The American National Standards Institute and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standardization Agency signed today a Technical Cooperative Agreement to support the mutual value in cooperating in all fields of standardization. The NATO Standardization Agency (NSA) also signed agreements with ANSI members ASTM International and SAE International. The agreements signal the formal beginnings of technical cooperation that will enhance interoperability, lower costs, and improve efficiencies. This benefits American taxpayers, industry, and warfighters, and brings similar benefits to the 26 NATO nations and the NATO Alliance.
The agreements mean that:
- Programs of planned work and standardization priorities will be shared in both directions between NATO partners and civil standards organizations
- NATO partners will be welcomed to participate in technical committees to help shape standards that may become the basis for Standardization Agreements
- Civil standards organizations will facilitate the adoption of their standards through cooperative coordination agreements
“The fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means. The fundamental role of ANSI is to promote global trade and to safeguard the safety health, and quality of life of the world’s citizens by promoting and facilitating the use of voluntary consensus standards,” said ANSI president and CEO Dr. Mark W. Hurwitz. “I believe our partnership will benefit emerging coordination and development efforts, particularly in areas such as homeland security and defense, biometrics, and also in rapidly growing industrial areas such as nanotechnology.”
The NSA is an independent NATO Agency whose mission is to initiate, coordinate, support and administer standardization activities conducted under the authority of the NATO Committee for Standardization (NCS). Standardization is defined within NATO as the process of developing concepts, doctrines, procedures and designs to achieve and maintain the most effective levels of "compatibility, interchangeability and commonality" in the operational, procedural, materiel, technical and administrative fields. The primary products of this process have been Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) between member nations.
In March 2004 NATO adopted a framework for use of civil standards in lieu of NATO STANAGS. NSA began to explore appropriate ways to implement this framework, which included signing Technical Cooperative Agreements with partners at the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Today's signing ceremony represents the next step in implementation of the framework as NATO and the NSA begin to develop cooperation agreements with U.S. civil standards bodies, especially those few that develop standards that are adopted for use in significant numbers by the U.S. Department of Defense.