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A Federal Success Story
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 April 2006 From the Editor's Desk
E-mail Maryann Gorman

A Federal Success Story

Last month, standards developers and U.S. government representatives gathered in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.

This influential piece of legislation, which requires federal agencies to use standards developed by private-sector standards developing organizations whenever possible, has resulted in remarkable cost-savings over the years by removing the burden of standards development from government agencies.

In celebration of this milestone, and as a memento of the March 6 event at the National Press Club in the U.S. capital, the Standards Engineering Society has published a booklet containing case studies from over 30 standards developing organizations, federal agencies and companies, detailing the benefits accrued by implementing the NTTAA.

ASTM International provided an example for the booklet regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s use of standards developed by ASTM Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft in an FAA regulation that is serving as a catalyst for the maturation of the nascent light sport aircraft industry. But in addition to ASTM’s own case study, ASTM standards are featured in the examples provided by other organizations.

By canceling its federal specification for boxes, shipping and fiberboard, and instead citing two standards developed by ASTM Committee D10 on Packaging, the Government Services Administration is availing itself of documents that are reviewed and revised under ASTM’s system more frequently than the government was able to do with its own spec.

The Naval Sea Systems Command says it brought new technology for mechanically attached fittings to the U.S. Navy fleet sooner by using ASTM standard F 1387, Specification for Performance of Piping and Tubing Mechanically Attached Fittings. In its case study for the booklet, NAVSEA estimates that “the cost avoidance from having industry conduct the validation testing to the ASTM standard, and the savings accrued over a 10-year period from buying commercial fittings versus MilSpec fittings, will exceed $57 million.”

Not only ASTM International, but all standards developers and every federal government agency can be proud of the effectiveness of the NTTAA in the last decade. For quantification of the NTTAA’s benefits to all U.S. taxpayers, see the article by Joanne Overman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

P.S. Many of you must be planning your 2006 vacations. Since publishing this photo in March with the print edition of Darrell Harding’s feature article about roadway standards, we have received requests daily asking for the location of these bridges. They are the steel arch Canoe Pass Bridge and steel cantilever Deception Pass Bridge, which link Fidalgo, Pass, and Whidbey Islands at the northern end of Puget Sound, in Washington state. Happy trails... and send us a postcard!

 
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