Rep. William L. Dickinson (Ala.), ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, has been selected by the American Defense Preparedness Association to receive its 1982 defense industry award, which consists of $10,000 and a gold medal.

There "are no strings attached" to the money, according to association spokesman, retired Col. Deforest Ballou, who said the group instituted the award four years ago with a dollar total that was "significant to attract national attention."

Dickinson was selected, according to Ballou, because of his "support for strong national defense" and his efforts to develop "public awareness for the need of strong national security."

An aide to Dickinson, Robert M. Hardy, Jr., said the congressman has not said what he plans to do with the money. "Frankly, he probably needs it," Hardy said, noting that two earlier winners who contributed their awards to charity were comedian Bob Hope and Texas Gov. Bill Clements (R), who are millionaires.

The first $10,000 award went to Sen. John C. Stennis (D-Miss.), who at the time was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee. Stennis, according to an association aide, donated his cash award to the University of Mississippi.

As for Dickinson, Hardy said, chuckling, "I can see where getting it on April 15, he might endorse it over to the IRS."

The 63-year-old association, which includes 540 large and small defense contractors and 36,000 individuals, is concerned with "national security through industrial preparedness," according to Ballou, and "people interested in military hardware . . . . "