MIL-STD-130 requires that all qualifying end item deliverables, government furnished property in possession of contractors (PIPC), and legacy items must be marked with a machine readable 2D Data Matrix bar code. Whether you decide to use a durable polyester label or a direct part mark technology such as laser etch, dot peen, ink jet or chemical etch, the bar code must meet MIL STD 130 printing or marking specifications.

MIL-STD-130 has undergone numerous refinements over the past 6 years starting with MIL STD 130L which laid the foundation for unique item identification (UID) and machine readable information (MRI). In 2004, MIL STD 130L led to the release of a MIL STD 130L – Change 1 which improved the definitions for the quality standards of the linear bar code and 2D Data Matrix or UID. A year later MIL STD 130M in December of 2005 made significant improvement in further defining approved implementation guidelines for UID. Today, the US military relies on MIL STD 130N, released in December of 2007, as the primary source of guidance for item identification with machine readable information in addition to UID.

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning MIL-STD-130N and UID

At A2B we speak with dozens of representatives from DoD contractors and military installations every day. Below are some of the questions that we hear most often with regard to MIL-STD-130 and UID.

Q. Will the addition of a UID symbol in our product name plate require significant space?
A. In most cases, the UID symbol can be added to existing name plate labels and tags. A 50- character, concatenated UID symbol requires a square space of from .25 inch square to a .50 inch square depending on the size of the DataMatrix “cell.” Most concatenated UID’s contain less than 35 characters.

Q. If we include the UID symbol, will we have to find a new process or new vendor for our product name plates?
A. MIL STD-130 permits printing or marking the UID symbol with most of the conventional technologies used to produce a name plate or a label and should not be a problem for your existing source or process.

Q: Can we print a product identification label similar to our “UL” and “CSA” labels and then add the UID Symbol according to MIL STD 130N?
A: Yes, but the label must be a permanent label suitable for the expected life of the product. Thermal transfer labels may be suitable if synthetic labels and solvent resistant ribbons are used.

Q. Do we need to design a new serial number to comply with the UID mandate?
A. No. One of the significant features of the UID mandate is that it incorporates existing identification practices employed by DoD contractors and commercial manufacturers.

Q. What is a CAGE Code, what does it cost, and how do I get one?
A. CAGE is the abbreviation for Commercial and Government Entity Code. A CAGE Code is a five (5) position code that identifies companies doing business with the Federal Government. Supplement (DFARS) have been amended to require contractor registration in the DoD Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database prior to the award of any contract.

All CCR registrants are validated through the CAGE system. If you have a CAGE Code, it will be identified and applied to your Trading Partner Profile (TPP). If you do not have a CAGE Code, and are a U.S. company, one will be assigned to you.

You can register in CCR at or call for assistance at (888) 227-2423. The Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) in Battle Creek, MI is the only authorized source of CAGE Codes. At this time, there are no cost or associated subscription charges related to the assignment/maintenance of CAGE Codes.
This is only a small sample of the questions we answer daily. Call (800) 733-7592 (ex 101) or e-mail [email protected] with your questions.


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