Thursday, May 27, 2010

UID: The Keys to Compliance

The Unique Identification (UID) program of the U.S. Department of Defense is an inventory and property management system. The Department of Defense implemented the Unique Identification program to provide efficiencies with acquisition and repair of UID marked items and to enhance deployment and other logistics processes of property under the control of the Department of Defense.

The Unique Identification program specifies what items require UID markings, the information to include in the UID markings and how the UID markings are to be applied to the item. MIL-STD-130N, Identification Marking of U.S. Military Property, provides the specifications for Unique Identification. MIL-STD-130N must be followed for all items subject to Unique Identification produced or serviced for the Department of Defense. The items subject to Unique Identification are defined in DFARS Clause 252.211-7003, Item Identification and Valuation.

In general the items requiring UID markings are:
a) all items with a cost per unit of $5,000 and greater
b) Department of Defense serially managed, embedded, mission critical and controlled inventory items regardless of cost
c) any item if requested

Businesses that do not work directly with the Department of Defense as suppliers or contractors may also be required to mark items in compliance with the UID program. This will occur when a business sells items or components to a Department of Defense supplier and these items or components are embedded into an end product supplied to or serviced for the Department of Defense.

According to MIL-STD-130N UID markings must be applied in such fashion the markings will remain permanent and readable for the expected life of the item marked. To ensure the markings will be permanent for the expected life of the item the environmental conditions and the typical maintenance procedures the marked item will be subjected to must be considered when determining the marking method. Items subjected to extreme environmental conditions or harsh cleaning chemicals will require more durable marking methods and materials. MIL-STD-130N provides flexibility in the materials used for UID markings and the methods of marking while being specific regarding the information required in and format of the UID markings. Although UID markings may be in human readable formats machine readable format is preferred when there is insufficient space to mark in both formats.

Correctly implementing the Department of Defense's UID program according to MIL-STD-130N and DFARS Clause 252.211-7003 is complicated as shown by this overview of the Unique Identification program. It is wise to turn to the experts at ID-Integration for more information.

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