News release--combat feeding directorate, U.S. army soldier systems center (Aug. 29, 2005): combat feeding spearheads radio frequency identification.
Gerald Darsch, Combat Feeding director, and Kathy Evangelos, Combat Feeding program integrator, were presented with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence by Alan Estevez, assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for supply chain integration, in a ceremony in Washington D.C., July 28.
As a result of their early efforts, the Defense Department was able to quickly adopt and deploy this technology to revolutionize military supply chain management, military logistics, and readiness.
"Your vision played a critical role in the adoption of this technology. The Defense Department would not be where it is today if it were not for your dedication and perseverance in bringing this to the highest levels of the Defense Department," Estevez said.
Radio frequency identification technology provides automated, real-time logistics and information on Class 1 and other classes of supply for the Defense Department. It is based on the electronic product code, which is a unique number that identifies a specific item in the supply chain. Passive radio frequency identification tags composed of a microchip holding an electronic product code and an antenna that receives a radio frequency signal are attached to a unit of supply, such as a pallet.
Powered by a reader, the tags emit a radio signal that transmits the electronic product code and other information back to the reader. Sensor integration on tags provides the capability to monitor the status of an item, pallet, or container by detecting any number of variables, such as temperature, vibration, rough handling, and chemical biological contamination.
During the ceremony, Estevez cited the implementation of radio frequency identification in March 2005 to support Marine Corps Forward Operating Bases in Iraq. The Marine Corps has reduced inventory from $127 million to $70 million, reduced wait time from 28 to 16 days, increased fill rates from 77 percent to 89 percent, and reduced retail backlog from 92,000 to 11,000 orders.
These innovations and accomplishments were facilitated partly by the new Defense Department radio frequency identification policy published in July 2004. The Defense Department Combat Feeding Radio Frequency Identification Team provided significant lessons learned to drive the policy and move the Defense Department forward by providing consultation and influence on both the Defense Department and commercial implementations of radio frequency identification.