Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Today's society demands that more and more federal funds be made available to combat social ills, such as urban development, housing, environment, and welfare. The amount of funds needed to solve these social problems probably will not be provided by a large increase in the total federal budget, but by some reduction and redistribution in funding for some of the present ongoing programs. This will require better management techniques to accomplish program objectives with reduced funds. Cost accounting is one management technique that can improve economy and efficiency. To this end, the Department of Defense requires that cost accounting be used in all their research and development projects.

Some of the Defense laboratories have had problems in implementing the cost-accounting system imposed on them by the Department of Defense. The Army and Navy are using cost­accounting systems which they implemented after some deviation and some delay. The Air Force has not yet (1972) established a cost-accounting system for their research and development work.

It is considered that some of the problems in the Department of Defense laboratories may be caused by the use of significantly new or different cost-accounting principles. The approach used in this thesis is to define the cost­accounting techniques used by a government contractor, a Navy facility, and an Air Force laboratory in the performance of research and development work. The cost-accounting techniques used by these three different organizations are compared to determine if there are any significant differences among them. The technique used by the contractor is used as a basis for comparison because they have used cost­accounting techniques in their private enterprises as well as for justifying costs ion government contracts for years.

The results of the study show that the Defense laboratories do not carry a cost burden for the administrative levels above the laboratory or for capital investments such as buildings or special facilities in their local cost­accounting systems. By contrast, a private industrial concern includes all such costs. It is concluded that although there are significant differences between the detail of the costs accounted for in the DOD laboratories and those accounted for in industry, the difference is generally that less detail of costs is accounted for by the DOD laboratories. Therefore, it is concluded that the problems encountered by the DOD laboratories in implementing cost accounting are not inherently caused by the cost-accounting prin­ciples used.

The study recommends that a uniform system of cost ac­counting be used in all 9overnment research and development, that a training program be provided to train all levels of employees in the purposes and advantages of cost accounting, and that a uniform cost-accounting system be made applicable to all levels and all fields of government.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

David Richard Jones

Second Committee Member

Nicholas Llewellyn Henry

Third Committee Member

John Mace Hunger



Document Type