Defense Department Taps IBM for RFID Rollout

Big Blue's consulting unit to help DoD manage, support development of radio frequency identification policies

Big Blue's consulting unit to help DoD manage, support development of radio frequency identification policies

Bethesda, MD — March 19, 2004 — The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has tapped IBM's Business Consulting Services unit to help manage and support the development of policy on use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags by 43,000 defense suppliers, the technology and services company announced this week.

Under a three-year contract, IBM will help the Defense Department develop its final RFID policy by June 30 and support policy execution through the department's organizational units.

Suppliers to the department's units and operations will be expected to provide passive RFID tags on delivered products at the pallet and case level by January 1, 2005. The DoD is looking to RFID to help improve data quality, item management, asset visibility and maintenance of materiel.

"The Defense Department is seeking to take advantage of the inherent capabilities of RFID technology to improve business functions and all aspects of the defense supply chain," said William Phillips, IBM Business Consulting Services partner and defense industry leader.

Among Big Blue's tasks, IBM will assist Defense by identifying RFID commercial best practices, developing business rules based on analysis of RFID projects, educating and informing suppliers, and developing and executing a change management strategy for the department's units.

IBM will also provide subject matter support on the DoD supply chain and RFID initiative, and program management support for related logistics transformation initiatives.

The Defense Department is also counting on IBM to help develop a business case analysis and RFID standards to support the final policy. As industry RFID standards are being developed, IBM will identify government unique requirements and work with industry to have those requirements included into the adopted standards.

IBM said it would make its RFID testing laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md., available for education and development purposes.

Finally, the agreement calls for IBM to provide technical expertise to ensure that RFID deployment will be synchronized with federal and Department of Defense policies and standards in order to protect and secure data contained in RFID tags.