Welcome to EverySpec.com, your premiere source for free downloads of government and military standards, specifications, handbooks, and documents. We created this site based on frustration with locating and searching for specifications, standards, handbooks, and documents that are in public domain information, and yet are hard to find, search, and index. We don't think it should be that hard, and this site is the result of our efforts. Hopefully, as the site grows it will help others in the same situation.
A Military Standard, Military Specification (often colloquially called "MIL-STD", "MIL-SPEC", or "MilSpecs") are used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In the military domain, standardization is beneficial in (i) achieving interoperability; (ii) ensuring products meet certain requirements such as commonality, reliability, total cost of ownership, compatibility with logistics systems); and (iii) similar defense-related objectives. These documents are also used by other non-defense government organizations, technical organizations, and industry.
The DoD has several standardization documents that govern the format of standards
MIL-STD-961E, Defense and Program-Unique Specifications Format and Content
MIL-STD-962D(1), Defense Standards Format and Content
MIL-STD-967(1), Defense Handbooks Format and Content
It is important to note that defense standards evolved from the need to ensure proper performance and maintainability of military equipment. For example, due to differences in dimensional tolerances, in World War II American screws and bolts did not fit British equipment properly and were not fully interchangeable. The use of defense standards provides many benefits, such as minimizing the number of types of ammunition, ensuring compatibility of tools, and ensuring quality during production of military equipment. However, the proliferation of standards in the past had a number of drawbacks, and it has been argued that the large number of standards, nearly 30,000 by 1990, imposed unnecessary restrictions, increased cost to contractors, and hence the DoD, and impeded the incorporation of the latest technology.
In 1994, responding to increasing criticism, Secretary of Defense William Perry issued a memorandum that prohibited the use of most defense standards without a waiver, and many defense standards were subsequently canceled. In their place, the D0D encouraged the use of industry standards (e.g., the ISO 9000 series for quality assurance). Military systems were then required to use "performance specifications" that described the desired features of the weapon, as opposed to requiring a large number of defense standards. In 2005, the DoD issued a new memorandum that eliminated the requirement to obtain a waiver in order to use defense standards, however that did not reinstate any canceled defense standards. According to the magazine, Gateway (2003), the number of defense standards and specifications have been reduced from 45,500 to 28,000 since that time.
DEFINITIONS: Although the definitions differentiate between several types of documents, all of these documents go by the general rubric of "military standard", including defense specifications, handbooks, and standards. Strictly speaking, these documents serve different purposes. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), military specifications "describe the physical and/or operational characteristics of a product", while military standards "detail the processes and materials to be used to make the product." Military handbooks, on the other hand, are primarily sources of compiled information and/or guidance. The GAO acknowledges, however, that the terms are often used interchangeably. Official definitions are provided by DOD 4120.24-M Defense Standardization Program (DSP) Policies and Procedures, March 2000, OUSD (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics), excerpted as follows: