Since ancient history, standards have proven to be a valuable tool. In classical Greece, the first written standard (chiseled in stone) was made to ensure the quality of the pins used for holding columns together.  The Greeks and Romans used standards for making bridges and aqueducts safe structures. In parallel defense standards had been established since ancient history covering the whole spectrum of military operations (standardized formations – tactics) and defense materiel (spheres, shields, body armor etc.).

In early days, standards were used in connection with trading. Pots for example, although handmade, were produced in fairly uniform sizes, hence ensuring comparable cubic measures. Coins were introduced in an attempt to have more standardized units of payment. Likewise, scales were standardized to avoid cheating in trade. Introduction of the metric system is thought to be among the first international standards, facilitating the comparison of distances across country borders and the preparation of more accurate maps.

The industrialization and increasing cross-border trade augmented the need for standards as a common platform for agreement. In 1865, the first international standardization organization, International Telegraph Union, ITU, was founded in Paris in connection with the extended use of telegraphy. In 1906, the International Electrotechnical Committee was founded, and in 1920 the forerunner of ISO, International Organization for Standardization, was set up. Since then tens of thousands of standards have been made that benefit society, business and consumers in various ways. Moreover the evolution of technology in conjunction with the emerging security challenges and threats, led the evolution of defense standards and their close relevance in most cases with civil standards.

The modern and globalized world cannot exist without standards supporting cooperation, trade, health, safety, economic growth, defense and security etc. Standards have a huge influence on everyday life and it is therefore crucial that they are developed in a context where anybody has the possibility of participating and where a standardization process governed by consensus allows all views to be heard and discussed in an open and transparent way. Openness and transparency are fundamental aspects of the work of standardization organizations.

The importance of standards makes it vital that we all have some knowledge of standards and standardization. Some need only a general insight into the nature of standards whereas others need in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of standardization and standards – the influence standards have on the market – how to implement standards in a business or how to get most out of standards. The importance of standards gives you a responsibility to define your involvement in standardization. Which knowledge is relevant to you? How can you use standards? And how can you contribute to the development of standards?

In light of this, we are guiding you in this section through the world standardization map starting with basic information on the civil standards domain before introducing the complex domain of defense standardization, which is actually our main area of concern and analysis.

Source note:

The information provided in this section is part of the Text Book for Higher Education ”World Built on Standards” issued by the Danish Standards Foundation.

Introduction

Standards are a way of communicating – a kind of common language – in the form of a technical specification. Often it is an ability to communicate across languages to avoid misunderstandings. Standards only exist because we use them, and because we benefit from using them. If they did not bring value, their justification for existing would no longer apply.

Standards have always existed in one form or another. The first standards were made to enable trade. It was important to have standards defining the product and how to test them e.g. by measurement. Standards for safety are also some of the oldest standards.

Today there are more standards than ever, and they are common in most areas and in a wide range of fields. Some standards reflect common practice and are taken over from one generation to another; other standards are developed by consortia or by formal standardization organizations.

There are a tremendous number of civil standards in the world and standards developed in the formal standardization system (e.g. CEN, CENELEC, ETSI, ISO, IEC, ITU) are only the tip of the iceberg. However, it is these formal standards that often have the highest impact and the widest recognition in the global society and on which we will mainly focus in section.

The other standards belonging to ”the iceberg” vary considerably from company specific standards to systems describing methodology like the Gregorian calendar, music notes and rules for sports (e.g. soccer game rules).

Source note:

The information provided in this section is part of the Text Book for Higher Education ”World Built on Standards” issued by the Danish Standards Foundation.

 

Introduction

Since ancient history, defense standards had been established covering the whole spectrum of military operations (standardized formations – tactics) and defense materiel (spheres, shields, body armor etc.). There is plethora of ancient civilizations (Greeks, Egyptians, Romans etc) developed famous defense standards for military use.

A very famous example of an ancient Greek defense standard was developed for the sarisa or sarissa, a long spear about 4–6 meters (13–20 ft) in length. It was introduced by Philip II of Macedon and was used in his Macedonian phalanxes as a replacement for the earlier dory which was considerably shorter. These longer spears improved the traditional strength of the phalanx by extending the rows of overlapping weapons projecting towards the enemy, and the word remained in use throughout the Byzantine years to sometimes describe the long spears of their own infantry.

Defense standards evolved from the need to ensure proper performance, maintainability and reparability (ease of MRO), and logistical usefulness of military equipment. The latter two goals (MRO and logistics) favor certain general concepts, such as interchangeability[1], standardization (of equipment and processes, in general), cataloging, communications, and training (to teach people what is standardized, what is at their discretion, and the details of the standards).

In the late 18th century and throughout the 19th, the American and French militaries were early adopters and longtime developmental sponsors and advocates of interchangeability and standardization. By World War II (1939–1945), virtually all national militaries and trans-national alliances of the same (Allied Forces, Axis Powers) were busy standardizing and cataloguing. The U.S. AN- cataloguing system (Army-Navy) and the British Defence Standards (DEF-STAN) provide examples.

For example, due to differences in dimensional tolerances, in World War II American screws, bolts and nuts did not fit British equipment properly and were not fully interchangeable. Defense standards provide many benefits, such as minimizing the number of types of ammunition, ensuring compatibility of tools, and ensuring quality during production of military equipment. This results, for example, in ammunition and food cases that can be opened without tools; vehicle subsystems that can be quickly swapped into the place of damaged ones; and small arms and artillery that are less likely to find themselves with an excess of ammunition that does not fit and a lack of ammo that does.

The challenges associated with defense standardization and especially armaments standardization have been clear for many decades despite the stated benefits of enhanced armaments standardization. Calculating the benefits of armaments standardization is not easy and the closest there is to a scientific calculation is contained in a European’s Commission tendered report (the so-called ‘Sussex Study’) which calculated that armaments standardization could lead to cost savings of up to 50 %.

Nevertheless, figures that have been made available tend to stress the capability payoffs of standardization. For example, in 1992 Matthews reported that one former General from the US military claimed that a lack of armaments standardization in NATO has resulted in a 30 %-50 % reduction in the capability of the alliance.

The standardization of weapons systems is an increasingly important aspect of armaments standardization, especially in a context in which ‘system of systems’ architectures are now being developed. Indeed, the battlespace is increasingly defined by adversaries being able to rapidly integrate different technologies and systems into existing platforms.

Source note:

Sources for the Information provided in this section are the EU Portal, Wikipedia and the NATO Standardization Office public website

NATO has a long history of developing defense standards. The alliance began working on standardization in 1951 when it established the Military Standardization Agency (MAS) and since then has developed and promulgated defense standards covered by Standardization Agreements (STANAGs). The STANAGs are covering NATO standards related to technologies, components, tactics, techniques, procedures and doctrines. More than 1,200 STANAGs have been promulgated throughout and by NATO.

The STANAGs provide for operational and technical standards for some or all Alliance members with the objective being to enhance NATO interoperability. Therefore, while NATO Allies own and utilize different weapons systems the NATO Standards are designed to provide for a minimum level of interoperability between systems and the interchangeability of replacement components.

Source note:

The information provided in this section is part of the Study on “European Armaments Standardization' - EP/EXPO/B/SEDE/FWC/2017-01/01 EN October 2018 - PE 603.872 – European Parliament - Directorate General for External Policies of the Union - Policy Department for External Relations. The “European Armaments Standardization” Study can be found here

Defense standardization in Europe is not a new phenomenon. From 1993 to 2004, the Western European Armament Group (WEAG) dedicated its time and resources to increasing the harmonization of requirements for equipment.

Relatedly, armaments standardization has also long been on the agenda of the European Commission. For example, in 1997 the Commission published a Communication on ‘Implementing European Union Strategy on Defense-Related Industries’, which stated that ‘setting up a European defense equipment market and consolidating Europe’s defense industrial base will call for an effort to rationalize the sets of standards currently being used by the defense ministries of the Member States’.

Interestingly, even in the late 1990s the European Commission recognized that ‘with increasing use being made of dual-use technologies in the military systems, the current trend is to make as much use as possible of civil standards.

On this basis, the Commission proposed three lines of action: i) inviting industrial circles to draw up a work programme for identifying standards; ii) a regular exchange system on standards between the EU and NATO; and iii) providing Commission support to standardization organizations while incorporating the specificities of the defense sector.

Source note:

The information provided in this section is part of the Study on “European Armaments Standardization' - EP/EXPO/B/SEDE/FWC/2017-01/01 EN October 2018 - PE 603.872 – European Parliament - Directorate General for External Policies of the Union - Policy Department for External Relations. The “European Armaments Standardization” Study can be found here