The performance of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), especially in terms of laser focusability, will be determined by several key factors. One of these key factors is the optical specification of the thousands of large aperture optics that will comprise the 192 beamlines. We have previously reported on the importance of the specification of the power spectral density (PSD) on NIF performance. Recently, we have been studying the importance of long spatial wavelength phase errors on focusability. We have concluded that the preferred metric for determining the impact of these long spatial wavelength phase errors is the rms phase gradient. In this paper, we outline the overall approach to NIF optical specifications, detail the impact of the rms phase gradient on NIF focusability, discuss its trade-off with the PSD in determining the spot size, and review measurements of optics similar to those to be manufactured for NIF.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.