Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



The Department of Defense Standardization Program seeks to: increase military readiness through more efficient design, development, supply, and procurement; conserve money, manpower, time, and facilities; minimize the variety of parts, processes, and practices used by the military; and enhance reliability, maintainability, and interchangeability of equipment. In new military design and development, the program advocates the use of existing standards and specifications for parts, processes, and materials to the maximum degree. Although the program was established in 1952, emphasis was not placed on design standardization until 1965. Since that time the three military services have established: The Parts Control Program (USAF), the Component Equipment List System (USN), and The Army Data Retrieval Engineering System. Each program attempts to provide military design contractors with standards procedures. The programs are said to be of limited scope and low priority. Additionally, authorities state that standardization inhibits the creative atmosphere necessary for effective design. This thesis examines the Defense Standardization Program in military design and development. Specifically, three areas are investigated: whether the program contains inherent restrictions affecting implementation, whether standardization is perceived as inhibiting an innovative design environment, and whether the individual military programs can be combined. The thesis proposes that with more comprehensive application, program objectives can be attained while consuming less resources. A survey was conducted of twenty-eight design engineers and design supervisors representing aircraft and weaponry development facilities of the three military services and one AEC contractor. Similar questions were asked of respondents in similar roles and from like facilities. The questions addressed the three problems stated in the preceding paragraph. The results of the survey revealed the existence of certain problems. Design supervisors were more knowledgeable of standardization program efforts than engineers. The specification and standard file requires improvement through elimination of: obsolete and duplicative documents; the excessive publishing and coordination time for revisions and amendments; the state-of-the-art differential for items in rapid-developing technological areas; and, an inadequate, inefficient file-indexing system. Services surveyed were not knowledgeable of the other services' design standardization programs. Most respondents thought both intra­ and inter-service standardization were necessary due to the service­peculiar, technical characteristics of some items. The feasibility of a joint-service design standardization program was not ascertained. The survey established that additional training and publicity needs to be afforded the Defense Standardization Program. Engineers must be made aware of and obtain confidence in existing standardization documents, their use, and the standardization potential for resource conservation. Standardization was not perceived as restricting the creative design environment. The thesis makes several recommendations. The Department of Defense should establish study groups to: (1) propose methods for reduction of the processing time for specifications and standards, (2) formulate a short training program and periodic circular describing current standardization developments, and (3) investigate the feasibility of combining the present service design standardization programs into one. Methods for indexing improvement and obsolete document elimination are also suggested.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Frank Xavier Steggert

Second Committee Member

Nicholas Llewellyn Henry

Third Committee Member

David R. Jones



Document Type