Defense pushes for a single RFID standard

The Defense Department is coordinating its rollout of radio-frequency ID tags with other federal organizations in hope of arriving at a single set of standards.

Ed Coyle, chief of the Defense Logistics Agency's Automatic Identification Technology Office, spoke today at the RFID Summit for Industry in Washington. He said DOD is coordinating its use of RFID with the Food and Drug Administration, General Services Administration, Postal Service and Transportation Security Administration.

'We have jointly decided that we need an intergovernmental council,' Coyle said.

Defense has mandated that all of its suppliers must place passive RFID tags on pallets and cases shipped to the department after January 2005. The final policy for the RF technology's adoption schedule should be ready in July.

DOD wants to play a strong role in directing development of RFID technology to ensure that its specifications will be compatible with those used by the private sector.

'We are getting involved now because we want to make sure the technology as it evolves will meet our needs, too,' Coyle said. 'We do not want to be unique.'

Coyle assured DOD suppliers at the conference that the data constructs being developed for the government's RF tags will be the same as those used by Wal-Mart and other large commercial enterprises, which are beginning to require RF tags on their shipments.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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