In Defense of RFID – Asset Tracking for a Modern Military

March Air Reserve Base Airmen prepare supplies for Japan tsunami relief

October 4, 2017

Asset tracking is important in any industry, but for the military and defense sectors it’s even more critical. Assets in the defense sector are often more sensitive and more dangerous in the wrong hands, meaning that knowing where they are or where they’ve gone is essential. While a shortage of defense assets means being unprepared in perilous situations.

Furthermore, in the US, Congress has been increasing accountability of the military for missing assets in an effort to improve security and control budgets. The multi-billion dollar US defense sector is having a corporate makeover of sorts to instill the efficiency of a business to organizations that have traditionally received a more lenient approach.

In these tough times, the military needs a hero, and they have found one in the form of radio frequency identification (RFID). The advanced asset tracking technology is revolutionizing the military’s organizational ability, increasing safety and security as well as reducing costs to please those on Capitol Hill.

Barcodes never really cut it in the military. They were slow and cumbersome, they required direct line of sight and lacked accuracy. RFID, in contrast, has proved invaluable for the defense services. RFID tagged assets can be scanned as they pass through a “gate,” with no need to open containers or find tags on varying and hazardous items. This has increased efficiency, reduced time and labor, while elevating accuracy to unprecedented levels.

Vendors and manufacturers providing for the Department of Defense (DoD) would be wise to incorporate RFID tags into their process. Firstly to align with increasing DoD requirements but also to harness the power of RFID for their manufacturing and supply activities. By adopting RFID they can gain efficiency and visibility in their organization, while also leveraging priority for DoD contracts that will increasingly require the technology.

“The U.S. military should take an aggressive approach to further leverage RFID technology in order to automate its IT asset-management capabilities. The benefits of RFID technology will provide improved visibility and accuracy, as well as maintain a higher level of accountability of each unique asset, in order to comply with mandated audits,” said Peter Collins, who played a key role as a consultant to the DoD in the department’s efforts to adopt the use of RFID technology since 2004.

RFID also fits perfectly with the values of military leadership: organization, efficiency and visibility. These values are at the core of RFID technology and when applied, they offer cost effectiveness and preparedness – necessities of a modern military.


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