"A United States defense standard, often called a military standard, "MIL-STD", "MIL-SPEC", or (informally) MilSpecs, is used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense." Defined by wikipedia
Sounds official and a little complicated. So we went ahead and created a Cliffsnotes™ version. The following information represents a pared down description of the many elaborate explanations you'll likely find online.
MilSpec in simple terms is military specifications used to describe the physical and/or operational characteristics of a product, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In even simpler terms, the Department of Defense (DOD) defines MilSpec as “military performance specification,” period.
The objective of Mil-Spec is to ensure that items and products meet specific requirements:
- Total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Logistic systems compatibility
- Manufacturing requirements
- Testing standards
- Other defense-related objectives
The GAO notes that mil-spec helps:
- Protect against contractor fraud
- Promote greater opportunities for competition among contractors
- Provide products that can perform in extreme conditions
- Ensure inter-operability between products
Military Specification + Packaging & Shipping
In addition to the DOD, defense standards are utilized by many non-governmental agencies, this includes packaging and shipping. In the world of packaging and shipping, the physical and/or operational characteristics of a shipment may include, but are not limited to:
- Bar coding
- Cleaning and drying procedures
- Cushioning, wrapping, and barrier materials
- Outer shipping containers
- Packing levels
- Preservation methods
- Preservative materials to be utilized/applied
- Quantity per unit pack and intermediate pack
- RFID (radio-frequency identification)
Companies that require or prefer mil-spec packaging for their domestic or international shipments have a variety of options to choose from including:
- Custom Wood Crates
- Shipping Containers
- Heavy Duty Wood Boxes
- Part Specific Boxes
- Light Duty Boxes
Many Mil-Specs cover federal requirements for shipping crates, boxes and containers used for domestic and overseas shipping of various products, materials, and supplies.
So, if you’re in the business of requiring Mil-Spec packaging, you’ll likely encounter the following specifications: PPP-B-601, PPP-B-621, MIL-DTL-197K, ASTM-D-6251, ASTM-D-6256, MIL-B-2427, MIL-DTL-2845, ASTM-D-6039, MIL-C-104, and ASTM-D-7478.
To get descriptions and downloads for these specs, visit our blog post Military Specification Crates Explained.