Back in February of 2015 I published an article and accompanying White Paper called “The Path Forward,” which outlined the steps for ISO certification reform that Oxebridge had already taken, and the final steps that would be coming in the future. It’s worth looking at that article again (here) if you didn’t catch it.

At the time I laid out the long game that had been in play since around 2003, comprised of three stages:

Stage One: 2002-2006 Drive improvement from within. This approach saw Oxebridge work via direct participation in standards committees (such as ISO TC 176), by working on advisory councils for registrars, and working with the International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN). That didn’t work, as the various stakeholders welcomed the participation for show, but kept their true motives and actions hidden behind the scenes, away from participants. It was a disaster, but began peeling away the layers of corruption in the scheme.

Stage Two: 2006-2017 Use the improvement methods afforded to stakeholders to force them to improve on their own. This involved using the various stakeholders official procedures and tools to file complaints, appeals and request investigations when the rules were broken. This meant using the AS9100 OASIS feedback tool, submitting official CB complaints to accreditation bodies like UKAS and ANAB, filing appeals with ANSI and others related to the standards development process. At the same time, this meant reporting more openly on the various bad actors, naming names on the Oxebridge website, and using the exposure of sunlight to affect change. That was more successful, and we continue working in this stage, but has reached its limit. Over the near decade we did this, the various stakeholders learned to “just ignore” Oxebridge complaints, refuse to respond to emails, etc. They feel that putting their heads in the sand is the best defense, but that only hastened Stage Three.

Stage Three: 2018 – ??? Use third parties and laws to force reform. In this stage, we bring in the adults to police the scheme actors. Proving they cannot be trusted to abide by their own rules, this means using every means available to report and prosecute the complaints and investigations they previously ignored. Everything is on the table: lawsuits, criminal complaints, expose reporting, testimony before state and federal agencies, fair trade violation and deceptive advertising filings, partnering with government agencies, talking to the press. Everything. If people get arrested, so be it, since they had over 15 years to get their houses in order under the first two stages, and failed utterly.

And so, with the publication of (so far) two damning Dept of Defense reports (here and here) which not only prove the ISO/IAF scheme is broken, but which now see those stakeholders pitted not only against Oxebridge, but the Federal Government of the United States of America, we are fully underway with Stage Three. They can’t say they weren’t warned. In 2015, for example, I urged ANAB VP and IAF Chair Randy Dougherty to resign, telling him, “when your hands are all over everything, you don’t want to be around when the start looking for fingerprints.” Dougherty’s name is on everything, from ISO/CASCO, IAF, ANAB, ASQ, ILAC, IAAR and more.

And now they’re dusting for prints.

I pleaded with ANAB and UKAS to get their houses in order. Instead, UKAS ruled that it was perfectly fine for a registrar to ignore the criminal pirating of their logo for the purposes of illegally gaining access to government contracts. ANAB physically sat in a room – sleeping! – where an auditor violated accreditation rules 18 times over a 3 day period. Now the US DOD reports they found over 100 major nonconformities within four companies holding current AS9100 certifications from four ANAB-accredited registrars. The ANAB logo was linked to companies involved in the Takata airbag deaths, and the class action lawsuit against L3 Communications EOTech company, which was sued for knowingly sending defective gun parts to law enforcement and military customers.

I likewise pleaded with ISO, ANSI and the US TAG to stop their nonsense. As I did, the TAG 176 elected a Chair who padded his resume to a level that, in any other industry, would have had him fired; here, he was rewarded with the most powerful position in the US quality standards community. ANSI refused to process complaints that the TAG may have violated US tax laws by conducting illegal fundraising for an event that never took place. ISO sent lawyers to threaten Oxebridge using “trademark bullying” tactics, claiming that people needed written permission from ISO in advance just to “discuss” their standards.

And ASQ… where to start? They co-own ANAB and act as managing secretary for the US TAGs, so they have their feet in both camps. They have sat idly while ASQ Fellows, Section Chairs and others openly engage in illegal defamation of me and Oxebridge, “doxxing” of personal information, revealing personal information about my family, blocking me from speaking events, censoring of my reporting, and overall hostile and petty actions that would — again — get people fired in any other industry. Now they risk running afoul of Whistleblower Protection Laws if they don’t take action, and I fully suspect they won’t. ASQ has become a cult, and its leadership cannot imagine a world where they are beholden to anyone or anything, even laws, because no one has ever held them accountable. They face a last-minute decision to clean house through enforcing their new Code of Ethics, but so far they are telegraphing irritation about it, not acceptance. ASQ ethics chief Scott Laman appeared more worried about an editorial graphic we ran on social media accusing ASQ of harboring racists, than whether or not ASQ was actually harboring racists; not a good sign.

So now Oxebridge is working with the US Dept. of Defense to launch its final stage reform efforts, culminating in a call for a 10-year moratorium on the requirement for companies bidding on Federal or defense contracts to have either ISO 9001 or AS9100 certification. Within that time period, ANAB will be formally investigated for the abdication of responsibilities while operating under the ANSI banner, and ANSI will be called to testify before Congress, under oath. Difficult questions will be asked about the DOD aerospace reports, Takata, Deepwater Horizon, Amtrak and more. If ANSI and ANAB fail to reform, ANAB will be shut down, and ANSI’s oversight of the certification scheme stripped from it and given to someone else, such as NIST. An independent ombudsman board will be formed, to oversee the scheme and report directly to Congress when things fall apart in the future. ANAB and its registrars will be included in NTSB investigations when ISO certified firms are involved in traffic-related disasters. Some people may go to jail.

Basically, their new norm will be full and total exposure of their every action. The children refused to grow up, so we will force the adults to take over.

They can never say they weren’t warned.

    About Christopher Paris

    Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 25 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001:2015. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.