In 1947, Congress passed the National Security Act to establish a civilian secretary of defense in charge of a new department called the National Military Establishment. The act also created a new service, the Air Force, and converted the War Department into the Department of the Army. Then, in 1949, Congress created the Department of Defense, consolidating the three services under the secretary's direct control and making the secretary of defense the only military representative on the president's cabinet.

On Nov. 1, 1949, the Army Adjutant General Reproduction Plant, Navy Central Processing Plant and Air Force Headquarters Plant were consolidated into the Defense Printing Service (DPS), Washington, D.C. DPS was chartered by the secretary of defense to provide common printing services at the seat of government for the departments and agencies of the new DOD. While the DOD Administrative Management Council directed its policy, the secretary of the Navy managed and controlled DPS. DPS was to be run differently than other DOD activities. It was not given appropriated funds to operate for each fiscal period, but was run as a business. Charging for services and products, it was the DOD'S first industrially funded activity.

The success of this new industrial funding brought the transition of the Navy Publication Division, formerly funded with appropriated dollars, to the Navy Printing Service in September 1951. Eight years later, DOD would give industrial funding another flagship: the Navy Publications and Printing Service (NPPS). NPPS was again under the cognizance of the secretary of the Navy. The DOD's commercial printing procurement program was also given to the NPPS to manage with a minimum projected savings of 284 billets and $30 million annually. The proposed secretary of defense consolidation of 1964 was implemented.

In 1976, NPPS became the Department of Navy manager for office document equipment. Known at that time as the Reprographics Program, NPPS conducted studies to recommend optimized equipment configurations in the office work spaces at the lowest cost. This function eventually evolved to NPPS acquiring and sustaining the equipment as a service.

In April 1992, the Defense Management Review Decision (DMRD) 998 was issued directing the consolidation of all DOD printing and duplicating operations, with the Navy serving as the designated single manager. The consolidation saved a documented $97 million annually. The financial success of the past would continue as reimbursable through the Defense Business Operating Fund, which later became the Defense Working Capital Fund. NPPS assumed control of about 200 Army, Air Force, Marine and DLA facilities, in addition to the 150 current Navy plants.

The Army and Air Force called for a new name for the multi-service activity; therefore NPPS became the Defense Printing Services (DPS). This continued Navy affiliation finally prompted the secretary of defense to redirect DPS management to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) on Oct. 1, 1996. Anticipating the change, the DPS Headquarters contingent moved that summer to DLA's headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va. At the same time, another name change was induced to more accurately describe the activity's role in transitioning DOD to a digital-based management: Document Automation and Production Service (DAPS).

In 2002, DAPS underwent a public/private competition under OMB Circular A-76. The government bid, the Most Efficient Organization (MEO), won the competition saving $55 million annually. The implementation of the MEO radically changed the organization structure and business model. Close on the heels of this implementation, in January 2003, the DOD issued a series of Management Initiative Decisions (MIDs). One of the items in MID 909 “divested” DAPS from the DOD. A series of sessions with the Pentagon throughout 2003 culminated in a decision by the DOD Senior Executive Council in December 2003, to retain DAPS as a transformation agent moving the DOD from traditional document production to on-demand and on-line documents. In 2009, DAPS was recognized by the DOD as a High Performing Organization (HPO), one of a handful of organizations recognized for their on-going efficiency.

In 2010, the organization’s named changed again, to DLA Document Services, to better reflect the overall mission of the organization as part of a DLA wide branding effort. With a revitalized scope that will indeed take us into a new millennium of products and digital automation, Document Services continues to provide a full portfolio of services, while serving as a catalyst for transforming the DOD towards the use of on-demand and on-line documents.

Document Services Charter