This paper describes the development and implementation of MIS 36477, a Missile Specification for laser damage certification of designator optical components. This MIS is the first official government specification issued for laser damage testing of optics for military laser systems. We describe the history behind the development of laser damage testing for military systems and the gradual emergence of standards for this type of test. The necessity of a standard for laser damage testing was clearly indicated by the inability to correlate results from different test facilities1,2. The development of de facto standards within the industry is discussed along with the rationale behind the generation of this particular specification. The MIS is described in detail and it is clear that considerably more than just a fluence level and laser parameters need to be defined to have a thorough and widely applicable specification. The MIS specifies the scope of the document, cites applicable federal standards and military specifications, defines requirements for the test laser and the target plane, provides detailed procedures for handling and testing of the optical components, gives a specific definition of damage to be used, and lists approved test facilities. The MIS provides a complete and well defined test specification for a specific set of optics, i.e., optical components for laser designators. It provides a common set of definitions and procedures to facilitate communication and correlation of test results between contractors, vendors, test laboratories and the end users within the government.