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Arlington National Cemetery considering RFID tags to track remains

The Defense Department wants to use radio-frequency identification tools to track the remains of soldiers as they arrive at and are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The U.S. Transportation Command’s (USTC) Logistics Enabling Support Division and the Arlington National Cemetery are asking for ideas on high quality and innovative advanced RFID or similar technology solutions so they can track caskets and cremation urns from arrival at the national cemetery to approximately six months after the assets are interred.

USTC wants tracking tags that would be compact enough to fit on the side of a casket or urn and have user read/write memory capabilities. In addition, officials must be able to read a tag’s data from as far as nine feet below ground and in a concrete grave liner.

USTC is looking for hand-held iPhone and iPad devices to communicate with the tags from above ground. The command prefers the Apple technology because Arlington Cemetery already uses the devices for data apps.

Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active-duty service members, veterans, and their families throughout its 624 acres in Arlington, Va. Roughly 6,900 funeral services are conducted at the cemetery each year.

Several years ago, the cemetery was caught up in a scandal because of mismanagement of remains and burial sites.

USTC released its request for information Feb. 4. Responses are due by March 2.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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