defense suppliers and contractors the main concern is keeping track of evolving requirements
surrounding mil specs and quality systems. Here are some tips when
conforming to military quality requirements. Policy and
guidance on the application of quality standards is provided in the
FAR Part 46;
DFARS Part 246; and
SECDEF memorandum of 29 June 94, entitled "Specifications and Standards
- A New Way of Doing Business"; and
memorandum of December 8, 1995, titled "Single Process Initiative"
- Keep tabs on Defense Department requirements through the data base on
mil spec replacements. You can access this data base via the worldwide
- Monitor individual services that are customers and be aware of their
- Know your "customer," in this case one of hundreds of government
- Know the special requirements that your customer sets.
The Defense Department has designated ISO 9001 or 9002 as the
quality system of choice for its suppliers, replacing Mil-Q-9858. ISO
9000 is called Q9000 in the United States.
The following are the Q9000 replacements for mil
- Replaces MIL-Q-9858 and includes MIL-STD-1520 (Material
Review), MIL-STD-1535 (Supplier Quality Requirements) and MIL-Q-45662(Top-Level Calibration). It applies to systems in design, production,
installation and servicing.
- -Replaces MIL-I-45208 and is a more comprehensive quality
system. MIL-I is only an inspection system. It is exactly like Q9001
except for design requirements.
- This standard is designed to apply to final test and inspection
- A guideline document outlining quality management systems.
The Defense Department has not required ISO 9000
certification and still conducts a great deal of second-party auditing.
Depending on the service and agency concerned, defense contractors and
suppliers should be in compliance with the ISO 9000 standard series but do
not have to be registered.
MILITARY SPECIFICATIONS MIL-I-45208A
Here is a free source for specifications, standards, and handbooks.
This specification establishes requirements for contractors'
These requirements pertain to the inspections and tests necessary to
substantiate product conformance to drawings, specifications and
contract requirements and to all inspection and tests required by the
contract. These requirements are in addition to those inspections and
tests set forth in applicable specifications and other contractual
1.2.1 Applicability. This specification shall apply to all suppliers or
services when referenced in the item specification, contract or order.
1.2.2 Relation to other contract requirements. The inspection system
requirements set forth in this specification shall be satisfied in
addition to all detail requirements contained in the statement of work
or in other parts of the contract. The contractor is responsible for
compliance with all provisions of the contract and for furnishing
specified articles which meet all requirements of the contract. To the
extent of any inconsistency between the contract schedule or its general
provisions and this specification the contract schedule and the general
provisions shall control.
1.2.3 Options. This specification contains fewer requirements than
specification MIL-Q-9858, Quality Program Requirements. The contractor
may use, at his option, the requirements of MIL-Q-9858, in whole or in
part, whenever this specification is specified, provided no increase in
price or fee is involved. This option permits one uniform system in the
event the contractor is already complying with MIL-Q-9858.
2. APPLICABLE DOCUMENTS
2.1 The following documents of the issue in effect on date of
invitations for bids form a part of this specification to the extent
SPECIFICATIONS - MILITARY
MIL-Q-9858A Quality Program Requirements
MIL-STD-45662 Calibration System Requirements
2.2 Amendments and Revisions. Whenever this specification is amended or
revised subsequent to its contractually effective date, the contractor
may follow or authorize his subcontractors to follow the amended or
revised document provided no increase in price or fee is required. The
contractor shall not be required to follow the amended or revised
document except as a change in contract. If the contractor elects to
follow the amended or revised document, he shall notify the Contracting
Officer in writing of this election. When the contractor elects to
follow the provisions of an amendment or revision, he must follow them
2.3 Ordering Government Documents. Copies of specifications, standards
and drawings required by contractors in connection with specific
procurements may be obtained from the procuring agency or as otherwise
directed by the contracting officer.
3.1 Contractor Responsibilities. The contractor shall provide and
maintain an inspection system which will assure that all supplies and
services submitted to the Government for acceptance conform to contract
requirements whether manufactured or processed by the contractor, or
procured from subcontractors or vendors. The contractor shall perform or
have performed the inspection and tests required to substantiate product
conformance to drawing, specifications and contract requirements and
shall also perform or have performed all inspections and tests otherwise
required by the contract. The contractors inspection system shall be
documented and shall be available for review by the Government
Representative prior to the initiation of production and throughout the
life of the contract The Government at its own option may furnish
written notice of the acceptability or non-acceptability of the
inspection system. The contractor shall notify the Government
Representative in writing of any change to his inspection system.
The inspection system shall be subject to disapproval if changes thereto
would result in nonconforming product.
3.2 Documentation, Records, Corrective Action.
3.2.1 Inspection and Testing Documentation. Inspection and testing shall
be prescribed by clear, complete and current instructions. The
instructions shall assure inspection and test of materials, work in
process and completed articles as required by the item specification and
the contract. In addition, criteria for approval and rejection of
product shall be included.
3.2.2 Records. The contractor shall maintain adequate records of all
inspections and tests. The records shall indicate the nature and number
of observations made, the number and type of deficiencies found, the
quantities approved and rejected and the nature of corrective action
taken as appropriate.
3.2.3 Corrective Action. The contractor shall take prompt action to
correct assignable conditions which have resulted or could result in the
submission to the Government of supplies and services which do not
conform to 1) the quality assurance provisions of the item
specification, 2) inspections and tests required by the contract, and 3)
other inspections and tests required to substantiate product
3.2.4 Drawings and Changes. The contractors inspection system shall
provide for procedures which will assure that the latest applicable
drawings, specifications and instructions required by the contract, as
well as authorized changes thereto, are used for fabrication, inspection
3.3 Measuring and Test Equipment. The contractor shall provide and
maintain gages and other measuring and testing devices necessary to
assure that supplies conform to the technical requirements.
In order to assure continued accuracy, these devices shall be calibrated
at established intervals against certified standards which have known
valid relationships to national standards. If production tooling, such
as jigs, fixtures, templates, and patterns is used as a media of
inspection, such devices shall also be proved for accuracy at
established intervals. Calibration of inspection equipment shall be in
accordance with MIL-C-45662. When required, the contractor's measuring
and testing equipment shall be made available for use by the Government
Representative to determine conformance of product with contract
requirements. In addition, if conditions warrant, contractors' personnel
shall be made available for operation of such devices and for
verification of their accuracy and condition.
3.4 Process Control. Process control procedures shall be an integral
part of the inspection system when such inspections are a part of the
specification or the contract.
3.5 Indication of Inspection Status. The contractor shall maintain a
positive system for identifying the inspection status of supplies.
Identification may be accomplished by means of stamps, tags, routing
cards, move tickets, tote box cards or other control devices. Such
controls shall be of a design distinctly different from Government
3.6 Government-Furnished Material. When material is furnished by the
Government, the contractor's procedures shall include as a minimum the
A) Examination upon receipt, consistent with practicability, to detect
damage in transit
B) Inspection for completeness and proper type.
C) Periodic inspection and precautions to assure adequate storage
conditions and to guard against damage from handling and deterioration
D) Functional testing, either prior to or after installation, or both,
as required by contract to determine satisfactory operation.
E) Identification and protection from improper use or disposition ; and
F) Verification of quantity.
3.6.1 Damaged Government-Furnished Material. The contractor shall report
to the Government Representative any Government-Furnished material found
damaged, malfunctioning or otherwise unsuitable for use. In the event of
damage or malfunction during or after installation, the contractor shall
determine and record probable cause and necessity for withholding
material from use.
3.7 Nonconforming Material. The contractor shall establish and maintain
an effective and positive system for controlling nonconforming material,
including procedures for the identification, segregation, presentation
and disposition of reworked or repaired supplies. Repair of
nonconforming supplies shall be in accordance with documented procedures
acceptable to the Government. The acceptance of nonconforming supplies
is the prerogative of and shall be as prescribed by the Government.
All nonconforming supplies shall be positively identified to prevent
use, shipment and intermingling with conforming supplies. Holding areas,
mutually agreeable to the contractor and the Government Representative,
shall be provided by the contractor.
3.8 Qualified Products. The inclusion of a product on the Qualified
Products List only signifies that at one time the manufacturer made a
product which met specification requirements. It does not relieve the
contractor of his responsibility for furnishing supplies that meet all
specification requirements or for performing specified inspections and
tests for such material.
3.9 Sampling Inspection. Sampling inspection procedures used by the
contractor to determine quality conformance of supplies shall be as
stated in the contract or shall be subject to approval by the
3.10 Inspection Provisions. Alternative inspection procedures and
inspection equipment may be used by the contractor when such procedures
and equipment provide, as a minimum, the quality assurance required in
the contractual documents. Prior to applying such alternative inspection
procedures and inspection equipment, the contractor shall submit them in
a written proposal and shall demonstrate for the approval of the
Government Representative that their effectiveness is equal to or better
than the contractual quality assurance procedure. In cases of dispute as
to whether certain procedures of the contractor's inspection system
provide equal assurance, the procedures of this specification, the item
specification and other contractual documents shall apply.
3.11 Government Inspection at Subcontractor or Vendor Facilities. The
Government reserves the right to inspect at source supplies or services
not manufactured or performed within the contractors facility.
Government inspection shall not constitute acceptance; nor shall it in
any way replace contractor inspection or otherwise relieve the
contractor of his responsibility to furnish an acceptable end item.
When inspection at subcontractors' plants is performed by the
Government, such inspection shall not be used by the contractors as
evidence of effective inspection by such subcontractors. The purpose of
this inspection is to assist the Government Representative at the
contractor's facility to determine the conformance of supplies or
services with contract requirements. Such inspection can only be
requested by or under authorization of the Government Representative.
3.11.1 Government Inspection Requirements. When Government inspection is
required, the contractor shall add to his purchasing document the
following statement: "Government inspection is required prior to
shipment from your plant. Upon receipt of this order, promptly notify
the Government Representative who normally services your plant so that
appropriate planning for Government inspection can be accomplished."
3.11.2 Purchasing Documents. When, under authorization of the Government
Representative, copies of the purchasing document are to be furnished
directly by the subcontractor or the vendor to the Government
Representative at his facility rather than through Government channels,
the contractor shall add to his purchasing document a statement
substantially as follows: "On receipt of this order, promptly furnish a
copy to the Government Representative who normally services your plant
or, if none, to the nearest Army, Navy, Air Force or Defense Supply
Agency inspection office. In the event the representative or office
cannot be located, our purchasing agent should be notified immediately."
3.11.3 Referenced Data. All documents and referenced data for purchases
applying to a Government contract shall be available for review by the
Government Representative to determine compliance with the requirements
for the control of such purchases. Copies of purchasing documents
required for Government inspection purposes shall be furnished in
accordance with the instructions of the Government Representative.
3.12 Receiving Inspection. Subcontracted or purchased supplies shall be
subjected to inspection after receipt, as necessary, to assure
conformance to contract requirements. The contractor shall report to the
Government Representative any nonconformance found on Government
source-inspected supplies and shall require his supplier to coordinate
with his Government Representative on corrective action.
3.13 Government Evaluation. The contractor's inspection system and
supplies generated by the system shall be subject to evaluation and
verification inspection by the Government Representative to determine
its effectiveness in supporting the quality requirements established in
the detail specification, drawings and contract and as prescribed