Tracking military supplies no longer requires RFID.
The Defense Department has relaxed an earlier mandate that all vendors that deliver food, equipment and other provisions to the U.S. military affix affix v. 1) to attach something to real estate in a permanent way, including planting trees and shrubs, constructing a building, or adding to existing improvements. radio-frequency identification Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. tags on their products.
Radio-frequency identification, or RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) A data collection technology that uses electronic tags for storing data. The tag, also known as an "electronic label," "transponder" or "code plate," is made up of an RFID chip attached to an antenna. , tags and handheld readers are used to track shipping containers, pallets and other items as they move anywhere around the world. The Defense Department intended to make RFID technology mandatory to all suppliers seeking to do business with the Pentagon. But the high cost of RFID systems and the emergence of comparable alternative technologies in the commercial sector has thrown into question the advantages of requiring RFID.
"We no longer put RFID tags An electronic identification device that is made up of a chip and antenna. For reusable applications, it is typically embedded in a plastic housing, and for tracking shipments, it is usually part of a "smart" packaging label. on our trucks and cargo," said Dan Mongeon, retired U.S. Army major general and president of Agility Defense & Government Services. The company supplies battlefield equipment and food to 110 military sites in Iraq, and operates a fleet of nearly 1,000 trucks inside that country. Every truck and its contents are tracked by U.S. military officials but the technology employed is not RFID. Instead, Agility-operated trucks are equipped with Global Positioning System Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. satellite "micro transport" devices that let government and company officials keep tabs of the cargo, Mongeon said. The company developed the micro-transport fleet management technology and customized it for its military work so it could be integrated with the Defense Department's computer systems.
"In Iraq, our interface provides much better data and visibility than RFID tags," Mongeon said. "The RFID was deemed redundant ... There are more commercial solutions out there than ever before."
One of the items that Agility provides to troops in Iraq is mobile kitchens. As truck convoys travel from Kuwait into Iraq, military commanders can have the shipments rerouted in real time if they determine that certain sites need the mobile kitchens more urgently.
Defense officials consistently have touted RFID technology as critical to the Defense Department's goal of achieving "real time asset visibility" of all supplies and cargo. Currently, however, other technologies such as bar-coding and GPS satellite tracking are being accepted as alternatives.
In the commercial industry, one of the earlier advocates of passive RFID technology was the retailer giant, Wal-Mart.
Passive RFID tags An RFID tag that does not have its own power source. Contrast with active RFID tag. See RFID and RFID tag. reflect energy from a reader/interrogator. They temporarily store a small amount of energy from the reader/interrogator signal in order to generate a response in the form of data.
Wal-Mart started an RFID pilot program three years ago, with the goal to eventually require its suppliers and distribution centers to adopt the technology. Earlier this year, the company decided to back away from its earlier plan and is now limiting the application of RFID to in-store merchandise tracking, rather than its entire global distribution network, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. news reports.
A major hurdle for Wal-Mart was the lack of support for RFID among its suppliers. Of more than 20,000 suppliers, only about 600 are using the technology, said an industry report. The cost of buying the tags--which require embedded Inserted into. See embedded system. microchips--and the reader devices has slowed down the adoption of RFID. Some suppliers also have claimed that the technology is not reliable for use with metallic items or bulk liquids.
The Government Accountability Office The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, and thus an agency in the Legislative Branch of the United States Government. investigated the military use of RFID technology and concluded that the Defense Department should do a better job articulating its goals and policies concerning RFID.
"We recommended--and the Department of Defense partially concurred--that the secretaries of each military service and the administrators of other components should determine requirements for the number of tags needed, compile an accurate inventory of the number of tags currently owned, and establish procedures to monitor and track tags, including purchases, reuse reuse - Using code developed for one application program in another application. Traditionally achieved using program libraries. Object-oriented programming offers reusability of code via its techniques of inheritance and genericity. , losses, and repairs," said GAO in a January 2007 report. "In its response to our report, the Department of Defense agreed to direct the military services and the U.S. Transportation Command to develop procedures to address the reuse of the tags as well as procedures for the return of tags no longer required. However, the department did not agree to establish procedures to account for the procurement, inventory, repair, or losses of existing tags in the system."
Earlier this year, the Pentagon designated the U.S. Transportation Command as the "lead functional proponent One who offers or proposes.
A proponent is a person who comes forward with an a item or an idea. A proponent supports an issue or advocates a cause, such as a proponent of a will.
PROPONENT, eccl. law. for implementation of radio frequency identification See RFID. and related automatic identification technology for the Department of Defense supply chain," said a Transportation Command news release. The command operates the so-called Global Transportation Network--an automated command and control information system that gives users access to information about supplies and cargo while in transit.
According to Defense Department acquisition regulations, as of March 1, the only acceptable passive RFID tags are the ones known as "electronic product code class 1, generation 2." Earlier versions of the tags no longer were authorized au·thor·ize
tr.v. au·thor·ized, au·thor·iz·ing, au·thor·iz·es
1. To grant authority or power to.
2. To give permission for; sanction: after Feb. 28.
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