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HARVEY P. HACK, PH.D., is the chairman of the 2000 ASTM Board of Directors. Hack is a Fellow Engineer at the Northrop Grumman Corporation in Annapolis, Md. In this capacity, he performs corrosion and materials engineering for marine vehicles and systems being built for the Department of Defense. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, he was the Corrosion Science and Coatings Team leader at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Annapolis, Md., where he had worked for 25 years.

Hack’s career concentration has been in marine corrosion research and failure analysis, with particular emphasis on galvanic corrosion, cathodic protection, and crevice corrosion. He has also focused on electrochemical testing, including electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, rotating electrodes, and computer modeling of corrosion processes.

Hack earned a B.S. degree in physics and an M.S. in metallurgy and materials science, both from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He received a doctorate in metallurgy from the Pennsylvania State University.

Hack joined ASTM in 1978 and received the Award of Merit in 1991 for his contributions to Committee G-1 on Corrosion of Metals. He currently serves as chairman of Subcommittees G01.02 on Nomenclature and G01.95, the Standing Advisory Committee for ISO/ TC 156 on Corrosion of Metals and Alloys. Hack chaired the ASTM Committee on Standards from 1992 to 1994. He is also a member of ASTM Committees F-25 on Ships and Marine Technology, F-7 on Aerospace and Aircraft, E-50 on Environmental Assessment and the editorial board of the Journal of Testing and Evaluation.

In addition to his service at ASTM, Hack is a member and Fellow of the Institute of Corrosion, NACE International, and the Washington Academy of Sciences, and is a past-president of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards.


Harvey P. Hack: An Interview with the 2000 Chairman of the ASTM Board of Directors

Listening to Harvey Hack talk about his many years of experience in standards development and corrosion control engineering gives the impression that he may have missed his calling as an educator. Hack, a thoughtful speaker, finds himself talking about issues of education often. Educating corporate managers about incorporating corrosion control up-front in the design phase, teaching executives about the importance of promoting their employees’ standards development activities, and fostering dialog in
industry about how crucial it is to be involved in international standardization—all are subjects of
great interest to Hack.

Fortunately for ASTM, the chairman of the 2000 ASTM Board of Directors is using his natural interest in educating, along with his leadership and technical talents, to help guide the Society into this new century. Hack has been committed—through his involvement with ASTM, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and his employment in the federal and private sector defense industry (see biographical sidebar)—to helping the right industry representatives understand how vital the role of domestic and international standardization and engineering foresight are to his field. In this interview, Hack explores with SN some of his insights into today’s issues around the international standardization climate, ASTM’s future, and corrosion control engineering.

You have been a member of ASTM for over 20 years. How has the Society changed as an SDO over this time?
When I first started attending ASTM meetings, most members were older than me, but now most are younger, so our membership must be getting younger. Seriously, ASTM has added many new committees in recent years outside of the traditional testing and materials area. Committees like E-48 on Biotechnology, E-50 on Environmental Assessment, E-52 on Forensic Psychophysiology, and others are showing that the concerns of ASTM mirror the concerns of society. ASTM has been responsive to changes in our very culture.

In addition, ASTM is now far more involved in international standardization, again reflecting changes in our society. We are a more efficient organization that can produce standards faster and deliver them in many more ways than 20 years ago.

Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 1996, you worked for the government at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Annapolis. Can you describe how government and industry differ in how they view the development and use of standards?
There’s actually quite a bit of difference. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Annapolis is a research and development laboratory for Naval ships. The primary mission of the Materials Department where I worked was to answer questions about what materials should be used to optimize reliability in Naval ship systems. To do this work, we would perform laboratory tests—many of which were standardized by ASTM—and failure analyses. Although we did not use standards as much as engineering firms like Northrop Grumman, the Navy was very supportive of standardization activities such as those at ASTM. This was partially because of OMB Circular A-119 that encouraged such participation, but mostly because the management realized the positive benefits of interaction with peers in cutting edge technical areas like writing testing standards.

At Northrop Grumman, the emphasis is not on writing standards, but on using them. For example, Northrop Grumman is not as interested in what the exact composition of a specific metal alloy may be as much as in the fact that a standard exists that fixes both composition and properties that we can use to buy material for our systems. The corporation therefore has much less interest in standards development, and will leave that up to others. In my opinion, when corporations take this position, it is a somewhat shortsighted view, since standards are developed by a consensus between producers and users. Without user inputs from companies like ours, the standards may not be optimized for our needs, ultimately costing us more money to use.

What is your area of expertise at Northrop Grumman?
Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Oceanic Systems designs and builds underwater vehicles and systems for the Department of Defense. Because of the emphasis on the underwater environment, Oceanic projects require expertise in marine corrosion, electrochemistry, and in metallurgy of certain exotic metals. I was hired because of the expertise in these areas that I gained by my 25 years of experience working for the Marine Corrosion Branch at NSWC.

When the requirements for these areas are not in demand, I have expanded into other areas like coating specifications, risk management, and project management. One project I have done in my brief tenure at NG has been to design the cathodic protection system—and help specify materials for improved corrosion resistance—for the Advanced SEAL Delivery System, a 65-foot submarine we build. I am currently the lead engineer for a proposal we are preparing for building a sonar system for the U.S. Navy.

How does Northrop Grumman use standards? Does it have a corporate strategy around standardization?
I can only speak for the Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, Oceanic Systems, where I work. Northrop Grumman uses standards in three areas. The first area, management and processes, relies primarily on in-house standards. Our corporate strategy is to put management procedures and our major processes in a section of our company Web site called Command Media, where they are available to anyone in the Corporation, and they can be revised and maintained easily. This includes procedures for how we do everything from business travel to cost accounting to system safety engineering.

The second area where we use standards is in certification. Our customers require ISO 9000 certification and frequently require other types of certifications as well, such as Software Engineering Institute certification for software expertise.

The third area in which NG uses standards is in our design and manufacturing processes. Rather than in-house standards, or ISO standards, here we rely mostly on industry consensus standards. We specify materials from which we build our systems, mechanical components like fasteners, electronic components, and manufacturing processes like welding, soldering, etc., using standards from ASTM and other SDOs.

Although our engineering and production area wouldn’t be able to function without standards, to the best of my knowledge we currently have no corporate strategy for dealing with this area of standardization, particularly regarding how to handle standards obsolescence, multiple standards on the same topic, and the use of ISO standards. I am working to correct this hole in our corporate strategy. I haven’t yet found the magic bullet that convinces the right people that such a strategy is necessary. All I can do, like in any educational effort, is keep at it, finding the people that I think should get the message and telling them.

When and how did you first become involved in ASTM?
I attended my first meetings of ASTM Committee G-1 on Corrosion of Metals in the early 1970s because others in the Marine Corrosion Branch were attending. As a young researcher, I was more than willing to travel, but didn’t realize what possible benefit my participation could have for either the Navy or myself. After a few meetings I found that the interaction with the technical professionals was a better learning experience than college had ever been, so I joined ASTM and began attending regularly.

A very smart man who unfortunately did not have the time to continue the commitment chaired one of the subcommittees that I attended. When he stepped down, I knew that the subcommittee topic area interested me enough that I would be willing to put additional time into it, so I volunteered to chair the subcommittee, even though I had been an ASTM member for only a brief time. I have held the chair of some subcommittee or committee in ASTM ever since. The management expertise I have gained by leading these groups is just as valuable to me as the technical expertise gained by interaction with experts on these groups.

As an expert in marine corrosion control, can you describe
some of the most pressing issues for the field of corrosion engineering?
I believe that the most pressing issue in the field of corrosion is the need for education and communication with engineering decision-makers. If corrosion engineers are allowed to become involved in the design process early on, maintainable structures and systems can be produced that have low life-cycle costs with little additional purchase cost.

What usually happens now is that the corrosion expert or the metallurgist is brought in at the end of the design process. The designers say, “Here’s our design, now tell us how we can keep it from rusting. Oh, and by the way, we don’t have any money to do this, and you can’t change the design because it’s already fixed, so don’t tell us to make it a little different. And we really can’t change the materials either, because we’re making it as cheap as we can, but tell us how to keep it from rusting.” Usually the answer at that point is prayer.

Corrosion needs to be treated as a valuable discipline, not something that can be learned by a spare engineer in a one-week short-course. Good corrosion engineers, if properly employed, will save their companies many times their salaries.

Your chief involvement as an ASTM technical committee member is with CommitteeG-1 on Corrosion of Metals. How has G-1 changed in recent years to meet the evolving needs of the scientific community?
Until recently, the G-1 structure has remained almost the same as it was when it was formed. But a shift has occurred in the support base for corrosion standardization. Where years ago alloy developers supported large research departments that had individuals who were able to go to G-1 meetings to develop standard test methods, today the company emphasis is on whether an activity can produce additional profits this quarter. As a result, G-1 is not attracting and holding new members as well as it used to, and the writing of generic test methods is giving way to the writing of standards that are directed at a specific industry.

The G-1 executive committee feels that the committee needs to recognize which industries it can best serve, and to attract new membership from those industries. They realized that G-1 will need to produce standard specifications, and so recently the scope of the committee was expanded and the committee was classified, so it is now able to write specifications. G-1’s long range plan is to produce several specifications in new, industry-specific areas, within the next few years. And there’s nothing that gets people more interested in standardization than coming up with a spec that might exclude their product. Not only that—if you have specs, it makes life a whole lot easier for certain segments of an industry; they don’t need to write their own specs, they can count on ASTM’s. And that saves them money, and anything that saves them money this quarter is important.

In this vein, more recent standards being developed by the committee have focused on such topics as the protection of underground fuel storage tanks, cathodic protection of ships and marine structures, and corrosion failure analysis. Training in corrosion testing and corrosion protection methods is also becoming more important, with Technical and Professional Training courses now being developed in specific areas of industry need.

You are administrator of the U.S. TAG to the ISO TC on Corrosion. What are some of the issues you face in creating standards for corrosion engineering that will be acceptable around the world?
The biggest issue is determining what standards are really wanted or needed. The TAG in the past has successfully helped produce ISO test standards based on ASTM tests, so that testing would be carried out throughout the world in the same way that it is conducted in the United States. Interest in testing methods is waning however. Industries in the U.S. want to have standards that will promote their business overseas. It is unclear to them at this point how corrosion standards can help achieve this goal, and so U.S. support for the TAG to ISO/TC 156 is also waning.

The issue has reached criticality, in that the TAG is not currently getting enough income to support its expenses. There are some problems within ISO TC 156 that are very similar to what’s happening in other ISO committees. The TAG has experienced the dominance of ISO by the European Union countries, with very close alliance with the CEN [European Committee on Standardization] Corrosion Committee. This is disturbing in that if a CEN standard is being developed, the United States has no input into the process, but this standard can become an ISO standard by parallel voting in ISO/ TC 156. If the European countries decide to vote as a block, the U.S. cannot stop this adoption.

Often, the voluntary consensus standardization process is faulted for being “too slow.” How can, and how has, ASTM bridged the gap between consensus and speed?
The nature of industry has changed over the years. Today, if you don’t get the standard this quarter, you don’t generate the profits this quarter, so there’s now an emphasis on getting things done more quickly than in the past. But at the same time there’s also an emphasis on not sacrificing the quality of the standard because of increased speed.

ASTM recognized this problem some time ago and has very effectively been addressing it over the years. The Society has provided more administrative support, particularly at the subcommittee level with balloting, to remove this burden from the members so that they can concentrate on technical issues. The balloting process has been streamlined over the years, with the addition of simultaneous subcommittee/main committee ballots, more rapid turnaround of ballots, and more recently, the change of the Society ballot into a Society review. This has all been done by not only maintaining full consensus, but also improving it.

In the long run, people who are familiar with the ASTM procedures and the history of developing standards know that “slow” is not in our vocabulary any longer. Of course, on contentious standards, full consensus will mean multiple negatives to be addressed and multiple re-ballots. But where the consensus is not obvious, I think the process should slow down. Because until you have a true consensus, you shouldn’t be proceeding.

Consensus and speed are not mutually exclusive, however. In some cases, the methods ASTM has employed to improve speed have also improved consensus. The fact that we invite international participation over the Web and make it easier through fax balloting and the soon-to-be e-mail balloting means that we can now get some foreign input into the consensus process we didn’t have before in some cases.

In your view, what are some of the challenges and opportunities ASTM faces as we enter the 21st century?
The biggest challenges and opportunities ASTM faces in the 21st century stem from improved worldwide communications. The advent of computers and the Internet has changed the face of information delivery and human interactions. Information delivery in the form of paper books, as has been the tradition in the past at ASTM, is being replaced by delivery-on-demand over the Internet. Within the next two to three years, ASTM will turn a major corner by delivering more standards electronically than are delivered on paper. ASTM has prepared to meet this challenge by the establishment of an electronic publishing system that holds all standards in electronic format, for delivery in whatever form is requested. One big challenge facing ASTM in the future is pricing of electronic media. When standards were sold in books, where only a percentage of the standards purchased were actually used, unit pricing could be kept low. In a standard-on-demand system, maintenance of ASTM’s income will be predicated on appropriate pricing for individual standards, custom compendia, and multiple standard licensing.

A second challenge facing ASTM is an increasing demand for our standards in languages other than American English. We are already translating some standards into Spanish, and are producing the index in Chinese. More standards can be sold if they are made available in the native language of the customer. We are also challenged to bring the non-English speaking person into the standards development process. The Web-based Interactive Standards Development Forum removes geographical location as a barrier to participation in standards development, but in the next century, we must provide some form of translation service tied into this product. As computer translation becomes more sophisticated, this may eventually be an attainable goal. And when we achieve this, I think we’ve truly internationalized ASTM.

Is there anything else you want to add?
First, I want to express my gratitude to the Naval Surface Warfare Center for supporting my attendance at ASTM meetings for many years. I was elected to the Board of Directors while working for them, and it would not have been possible without their believing in the value of my participation.

Secondly, I want to share what other members who attend the ASTM committee meetings already know—that the ASTM staff is simply the best in the field. The ASTM members contribute the technical knowledge, but the staff makes the whole standardization process happen. Everyone I have met on staff, from the security guards to the president, is good at their job, friendly, and courteous. ASTM is truly fortunate to have such a resource to call on to help us members get our standards written. Jim Thomas is a truly phenomenal person, with a passion for ASTM and standardization and knowledge and ability that are unsurpassed in the standards arena.

I’m looking forward to going to Committee Weeks and meeting our members, going to executive subcommittee meetings, and seeing how other committees operate. As I’ve progressed up through the various levels in ASTM, I’ve gotten exposed to broader and broader areas within the organization; I have developed an appreciation for what’s involved in standardization and how ASTM fits into that picture—in the U.S. and the world. I’m very appreciative of the fact that I’ve been given this opportunity to serve ASTM even more. //

Talk to the Editor: Maryann Gorman

Northrop Grumman

Ranked number eight in Fortune magazine’s 1998 list of the world’s most-admired aerospace companies, today’s Northrop Grumman was formed from a 1994 Northrop acquisition of Grumman Corporation. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., the company now provides an array of world-class technologies and core competencies to military and commercial markets, principally as a leading defense electronics, systems integration, and information technology company that retains strong capabilities in military aircraft systems and modifications, commercial aircraft assemblies, and marine systems.

ASTM Chairman Harvey Hack is employed at NG’s Oceanic Systems division, with headquarters that look out on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Annapolis, Md. Oceanic develops underwater vehicles; systems such as sonar, electronics, displays, and recorders for undersea use; as well as advanced sensors and processing.

Hack was involved with improving the corrosion resistance for Oceanic’s recently-completed 65-foot Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), a dry combat submersible that provides increased range, speed, and physical comfort to deliver Navy SEAL teams on missions in high-threat environments.

NG Oceanic’s AN/AQS-14 Side-Looking Sonar was deployed and successfully operated in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf during Desert Storm, as well as on recent mine countermeasures exercises. NG has also recently upgraded the topside electronics, displays, and recorders for the U.S. Navy and provided new Post Mission Analysis and Trainer systems.

The NG Oceanic Division is responsible for the outboard acoustic and electronics systems for the Advanced Mine Detection Systems and the AN/BQG-5A(V)1 Wide Aperture Array, intended for installation in U.S. submarines. Navy divers successfully used Oceanic’s SM2000 Laser Line Scan System to search for remnants of TWA Flight 800.

Internationally, Oceanic is the only non-German entity selected to participate in the German MA2000 MCM program. Oceanic is providing processing for the SAS segment, a towed vehicle with side-look sonar, and an automatic mine detection and classification system.