Accession Number:



Lean Manufacturing and the Infantry: Retaining Quality during Total Mobilization

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The United States Army currently focuses on preparing for conflict against a peer threat in high intensity conflict to achieve decisive action. The United States last decisive war against a peer threat, World War II, required significant manpower resources. Prioritizing quality manpower distribution to technical jobs resulted in the degradation of the infantry, which then required the Army to implement corrective measures to reverse the deficiency in quality. Should another decisive war occur in the future, the lethality and speed of modern warfare will increase the demand for manpower, which heightens the importance of effective manpower distribution. This study seeks to determine whether the concept of lean manufacturing can assist in preventing the Army from making the manpower distribution mistakes made during World War II. It examines the processes of induction and examination, selection and classification, and training during World War II using lean manufacturing principles as criteria to identify areas of improvement. It then describes how a notional force would apply lean manufacturing to each step. The study concludes that the principles of lean manufacturing can improve each step of the procurement process. However, the most relevant principle is the principle of waste of defects, which ensures the process begins by allocating an equitable amount of quality inductees to combat arms branches as opposed to favoring support and technical jobs with higher quality manpower. Additionally, while lean manufacturing cannot overcome national policy, it can inform policy formation to help mitigate issues experienced during the Second World War.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems

Distribution Statement: