How Is RFID Being Used in the Defense and Homeland Security Industries?

By RFID Journal

  • TAGS
Ask The ExpertsHow Is RFID Being Used in the Defense and Homeland Security Industries?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

Can you please provide some examples?

—Name withheld


In many ways. Defense contractors, of course, have been tagging shipments sent to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for many years. This enhances shipment visibility. The DOD, in turn, tracks shipments to units deployed overseas, to bases overseas and to prepositioning locations overseas. Some defense contractors are using the technology internally to track work-in-process, tools and finished inventory (see DOD Redoubles Its Efforts to Lower Costs Via RFID, U.S. DOD Reaffirms Commitment to Savi as Sole RFID-IV Provider, Department of Defense Automatic Identification Technology Update—Part 1 and Department of Defense Automatic Identification Technology Update—Part 2).

But I think your question revolves more around the use of RFID for enhancing national security. Many governments have added RFID transponders to passports (see Japan Issues E-Passports, Sweden Switches to E-Passports, United States Sets Date for E-Passports and One Year Later, U.S. E-Passport's Architect Says System Is a Success). This enables biometric data to be stored on an RFID chip so it can be compared to an image taken of a person trying to enter a country. This prevents someone from simply changing a passport photo and getting in on a stolen or forged document.

The United States has introduced the PASS Card for frequent travelers to Canada, which contains a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponder. This enables border officers to call up information about a crossing driver and match a photo on file with his or her face. Washington State introduced enhanced drivers' licenses with passive UHF tags for the same application (see Washington Driver's Licenses to Carry EPC Gen 2 Inlays).

The Transportation Safety Administration has tested the use of RFID on airline baggage to improve screening (see RFID Employed Against Terrorism). And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has explored the technology's use in monitoring first-responders in the event of a terrorist attack (see Homeland Security Seeks to Commercialize Technology for Tracking Firefighters). There have also been tests of container-tracking systems to allow shipments from trusted companies to pass through borders more quickly, but I am unaware of any country that has actually implemented such an RFID system.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

Previous Post