The DSP is a comprehensive, integrated standardization program linking DoD acquisition, operational, sustainment, and related military and civil communities.   It exists to identify, influence, develop, manage, and provide access to standardization processes, products, and services for warfighters, the acquisition community, and the logistics community to promote interoperability, reduce total ownership costs, and sustain readiness.

The Deputy Director for Engineering is the designated Defense Standardization Executive, responsible for setting the DSP strategic direction and developing standardization policy and procedures.


ASSIST is a robust, comprehensive web site used by standardization management activities to develop, coordinate, distribute, and manage Defense Standardization Program (DSP) technical documents, defense and federal specifications and standards, military handbooks, commercial item descriptions, data item descriptions, and related technical documents. Managed by the DSP Automation Office (DSPAO) in Philadelphia, ASSIST also provides access to selected international standardization agreements, such as NATO standards ratified by the United States and International Test Operating Procedures; however, these types of documents are not available from Quick Search. Since it always has the most current information, ASSIST is the official source for specifications and standards used by DoD. There are technical documents indexed in ASSIST, and the ASSIST document database has PDF files associated with of the indexed documents.

ASSIST Quick Search

ASSIST Quick Search is a public website that lets users search for defense and federal specifications and standards, military handbooks, commercial item descriptions, data item descriptions, MS detail drawings, Qualified Product Lists (QPLs), and related technical documents prepared in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Defense Standardization Program (DSP). In most cases, users may download documents that have been cleared for public release. Metadata and files for indexed documents are drawn from ASSIST ( Both ASSIST and Quick Search are updated during a nightly process that runs each business day. QPL data is drawn from the Qualified Products Database, which is also updated each business day.

International Standardization Documents

U.S. DoD representatives participate with representatives of allied nations on five International Treaty Organizations to develop International Standardization Agreements (ISAs). Each of these treaty organizations has a website that makes at least some information available to the public. Some websites may require users to register for access to private websites in order to be able to view or download documents or other products.

Federal Standardization Manual

The large number of products used by federal agencies requires some standardization, commercial item descriptions, and other basic terms and conditions. The Federal Standardization Manual (2000) [PDF - 983 KB] provides guidance for users to ensure consistency and relevance of product information. Also available is the Index of Federal Specifications, Standards, and Commercial Item Descriptions. You can use the Federal Specification Search Form to search for a specific record listing. The following Electronic Listings are available here:

* Note: This listing may initially require several minutes to process.

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