GAO finds U.S. military wastes reusable RFID tags
A congressional watchdog agency found that the U.S. military fails to reuse costly active radio frequency identification tags.
According to the Government Accountability Office, the Defense Department has been using active RFID tags to track shipments since the early 1990s. In January 2005, the military officially started using so-called passive RFID tags.
Army and Defense Logistics Agency officials estimated that rates of tag returns had been 10 percent before combat operations started in Iraq, and 3 percent after. Only 16 percent of the military’s active RFID tags were reused more than two occasions.
Between 1997 and 2005, the Defense Department bought about 1.3 million active RFID tags, valued at more than $130 million. The average price per tag is about $100, the GAO said.
In a response to the GAO’s findings, Jack Bell, deputy undersecretary of defense for logistics and material readiness, said the military will develop new operating procedures for reuse of active RFID tags by July 2006.