860 FW 1, Metric Transition Program


FWM#: 200 (new)
Date: June 9, 1995
Series: Technical Measurements and Data Management
Part 860: Metric System
Originating Office: Division of Policy and Directives Management

1.1 Purpose. This chapter establishes policies and assigns responsibilities for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) Metric Transition Program.

1.2 Scope. This chapter applies to all Service activities.

1.3 Authority.

A. Public Law 94-168, 15 U.S.C. 205a, the Metric Conversion Act of 1975.

B. Public Law 100-418, Section 5164, Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988.

C. Executive Order 12770 of July 25, 1991, Metric Usage in Federal Government Programs.

D. Departmental Manual, Part 758, Chapter 1, Metric Transition Program.

1.4 Background. The metric system grew out of a study of measurement systems by France's Paris Academy of Sciences and was adopted by the National Assembly of France in 1795. The need for standardization among countries led to the creation of an international system of metric units and practices called the System of International Units, designated SI in all languages. The metric system has emerged as the choice of all the nations in the world with the exception of three countries: Myanmar (formerly Burma), Liberia, and the United States.

1.5 Objectives. The objectives of the Federal metric transition program are to:

A. Require to the extent economically feasible use of the metric system of measurement in procurements, grants, and other business-related activities (agency programs and functions related to trade, industry and commerce) except to the extent that such use is impractical or is likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States (U.S.) firms, such as when foreign competitors are producing competing products in non-metric units.

B. Seek ways to increase understanding of the metric system of measurement through educational information and guidance and in Government publications.

C. Seek the aid, assistance, and cooperation of other affected parties, including other Federal, State, and local agencies and the private sector to implement metric transition.

1.6 Responsibilities.

A. The Director is responsible for:

(1) Ensuring compliance with the Service's metric transition policy as set forth in this chapter; and

(2) Ensuring that metric transition actions are completed within required or planned timeframes.

B. The Deputy Director - Staff is responsible for:

(1) Developing, implementing, and managing the Service's Metric Transition Plan;

(2) Adapting Departmental metric transition procedures to fit Service needs and issuing supplemental Service procedures when necessary; and

(3) Designating a Metric Coordinator.

C. Assistant Directors and Regional Directors are responsible for converting to metric usage when economically feasible and for ensuring compliance with policy as set forth in this chapter.

D. Service Metric Coordinator is responsible for:

(1) Serving as the Service's central point of contact on metrication matters and participating in IMWG activities;

(2) Coordinating the required actions in the Service metric transition plan and reporting to the IMWG on accomplishments;

(3) Informing and educating employees on metric transition initiatives, progress and issues;

(4) Identifying staff to participate in MOC subcommittee activities; and

(5) Providing input to the IMWG on annual metric transition accomplishments and future actions for the Department's annual metric report to Congress.

1.7 Service Policy. The Service will:

A. Support an environment that accommodates metric transition by not creating barriers.

B. Convert specifications, engineering standards, and other technical documents consistent with the above objectives. Whenever practical, use hard conversions of measurement units when converting specifications and standards. When another agency or the private sector is responsible for developing a specification or standard, the Service will participate as necessary in the development.

C. When economically feasible, implement the metric system for procurement, grants, and business-related activities.

D. Develop and implement a Service Transition Plan.

E. Require metric specifications where:

(1) Private industry has made significant progress in converting their products and services to the metric system of measurements;

(2) There is a specific need for material, hardware, or systems to be used in conjunction with international activities;

(3) Contracts and grants in academic, industrial, and private sector activities are conducted in metric measurements;

(4) A significant benefit can be derived from use of the metric system; or

(5) The usable life of a facility or equipment is such that non-metric specifications could, at a later date, significantly increase the cost of conversions.

F. Use the metric units listed in the "Preferred Metric Units for General Use by the Federal Government," General Services Administration Federal Standard No. 376B. Any additional units shall be developed following the guidelines in "American National Standard for Metric Practice," ANSI/IEEE 268-1992.

G. Acquire and use metric products and services when the private sector has the capability to provide such metric products and services at reasonable costs.

H. Include the costs associated with metric transition in budgets as part of the expenses of the activities.

I. Ensure that training in the use of the metric system of measurements is provided to Service employees who use metric measurements in carrying out their responsibilities. Service supervisors and managers will keep employees informed of transition plans and activities.

J. Use either dual dimensions (metric/inch-pound) or metric exclusively for measurement-sensitive information in all new and revised regulations, policies, directives, manuals, reports, publications, and specifications. All dual dimensions will be expressed with metric units first and inch-pound units second.

K. Undertake metric transition initiatives only when such use is practical and is unlikely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to U.S. firms. The Service shall give due consideration to known effects of its actions on State and local governments and the private sector, paying particular attention to effects on small businesses.

1.8 Reporting Requirements. The Service is required to submit to the Department an annual metric progress report on action taken during the previous fiscal year and future action planned to implement the metric system. The Department's metric report to Congress is part of its annual budget submission. The requirement for reporting to Congress has been incorporated into OMB Circular A-11, "Preparation and Submission of Budget Estimates."

1.9 Definitions.

A. Conversions, Hard. Physically changing products, procedures, or measurement practices to use metric measurements. This involves modifying the actual product or procedure to metric dimensions. The new dimensions should be expressed in round numbers, if possible. (For example, soft conversion [see below] of two pounds would be expressed as 909.2 grams. If hard conversion is performed, the measurement could be expressed in a convenient, rounded form, i.e., 900 grams--slightly less than two pounds.)

B. Conversions, Soft. Changing from inch-pound measurement units to equivalent metric units without modifying or altering (1) the physical size (dimensions or configurations) of a part or product; (2) the process by which a component is produced; or (3) the procedures or equipment used for measurement. Soft conversion is accomplished mathematically by applying standard conversion factors, i.e., one inch equals 2.54 centimeters, one pound equals 454.6 grams, etc. (For example, standard writing paper dimensions of 8-1/2 x 11 inches are expressed as 21.59 x 27.94 centimeters after soft conversion. For convenience, standard writing paper metric dimensions are 210 x 279 millimeters.)

C. Engineering Standard. A standard that prescribes a set of conditions and requirements that must be met by a material, product, process, procedure, or test method; and the related physical, functional, performance, and/or conformance characteristics.

D. Inch-Pound System of Units. The system of measurement units (inch, pound, second, degree Fahrenheit, and units derived from these) most commonly used in the U.S. It is also referred to as "English System," "U.S. System," and "Customary System."

E. Interagency Council on Metric Policy (ICMP). An interagency committee at the Assistant Secretary level established under the auspices of the Department of Commerce to coordinate and provide policy guidance on metrication to the heads of Federal agencies. The ICMP includes representatives from the major Federal Departments and agencies and is chaired by the Department of Commerce Under Secretary for Technology.

F. Interior Metric Work Group (IMWG). Bureau and office representatives in the Department of the Interior (Department) who develop and coordinate Departmental metric policies and plans and resolve problems and issues in the implementation of the metric system.

G. Measurement-Sensitive. The characteristic of having an expressed measurement unit as a critical component of the activity. (For example, an agency rule/regulation requiring intake or discharge of a product to certain volumes or flow rates involves measurement-sensitive data.)

H. Metric System of Measurement. A decimal system of weights and measurements based on the meter for length, gram for mass and liter for volume. Smaller units are formed by dividing a base unit by a power of 10 and larger units are formed by multiplying a base unit by a power of 10.

I. Metrication. The process of converting an existing system of weights and measures to the metric system.

J. Metrication Operating Committee (MOC). The MOC, a subcommittee of the ICMP, coordinates Federal interagency metrication activities and recommends policy guidance to the ICMP. Metric Coordinators from the major Federal agencies comprise the MOC. The MOC structure includes a number of interagency subcommittees that focus on specific areas of metric activity.

K. MOC Subcommittee Participants. Bureau and office employees who participate in the activities of the MOC subcommittees. Participants keep the Metric Coordinators informed of subcommittee activities and decisions; provide input to subcommittee deliberations; arrange for Departmental staff to contribute to subcommittee activities when appropriate; and develop Departmental positions on subcommittee issues when requested by the Departmental Metric Coordinator.

L. National and/or International Standard or Recommendation. An engineering standard or recommendation that is formulated and promulgated by a national or international organization, and recommended for adoption as a U.S. standard.

1.10 References. Following is a list of Departmental Manual chapters that include references to metrics:

A. Departmental Manual, Part 011, The Departmental Manual.

B. Departmental Manual, Part 012, Secretary's Orders.

C. Departmental Manual, Part 318, Federal Register Documents.

D. Departmental Manual, Part 380, Records Management.

E. Departmental Manual, Part 381, Organization of Records and Information.

F. Departmental Manual, Part 401, Procurement Regulations.

G. Departmental Manual, Part 470, Public Expression.

H. Departmental Manual, Part 471, Audiovisual Media and Publications.

I. Departmental Manual, Part 476, Utilizing Non-government Publications to Disseminate Information.

J. Departmental Manual, Part 505, Grants Administration.


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