Defense sets rule for ID tags on supplies

Defense Department contractors will be required next year to mark items delivered to DOD with unique identifiers such as bar codes or radio frequency ID tags. Contractors also will be required to identify the unit cost of all hardware items delivered under a contract.

An interim procurement rule published today in the Federal Register lays out the new requirements. It applies to all Defense Department solicitations issued on or after Jan. 1.

'The objective of the rule is to improve management of DOD assets. DOD considers this rule to be a strategic imperative, necessary to efficiently move supplies to warfighters,' Michele Peterson, executive editor of the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council, wrote in the Federal Register.

Comments on the interim rule are due by March 1, for consideration in the formation of the final rule. Comments can be submitted at or sent via e-mail to DFARS Case 2003-D081 should be cited in the subject line of e-mailed comments.

After March 1, comments can be read at

The rule requires unique identification of all single hardware articles or units formed by a grouping of parts if they cost $5,000 or more. Department officials might also require unique identification on some items costing less than $5,000. The contractor is required to provide the identification mark and the acquisition cost at the time of delivery.

Software, manuals and other forms of information do not need to have unique identifiers, according to the interim rule.

The identifiers must have machine-readable data elements such as bar codes, contact memory buttons, radio frequency identification tags or optical memory cards, the rule said.

If unique item identification is not required, the rule requires contractors to identify items with a marking system used in commercial industry. Some examples of commonly accepted commercial marks are the Electronic Industries Alliance EIA 802 Product Marking Standard and the Telecommunications Manufacturers Common Language Equipment Identification Code.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.