If you are a regular reader of the yearly interviews with new ASTM International chairs, you may notice something a little different in the content of this year’s interview with 2007 Chairman Gregory E. Saunders.
Since 1976, Greg has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense. Almost from his first day on the job, he has consistently worked toward simplifying DoD’s management of specifications and standards as well as supply procurement. This means that Greg, who has risen through the civilian ranks of DoD to the position of director of the Defense Standardization Program Office, looks in toward standardization from a unique point on the circle.
Greg’s perspective is less one of a standards developer, although he has worked on more than a few technical committees in his time, than of a standards user and policy developer. This put an interesting slant on our approach to his interview for this issue. When Greg and I spoke at his office in Fort Belvoir, Va., we focused less on his experience of standards development in ASTM International, and more on his experience as a standardization professional who works daily with the intersecting needs of product suppliers, standards developers, procurement officials, and the soldiers and civilians who are the end users and beneficiaries of all this activity.
In his interview, Greg discusses the many elements that have shaped his career as overseer of how the Defense Department specifies and purchases products from T-shirts to tanks: the shift to the commercial procurement of goods from the more expensive Defense supplier-based system, the success of mil-spec reform, the role of former Defense Secretary William Perry in shaping his own management philosophy, and the need to recognize the value of standardization in the armed forces. Greg also has experience in shaping international military standardization policy having worked with NATO for several years, he is now chairman of a working group that is seeking to reform its standardization policies in much the same way the U.S. Department of Defense did throughout the latter part of the last century.
Fortunately for ASTM International, Greg brings all this experience with the vast web of interconnections that standards create between nations and between suppliers and users to his one-year term as chairman of ASTM’s board. You can find out more about Greg and his thoughts about ASTM International’s role in the standards web in his interview.
Editor in Chief