UPC tags Defense

The military has received supplies for the first time identified by a Universal Product Code, the Defense Department's top procurement official said this week.

The Defense Supply Center-Richmond in Virginia took delivery Aug. 9 of helicopter replacement cables from Lockheed Martin Corp. marked with the code adhering to the department's Unique Identification (UID) policy. Released in July 2003, the strategy requires contractors to mark and identify the cost of items, with the aim of tracking materiel from purchase to disposal and keeping better records for financial and logistical reasons.

Michael Wynne, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said in an Aug. 18 statement that UID serves two purposes:

-- It provides an accurate source of data for determining the value of property and equipment.

-- It promotes greater accuracy in tracking and controlling parts.

UID relies on commercial tracking standards. It also fits with the military's new radio frequency identification policy released last month, which mandates the tagging of supplies with tracking devices for delivery to troops in the field.

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