According to the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security (NSTC), the lack of standardization of testing methods leads to grave consequences. In fact, such a lack is dangerous.
First, let us define some terms. CBRNE is an acronym for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives. Terrorists use these weapons to cause mass casualties during attacks. For their part, CBRNE teams are experts who use self-contained breathing apparatuses and respiratory protective devices (RPDs) to protect themselves while analyzing scenes potentially linked to terrorist attacks. By extension, uniform test procedures ensure that products perform according to expectations during such missions.
Without wide standardization of testing methods and facilities, the implications are dire:
1) Lack of testing method standardization leads to costly redundancy: When government agencies and contractors don't have uniform standards for tests, testing facilities, infrastructure, and methodologies, manufacturers won't have a clear idea of expectations regarding their products. In turn, government agencies must repeat expensive testing procedures and replace previously purchased items that fail to meet current requirements.
2) Wide disparity in standards leads to dangerous inefficiencies. For example, government agencies currently use differing terminology for test methods, performance standards, and accreditation. For example, each government agency has differing missions. The NSTC maintains that a soldier and a first responder have differing missions. So, both will differ in how they rely on gear such as self-contained breathing apparatuses. By extension, performance requirements and testing procedures must differ for that same gear. Even the testing infrastructure required to conduct the testing of the gear will differ.
Essentially, the gear used is similar but the process to certify the accuracy and precision of the equipment will differ based on the mission of its users. A lack of uniform standards leads to the danger of gear performing at sub-par levels during catastrophes.
Without standardization of testing and facility infrastructure, it will essentially be difficult to produce equipment that withstands the requirements of each unique mission.
3) Lack of standardization means that local emergency responders and State and local purchasing agents cannot readily analyze the capabilities and limitations of commercial CBRNE systems.
Source: National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security Subcommittee on Standards, May 2011.