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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.

NASA Center Technical Standards

There are five NASA Centers -- Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center and Stennis Space Center --  that have developed 225 technical standards. Each Center's standards are listed separately, and can be selected by changing the specified Center in the menu at the top of the page.

The mission of the NASA Technical Standards Program is to:

  • Promote technical excellence and further mission success by enhancing NASA's technical capabilities through standardization.
  • Facilitate participation in development of voluntary consensus standards and their adaptation for use to meet NASA's needs.
  • Manage development of NASA technical standards, specifications, and handbooks to meet NASA's unique needs.
  • Provide the NASA community with access to essential standards, specifications, and other documentation, related application notes, and lessons learned; notifications when changes to these documents occur; and access to engineering tools from a single access point, thereby saving NASA time and money.

The NASA Technical Standards Program is sponsored by the NASA Chief Engineer.

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.  Following are five International Treaty Organizations and examples of standards or other products promulgated by each organization:

Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC)

ASIC does not have a public website; however, DoD users with a common access card (CAC) may access current air standards, advisory pubs, and information pubs on the ASSIST website. If you have a need to access the ASIC website, or if you have a need for non-current air standards or other ASIC pubs, please contact the appropriate national AISC point of contact to request the required credentials.

American, British, Canadian, and Australian Armies' Program (ABCA)

There is some information about ABCA available on a public website; however eligible users will need to complete a membership form to request a username and password to the private website in order to access the ABCA standards and other publications.

AUSCANNZUKUS (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and US Naval C4 Organisation)

The primary objectives of AUSCANNZUKUS are to achieve internal sharing and understanding of Maritime command, control, communications and computers (C4) knowledge, and to produce products and processes to achieve Maritime C4 interoperability. This organization does not maintain a public website.

Combined Communications-Electronics Board (CCEB)

The latest, authorized versions of Allied Communications Publications (ACPs) and U.S. Supplements with an UNCLASSIFIED security classification are available from a public CCEB website. For access to classified ACPs, users should contact their national or organization coordinator. (Note: contact information for the national coordinators is provided on the CCEB website.)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standardization Organization (NSO)

The NSO maintains both a public and a private website. The public site has information about the NSO mission and the NATO policy on the use of civil standards. The public site also provides access to more than 100 non-classified NATO standards and cover documents. Eligible users will need to register to obtain an account and password to access the private site in order to access other NATO standards and cover documents (both drafts and promulgated), as well as ratification and reservation details for the currently promulgated version. (Note: NATO Restricted and higher classified standards are indexed with minimal metadata; however, these classified standards are not accessible on the NSO website.)

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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