Suppliers must put RFID tags on DoD products

Defense contractors are now required to mark items delivered under defense contracts with unique identification tags.

Effective today, the final ruling, published in the Federal Register, follows an interim ruling issued in December 2003 concerning items valued at $5,000 or above. The new requirements allow some exemptions, including some commercial items that the government considers too cost prohibitive for the mandate. There are also some items, valued below $5,000, that the ruling will impact.

The identifiers must include bar codes, contact memory buttons, radio frequency identification tags or optical memory cards, the rule said.
During the public comment portion, some contractors complained that the implementation date was too aggressive, but a top defense official said the timeline would stand.

"The rule is considered to be a strategic imperative. The implementation schedule could not be slipped," said Michele Peterson, executive editor of the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council, wrote in the Federal Register. "The objective of the rule is to improve the management of DoD assets."

Peterson said the system will improve logistics, contracting and financial business transactions supporting warfighters and coalition troops. She added it will also improve operational readiness, asset visibility and "reduce the burden on the workforce through increased productivity and efficiency."

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