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The Department of Defense (DOD) established an Executive Agent Office (EAO) for automatic test systems (ATS) in 1994. The charter of the EAO has been to reduce the total ownership cost of ATS, in part through the pursuit of common, interoperable systems. Prior to establishment of the EAO, a variety of approaches were undertaken to accomplish this goal, including development of large multi-functional automatic test equipment (ATE). This architecture was capable of supporting a broad range of test requirements, but was often targeted at specific weapon system components. In order to combat ATS proliferation, the services developed families of test equipment that were intended to increase commonality and reduce development and life cycle costs. These approaches have only been marginally successful, given the absence of open systems standards-based hardware and software or a cross-service mandate for their use. This paper provide insight into methodologies for implementing a highly adaptable ATS architecture that addresses several decades of lessons learned by the DoD and industry.