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American forces press service (Sept. 14, 2004): radio id tagging aims to improve military logistics.

MILWAUKEE -- Across-the-board use of high-tech inventory-tracking tags for military shipments should benefit both warfighters and the bottom line, senior U.S. officials said here today.

That's why, beginning in January 2005, the Defense Department wants its suppliers to start using radio frequency identification technology for shipping containers, said Alan Estevez, deputy under secretary of defense for supply chain integration, at the National Defense Transportation Association's annual conference.

By 2007, Estevez said, the department will require suppliers to apply RFID tags to cases, pallets, and all packaging of commodities shipped to all DoD locations. The Defense Department, he noted, is simply mirroring newer inventory control systems already undertaken by private-sector giants such as Wal-Mart.

The Army now has $100 million invested in radio frequency identification technology, said Army Brig. Gen. Charles W. Fletcher Jr., commanding general of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command in Alexandria, Va., who also spoke at the conference.

Having the ability to track and account for all military inventories during shipment around the world, Fletcher observed, would be a huge force multiplier. "This gives us the ability to truly forecast [logistical] readiness," he explained, noting that surveys say many of today's military logisticians don't trust the current supply system. This is evidenced, he said, by the occurrence of multiple supply requisitions during wartime, which waste both time and money.

Fletcher said the Army is also working to integrate newer inventory- and shipment-tracking systems with joint warfighting doctrine. Harnessing technology such as radio frequency identification tags will improve the military's supply system, Fletcher explained. "That supports those soldiers, those sailors, and those Marines and air-men," he said.
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Title Annotation:In the News
Author:Gilmore, Gerry J.
Publication:Defense AT & L
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:270
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