DOE Technical Standards Program Information

Information on the TSP mission, vision, and directive defining the program

Program Overview

For Additional Information Contact:
Jeffrey Feit
phone: 301-903-0471


In support of the Department's Standards Program and in partnership with all stakeholders, the mission is to enhance DOE's transition to a standards-based culture by providing information, coordinating activities, and promoting the use of consensus standards, and when needed, the development of DOE technical standards.


The culture of the DOE community will be based on standards. Technical standards will formally integrate part of all DOE facility, program and project activities. The DOE will be recognized as a participant in the use and development of technical standards. The Technical Standards Program will be a benchmark for efficiency, value and support for the DOE customer.

DOE O 252.1A Admin Chg 1, Technical Standards Program

This Order establishes the DOE Technical Standards Program (TSP) to accomplish the following:

  • promote the use of Voluntary Consensus Standards (VCS) by the Department of Energy (DOE) as the primary method for application of technical standards, except where inconsistent with law or otherwise impractical, per Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities, and Public Law (P.L.) 104-113, the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995;
  • sustain and manage the TSP including technical standards development, information, activities, issues, and interactions;
  • encourage and support participation in DOE topical committees and VCS development organizations; and
  • provide DOE interface with the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy, other Federal agencies, and national and international standards development organizations on broad technical standards issues and activities.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 [Public Law (PL) 104-113]

On March 7, 1996, President Clinton signed into law National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995. The new law, referred to as PL 104-113, serves to continue the policy changes initiated in the 1980s under Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 (OMB A-119), Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Standards, that are transitioning the Executive branch of the Federal Government from a developer of internal standards to a customer of external standards. Section 12, "Standards Conformity," of the act states that "...all Federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards (defined as "performance-based or design-specific technical specifications and related management systems practices") that are developed and adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies and departments." The act further states that "...Federal agencies and departments shall consult with voluntary, private sector, consensus standards bodies, and shall ... participate with such bodies in the development of technical standards."

Because DOE had already adopted the guidance of OMB A-119 in its policy documents on technical standards (i.e., Order 1300.2/1300.2A and DOE P 251.1), the new law complements the existing processes and procedures of the Technical Standards Program. DOE is a recognized leader within the Federal Government on technical standards management programs. However, there are actions that have been or are being taken by the Technical Standards Program Office (TSPO) to fully implement the new law. These actions include the following:

  • The TSPO has issued a revision (dated June 1, 1997) to the Technical Standards Program Procedures (TSPPs) to reference PL 104-113 and strengthen the project screening process (TSPP-2) to promote development of voluntary standards in lieu of DOE technical standards.
  • The proposed revisions to DOE Order 1300.2A (i.e., DOE O 252.1) and its implementation guide (G 252.1-1) that were discussed at the recent TSMC meetings are being updated to include appropriate references to PL 104-113 and the pending revision to OMB A-119.
  • Discussions are being held with the Department Standards Committee and Directives Systems management to advise them of the new public law and its impact on standards management activities within DOE.

These actions, and others being taken, are described in a September 19, 1996 memorandum from the Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health (EH-1) on PL 104-113.

PL 104-113 is a true shift in the paradigm for many Federal agencies regarding the conduct of their technical standards activities. Where DOE, in its continued transition to a "work smart", standards-based operating culture, identifies the need for new or revised technical standards, PL 104-113 compels us to focus all technical standards development efforts deemed necessary toward voluntary standards in lieu of DOE technical standards. The Technical Standards Program is and will continue to be an important element of DOE's overall strategy to effect this new operating culture. If you would like to receive additional information on PL 104-113, please contact me.

OMB Circular A–119 [Revised January 2016]

OMB Circular A-119 , revised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in January 2016, spells out the government strategy for standards development. It promotes agency participation on standards bodies, specifies reporting requirements on conformity assessment activities, and informs agencies of their statutory obligations related to standards setting.

NIST is responsible for coordinating standards and conformity assessment activities and reporting government-wide progress annually to OMB.