Report: DOD needs to require more RFID tags

Requiring radio frequency identification tags as part of contracts for Defense Department supplies is improving, but more work needs to be done, according to a report by DOD's inspector general released today.

Inspectors visited four Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) distribution depots to examine shipments from various suppliers. RFID tags are used to automatically track supplies through the logistics system.

The inspectors found that contracting officers awarded 23 of 220 supply contracts without the required RFID clause.

They also found that 43 percent of suppliers with the RFID clause in their contracts actually applied passive RFID tags to shipments they sent to the depots. A passive RFID tag has no battery and must be close to the scanner reading it to work. Passive RFID tags are widely used in tracking goods in the retail industry.

The report also found that DLA will not realize a near-term return on investment from passive RFID. The IG's office recommended that contracting officers be formally trained in requirements for RFID.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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