METRIC USAGE IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States of America, including the Metric
Conversion Act of 1975, Public Law 94-168 (15 U.S.C. 205a et seq.)
("the Metric Conversion Act"), as amended by section 5164 of the
Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Public Law 100-418
("the Trade and Competitiveness Act"), and in order to implement the
congressional designation of the metric system of measurement as the
preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and
commerce, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Coordination by the Department of Commerce.
(a) The Secretary of Commerce ("Secretary") is designated to direct
and coordinate efforts by Federal departments and agencies to
implement Government metric usage in accordance with section 3
of the Metric Conversion Act (15 U.S.C. 205b), as amended by
section 5164(b) of the Trade and Competitiveness Act.
(b) In furtherance of his duties under this order, the Secretary is
(1) to charter an Interagency Council on Metric Policy ("ICMP"),
which will assist the Secretary in coordinating Federal
Government-wide implementation of this order. Conflicts and
questions regarding implementation of this order shall be
resolved by the ICMP. The Secretary may establish such
subcommittees and subchairs within this Council as may be
necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.
(2) to form such advisory committees representing other
interests, including State and local governments and the
business community, as may be necessary to achieve the
maximum beneficial effects of this order; and
(3) to issue guidelines, to promulgate rules and regulations,
and to take such actions as may be necessary to carry out
the purposes of this order. Regulations promulgated by the
Secretary shall function as policy guidelines for other
agencies and departments.
(c) The Secretary shall report to the President annually regarding
the progress made in implementing this order. The report shall
(1) an assessment of progress made by individual Federal agencies
towards implementing the purposes underlying this order;
(2) an assessment of the effect that this order has had on
achieving the national goal of establishing the metric
system as the preferred system of weights and measures
for United States trade and commerce; and
(3) on October 1, 1992, any recommendations which the Secretary may
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have for additional measures, including proposed legislation,
needed to achieve the full economic benefits of metric usage.
Section 2. Department and Agency Responsibilities.
All executive branch departments and agencies of the United States
Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their
authority to carry out the provisions of this order. Consistent with
this mission, the head of each executive department and agency shall:
(a) use, to the extent economically feasible by September 30, 1992, or
by such other date or dates established by the department or
agency in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the metric
system of measurement in Federal Government procurements, grants,
and other business-related activities. Other business-related
activities include all use of measurement units in agency programs
and functions related to trade, industry, and commerce.
(1) Metric usage shall not be required to the extent that such
use is impractical or is likely to cause significant
inefficiencies or loss of markets to United States firms.
(2) Heads of departments and agencies shall establish an
effective process for a policy-level and program-level
review of proposed exceptions to metric usage. Appropriate
information about exceptions granted shall be included in
the agency annual report along with recommendations for
actions to enable future metric usage.
(b) seek out ways to increase understanding of the metric system of
measurement through educational information and guidance and in
Government publications. The transition to use of metric units in
Government publications should be made as publications are revised
on normal schedules or new publications are developed, or as
metric publications are required in support of metric usage
pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) seek the appropriate aid, assistance, and cooperation of other
affected parties, including other Federal, State, and local
agencies and the private sector, in implementing this order.
Appropriate use shall be made of governmental, trade,
professional, and private sector metric coordinating groups to
secure the maximum benefits of this order through proper
communication among affected sectors.
(d) formulate metric transition plans for the department or agency
which shall incorporate the requirements of the Metric Conversion
Act and this order, and which shall be approved by the department
or agency head and be in effect by November 30, 1991. Copies of
approved plans shall be forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce.
Such metric transition plans shall specify, among other things:
(1) the total scope of the metric transition task for that
department or agency, including firm dates for all metric
accomplishment milestones for the current and subsequent
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(2) plans of the department or agency for specific initiatives to
enhance cooperation with industry, especially small business,
as it voluntarily converts to the metric system, and with all
affected parties in undertaking the requirements of paragraph
(a) of this section; and
(3) specific steps and associated schedules through which the
department or agency will seek to increase understanding of
the metric system through educational information and
guidance, and in department or agency publications.
(e) designate a senior-level official as the Metric Executive for
the department or agency to assist the head of each executive
department or agency in implementing this order. The
responsibilities of the Metric Executive shall include, but not
be limited to:
(1) acting as the department's or agency's policy-level
representative to the ICMP and as a liaison with other
government agencies and private sector groups;
(2) management oversight of department or agency outreach and
response to inquiries and questions from affected parties
during the transition to metric system usage; and
(3) management oversight of preparation of the department's or
agency's metric transition plans and progress reports,
including the Annual Metric Report required by 15 U.S.C. 205j
and OMB Circular A-11.
(4) preparation by June 30, 1992, of an assessment of agency
progress and problems, together with recommendations for steps
to assure successful implementation of the Metric Conversion
Act. The assessment and recommendations shall be approved by
the head of the department or agency and provided to the
Secretary by June 30, 1992, for inclusion in the Secretary's
October 1, 1992, report on implementation of this order.
Section 3. Application of Resources.
The head of each executive department and agency shall be responsible
for implementing and applying the necessary resources to accomplish
the goals set forth in the Metric Conversion Act and this order.
Section 4. Judicial Review.
This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the
executive branch and is not intended to create any right or benefit,
substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the
United States, its agencies, its officers, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 25, 1991.