SSRF Purpose & Background

Government regulators, commercial users and the military all benefit from an open international standard for spectrum management data.


The ultimate goal of spectrum operations is to ensure unhindered military access to electromagnetic spectrum. The SSRF data-exchange standard supports business processes needed to achieve this goal, however formulating and implementing actual business processes are the responsibility of the associated Community of Interest (COI).

SSRF is based on the NATO Spectrum Management Allied Data Exchange Format-eXtensible Markup Language (SMADEF-XML) data standard. NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management Data Dictionary (OSMDD) is expected to also be compatible with SSRF and SMADEF-XML.

Standard Spectrum Resource Format (SSRF)-compliant systems are able to exchange spectrum data with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and with Combined Communications-Electronics Board (CCEB) nations.


Standard Spectrum Resource Format (SSRF) is a standardized data format for exchanging spectrum management-related data.

While the original scope of use for SSRF is within the Department of Defense (DOD) many of the business processes enabled by SSRF are also required for commercial spectrum management and by national spectrum regulators and administrators as they introduce dynamic spectrum sharing rules and regulations.

SSRF-compliant systems are able to interoperate between and amongst themselves, and can also exchange electromagnetic spectrum data with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and with Combined Communications-Electronics Board (CCEB) nations. SSRF enables the development of tools to more efficiently manage a finite resource that is in increasing demand by the warfighter and is key to DOD's Net-Centric Data Strategy. SSRF may be used within and between organizations, between differing systems that require access to spectrum management data and, potentially, with sophisticated network-enabled emitters.

SSRF is part of an effort to develop an international data standard that facilitates the sharing of accurate spectrum management information in regards to (but not limited to) frequency assignment and spectrum supportability information. SSRF will achieve this by using NATO’s Spectrum Management Allied Data Exchange Format-eXtensible Markup Language (SMADEF-XML) data standard as its foundation.

Spectrum Management data exchanges using SMADEF-XML based formats such as SSRF will facilitate accurate, consistent, and rapid access to authoritative information on spectrum dependent devices as well as on geographical locations, force structures, and environmental conditions as they relate to management of the electromagnetic spectrum. SSRF formatted data offers an accurate and complete functional view of spectrum management activities and is designed to operate in a shared data environment. SSRF will enable DOD to share spectrum information that is dynamic, exchangeable through the use of common element and attribute definitions, and meet the DOD’s Net-Centric goals.

Legacy Standards

DOD, other Federal Agencies, and US allies have each developed or adopted different standards for the exchange of spectrum-related information. Different users within the same organization may have also developed different formats to fulfill different objectives (such as assignment / spectrum supportability functions). This approach resulted in several different and non-interoperable data exchange standards:

  • SFAF: The Standard Frequency Action Format (SFAF) is a line-oriented text format used by DOD, and by U.S. allies and coalition partners who use SPECTRUM XXI. Refer to MCEB Pub 7 for a detailed explanation of necessary codes and descriptions of items.
  • GMF Card: The Government Master File (GMF) Card is a line-oriented text format used by NTIA for frequency assignment data.
  • 14 point format: 14 Point is a line-oriented text message format used to exchange frequency assignment data in Partnership for Peace (PFP) Nations and some NATO Nations.
  • SMADEF: The original line-oriented non-XML format used by NATO for both frequency assignment and spectrum supportability data.
  • DD Form 1494: Paper form used for spectrum supportability by the U.S., both internally and with many allies.
  • SCS Files: Spectrum Certification System files, the electronic equivalent of DD Form 1494, have been used within DOD and with NTIA to exchange spectrum supportability data.
  • Forms 33, 34, and 35: Paper forms used by NTIA to collect, process, and distribute spectrum supportability data.
  • EL-CID Files: Equipment Location - Certification Information Database files are ZIP archives of XML data and binary attachments used by NTIA and federal agencies to exchange Spectrum Supportability data. EL-CID files were the first step toward an XML format for supportability data. This format is not readily convertible to SSRF.

Although there are tools to translate between some of these standards there are enough differences between them that round trip translation is not possible without data loss, mistranslation, or human intervention. The SSRF standard is intended to eliminate these issues.


The NATO Frequency Management Subcommittee (FMSC) chartered a working group to develop SMADEF-XML as the key to interoperability between spectrum management organizations in all NATO Nations, NATO Commands and other Nations (such as PFP Nations). The approach followed in the development of SMADEF-XML was to create a standard which could satisfy all the needs of the spectrum managers, at the national and international levels, and at all levels of the hierarchy from Ministry of Defense (MoD) and NATO HQ down to the Force Elements. The result is a harmonized multi-purpose interface which can support all the spectrum management business processes: frequency assignment, spectrum supportability, JRFL dissemination, interference reports, etc, as well as providing a common way to capture and manipulate frequency management information to improve these processes.

In order to ensure support for Warfighter requirements and interoperability with NTIA, DOD maintains SSRF as a separate entity, based on SMADEF-XML. For similar reasons, NTIA maintains Office of Spectrum Management Data Dictionary (OSMDD) as its own implementation of the standard. Exchanges of SSRF formatted data with SMADEF-XML and OSMDD users is a simple matter of automated translation using XML Stylesheet Language Translation (XSLT). The three standards differ primarily in name, and are essentially identical from a technical point of view. This allows efficient data exchange as shown below.

In order to coordinate the use of the spectrum it is necessary to pass significant amounts of data between commands, agencies, and allies. The data elements defined in this document provide a common set of parameters to be used by spectrum managers and those organizations responsible for the development of software supporting spectrum managers. The data elements defined in this document are used to exchange spectrum related data throughout the spectrum management business functional area.

This standard describes legacy business processes while enabling the implementation of more integrated and streamlined processes in future systems. It defines a basic way to distribute XML documents, which is applicable both to disconnected / heterogeneous environments and integrated systems.

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