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MIL-STD-188 is a series of U.S. military standards relating to telecommunications.



Faced with “past technical deficiencies in telecommunications systems and equipment and software…that were traced to basic inadequacies in the application of telecommunication standards and to the lack of a well defined…program for their review, control and implementation”, the U.S. Department of Defense looked to develop a series of standards that would alleviate the problem.[1]

By 1988, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued Instruction 4630.8 (reissued in 1992, 2002, 2004) stating its policy that “all forces for joint and combined operations be supported through compatible, interoperable, and integrated Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence systems. …[and that all such] systems developed for use by U.S. forces are considered to be for joint use.”[2] To achieve this the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is charged with “developing information technology standards to achieve interoperability and compatibility…[and insure that all] systems and equipment shall conform to technical and procedural standards for interface, interoperability, and compatibility”.[2]

The MIL-STD-188 standards were created to “address telecommunication design parameters based on proven technologies.”[2] To ensure interoperability, DISA made these standards mandatory for use in all new DoD systems and equipment, or major upgrades.

The mandatory use of these standards will aid significantly in achieving standardization and result in improvements in availability, maintainability, reliability, and supportability. This, in turn, will enhance lifecycle configuration management and logistic support with subsequent reductions in life cycle costs.[1]


When first developed Military Standard 188 (MIL-STD-188) covered technical standards for tactical and long-haul communications, but as it was revised (MIL-STD-188A, MIL-STD-188B) it became a document applicable to tactical communications only (MIL-STD-188C 24 Nov 1969[3]).[4] The Defense Information Systems Agency published circulars which announced both standards and engineering criteria relating to the long-haul Defense Communications System and to the technical support of the Worldwide Military Command and Control System.[4] In line with a decision by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these standards are published in the MIL-STD-188 series of documents. This series is subdivided into "a MIL-STD-188-100 series covering common standards for tactical and long-haul communications, a MIL-STD-188-200 series covering standards for tactical communications only, and a MIL-STD-188-300 series covering standards for long-haul communications only."[4]

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