RFID system in defense industry

Posted by Melda Research on February 20th, 2019

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags or electronic hips have usage in identifying and tracking objects for instance in store products, supply chain management, defense industry, etc. RFID electronic chips are becoming become a primary tool that is advancing the efficiency of the businesses and other sectors (Weinstein, 2005). The technology has many applications that offer the capability to collect automatically identity as well as other structured and unstructured information stored in tags. The tags have an attachment to objects and mobile devices, or some other fixed reading devices can have usage in reading those tags. Capturing of data automatically eliminates the manual transcription of data that has been notoriously error-prone. Tag readers make use of radio frequency transmission to communicate with electronic chips and thus there is no need to for a line-of-site as in the case of bar codes or optical identification methods. In the defense industry, RFID is useful in ensuring that the defense forces acquire proper clothing as well as footwear for training or their active duty (Alien Technology, 2008). It also has usage ion tracking goods from vendors, military warehouses, and third-party logistics providers via the supply chain.
General description of the business problem
The defense industry has been experiencing several problems that cannot have a perfect solution unless there is the application of the RFID technology. There is a lack of asset accountability. The industry is has been losing many assets where there is nobody to account for them; many of those assets are stolen or misplaced and because of appropriate tracking mechanisms no one can count on them. There is also a lack of inventory accuracy whereby the industry is nod able to know the amount of stock in their store. That leads to provision of incorrect inventory reports that lead to poor planning based on the wrong report of the inventory. The industry is also unable to have proper maintenance and repairable management due to lack of a way of tracking the repairable. The makes the industry makes high expenses that it could be necessary with the help of RFID technology.
The defense industry is also facing much loss in its supply chain as it is not able to track the goods from the manufacturers or vendors to its stores. Because of that there are many items lost in the stores or during transit, and there is no way to know about their whereabouts and at what point in the supply chain those items or products went missing. Another problem facing the defense industry is the lack of operational efficiency for defense contractors. As a result, there has been a lot of funds wasted and duplication in the defense budget. The defense sector takes a lot of time counting the number of items manually so that they can pay the vendors of those items or issue the items to the soldiers. There is also size mismatch when delivering required items such as uniforms to soldiers when they make requisitions. All these problems are prevalent in the defense industry, and they lead to loss of time, money and valuable assets. There is also the problem of making copies of items manually leading to many copies of files in the stores unnecessarily.
RFID Overview
Basics of RFID
An RFID system incorporates three major components including the tag, reader and the backend system (Weinstein, 2005). The RFID tags consist of the antenna, printed substrate/circuit board, and the integrated circuit. The function of the antenna is to transmit and receive the radio waves or to collect the energy from the radio waves in case of a passive tag (will have explanation shortly). On the other the integrated circuit has a function of transmitting the tag’s unique identifier. The printed circuit board or substrate holds the tag in position. In the current RFID technology, there are four types of tags including passive, semi-passive, active and semi-active tags. The passive tags are those that do not have the power supply to the circuit board and because of this they are small and cheap. Those tags absorb their energy when entering the electromagnetic field created by the reader’s antenna. Because of lack of power supply on the board the range of the read is very short.
Active Tags come with power supplied to the board by use of for instance the battery. They do not need to have to power by the electromagnetic field of the reader’s antenna as they have their power supply. Due to that they have longer ranges compared to passive tags. These types of tags send out signals that have to encode with their identifiers at regular rates between one to fifteen seconds. They are more expensive compared to the Passive tags, and they are bigger in size. The semi-passive tags have a power supply on the board just like active tags with the difference being the usage of the battery (Weinstein, 2005). The batteries in the case of semi-passive tags are useful for powering only the internal circuitry.
The RFID reader is in any of such forms as toll plaza in highway, pricing gun in a store, and so on. It acts as the link middleman between the electronic chips/tags and the back end system. The reader interrogates the data encoded in a tag and then sends it to the backend system through a wire or wirelessly. Thus, the RFID reader needs to consist of an RS-232 serial port and an antenna, or instead of the serial port it can have Ethernet jack. “The RFID tags are of two types, that is, read/write readers and read-only readers. Just as the names suggest, the read-only reader can only read the data on the tag while the read/write can perform both reads and writes on the tag with read/write memory” (Weinstein, 2005). The backend system receives the data transmitted by the reader, and ten runs an application based on the data received.
Advances in RFID
Innovations in the design and the manufacture of RFID technology are an ongoing process, and there are several advancements coming up every day. New tag readers can read through metals, liquids as well as extreme weather conditions. There is also development ongoing on around chipless tags to improve upon the current physical limitations of detection while providing reduced costs due to the absence of IC. An example of a chipless tag that is showing promise in the supply chain makes use of the surface acoustic wave technology (SAW). There is also a new microprocessor architecture development called Chip Multi-Threading that enables simultaneous execution of many tasks more efficiently than traditional RFID microprocessors. There are peer-to-peer programming techniques applied to the RFID systems to decentralize computing task across several less powerful cooperating peers (computers). The readers can perform much of the data processing and analysis as well as management tasks.
Business justification
The application of the RFID technology in industries helps in the resolution of the supply chain challenges including the reduction of operational inefficiencies and costs (Alien Technology, 2008). The costs reduction occurs in maintenance, overhaul efforts, and repair. The RFID also offers business intelligence in light of forecasting, part location, maintenance planning, worthiness, and availability. Integrated overhaul strategies are having the basis on RFID tagging also help to provide market efficiencies to the processes of locating tools, parts, and materials. Those integrated overhauls also help produce significant amounts of documentation needed to meet regulations. There is the incorporation of RFID technology into the enterprise resource planning, corporate process management, business process management, and computerized maintenance systems. That provides the opportunity for the growth of the business intelligence environment. The application of the RFID system in the various departments of the defense industry in general leads to a high return on investment (Defense Industry Daily, 2015).
Advantages of RFID system
There are numerous benefits associated with the application of the RFID technology in the defense industry and to its suppliers (Alien Technology, 2008). Incorporating passive tags to some business processes helps in the automatic capture of data leading to efficient recording of material. The technology facilitates the defense department's achievements of business benefits in areas such as inventory management and visibility, shrinkage and asset tracking, operational improvements, etc. Within the area of suppliers and the defense industry, there are substantial benefits as highlighted below.
Supplier Benefits
• There is faster responses of demand
• There is improved planning
• The technology leads to streamlining of business processes
• The technology helps in reduction of the Bull Whip Effect
• It leads to faster receipt of payment for supplied products.
• The technology increases the ability to make sure that goods remain stocked on the defense departments ‘shelves
• It improves the efficiency in recalling defective items.
Defense industry benefits
• Improved tracking of assets
• Reduced shrinkage
• It leads to improvement of the inventory management
• Replacement of manual procedures
• Enhances business processes within the defense industry
• Improves visibility of shipment and management
• Helps to eliminate duplicate orders
• Improves asset tracking
• Improves labor productivity
• Automates receipt and acceptance
• The infrastructure for maintaining items tracking may not be available in the distribution and the supply chain. There may be sending the tagged goods about the recipient may lack the infrastructure to read the tags as well as validate the receipt of the shipment.
• Implementation of the technology requires high expenditure forte tags, readers and supporting infrastructure including networking facilities, servers, software. Those high costs are inhibiting for smaller suppliers.
• Appropriate security controls must be in place for the complete set up of tags, readers, networks, software and related servers. There should be constraining of unauthorized access via adequate authentication for users of readers and systems accessing the data on tags.
• There can be read failures because of hardware restrictions, shielding or interference hence leading to poor quality including missing or corrupted information.
• RFID usage in the defense industry raises privacy issues due to the tracking of individuals based on the integration of tag data with other data streams.
• The signals transmitted from the RFID tags and the reader can have detection several meters away by unintended radio receivers.
Planning for implementing the RFID system in the defense sector involves carrying out the field study to find out system requirements for this technology as well as the user requirements. There will be a determination of the need for the new system and highlighting of the problems of the current system in the industry in question. The industry will then carry out a feasibility study to determine if the project can have success with the available resources and time for which the implementation is in the requirement. The system analyst will then come up with a requirements specification and the plan for the way to go in implementing the new RFID system in the defense industry.
Security concerns
Unauthorized access to tags
Tags are evolving rapidly in power, complexity and flexibility. It is, however, true to note that all types of tags share a common vulnerability to rogue RFID readers. These rogue readers can read tags and record information in those tags that could otherwise be confidential (Joo‐Sang et al., 2005). The rogue readers can also write new information to the tags, and the information can be damaging, or it can kill the tags. The tags respond to the rogue readers because those rogue readers appear the same the real RFID readers. The rogue readers can also measure the inventory of a department providing critical information to the rivals of a product manufacturer.
Side channel attacks
The biggest security issue with the current RFID systems is the possibility of rogue devices or other interloper RFID readers eavesdropping on RF communications authentic transactions (Joo‐Sang et al., 2005). The rogue devices can have access to passwords or information via standard and inexpensive lab equipment. That capability exposes confidential data to others that can use it for nefarious purposes. For instance, a rogue device placed outside a large retail store may collect confidential information and then the intruders can sell that information to competitors or tabloid press.
Deployment of an RFID system entails more than purchasing the right tags or installing the right readers. If the industry has to acquire business value from all the data gathered, the defense sector will need to have a middleware in place to filter the data. Each RFID system component will have up-front costs as well as some unexpected costs. The cost of passive tags starts from 20 cents when purchased in high volume to 50 cents. The coast of active tags also ranges from or more depending on the size of the battery and the amount of memory on the microchip. The cost of middleware varies from one vendor to another, and it usually depends on the number of locations where the middleware will have installation and complexity of the application among other factors. The cost of middleware is average 3,000.
Installing the RFID system
The installation of the RFID system will take place through first of all installing the RFID Event Manager, and then the RFID Management Console, and lastly the RFID Information Server. The installation on Windows machine will take place using the Installation Wizard, the standard or the custom installation. The installation of the RFID Management Console requires application server, server policy file, database, web browser and the JDBC driver (Oracle Corporation, 2006). The technology works with Oracle databases or Postre SQL database. 
Impact of implementation
Human changes required
There will be a need to change the human administration procedures during the implementation of the RFID system. It will require new managers in place that understand how the system works and the benefits the system has to the defense industry and on the business in general. The industry will need to reduce or do away with employees required to perform certain tasks, especially the manual tasks that the technology comes to automate. The management areas affected is those for the storage, shipment and management of data. Some managers like the data managers will have more responsibility due to increased amount of information and the introduction of new systems.
Process changes
There will also be the need to have administrative process change of procedures to accommodate the new system in the industry in question. There are new processes to have an introduction; some processes will be longer while other processes will be shorter. There will be shortening of a lengthy process for carrying out the taking of inventory for products, delivering requisitions of items, and locating items in the supply chain. There will be a need to have more security procedures in the supply chain and the entire process for the RFID system. Many of the processes will have automation due to the introduction of the technology, and so their performance will be faster than it was initially (Swedberg, 2010). As technology will have introduction and usage to those industry processes, security risks for those processes will also increase due to the vulnerability of the system.
Changes in organizational policies or enhancements
Implementation of RFID technology in the defense sector will require some enhancements or change of policies to have better management of the system. There will be a need to include RFID system specific security policies to the security policies of the industry. Data protection policies of the organizations will also require the introduction of new features to ensure better management of data including the data of the RFID system. More strict policies will be in requirement regarding mishandling of data and how to deal with any violation of those policies.
Training requirements
The company will need to hire experts of the RFID system to teach all the staff and administrators what the RFID system is and what it is not. The defense organizations will have to leverage industry publications as well as analyst firms to get an in-depth view of the RFID system and its business implications. The company will also have to sponsor its employees, especially the IT staff to attend industry conferences. That will help them understand how to have better management for the system and how to solve challenges that may arise from the system. There will be need of a special task force created to oversee the planning, designing, and implementation and refining of the new system’s strategies. Te4h special task force will undergo special training to ensure that the RFID system’s strategies fully aligns with industry’s goals while minimizing operational and implementation risks. All the employees will have to understand how to handle the readers, security required for the system and what to expect from the system including what the system cannot do.
Maintenance of the system
Maintenance of the RFID system has the objective of monitoring the system during its working life cycle to discover any issues and handle them accordingly. It is when the system comes to live that issues will begin to arise. The maintenance of the RFID system will ensure that it makes the organizations acquire the anticipated return on investment. All the affiliate systems and technologies supporting the RFID system requires maintenance so that they will be in good conditions throughout to ensure the entire system functions properly. There will be a need to make continuous enhancements to the system as technology is always advancing, and the RFID system itself is undergoing innovations (Banks et al., 2007). The IT team will have to be vigilant on the new technology in the market that can deliver better business value than the one I usage.
The RFID system has applications in many industries where the defense industry is one of the benefactors of this system. The technology comes with many advantages to the sector including adding more visibility to the management and supply chain. If the defense sector has to acquire the intended return on investment from this system, it will have to manage the technology in the required way. All the employees and administrators will require training so as to understand fully how the technology works including the security requirements for the system. They will have to comprehend what the system can do and what it cannot do, and this leads to faster adoption of the system in the defense industry. 
Alien Technology (2008). RFID in the department of defense.
Banks, H., Manuel, A., & Les, G. (2007). RFID APPLIED, (Eds), NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Defense Industry Daily (2015). RFID Technology: Keeping track of DoD’s stuff.
Joo‐Sang, P., Young‐Il, K. & Yong‐Joon, L. (2005). Security considerations for RFID technology adoption: Advanced Communication Technology. ICACT, 2, 797‐803.
Oracle Corporation (2006). Installing the RFID software.
Swedberg, C. (2010). RFID in defense. RFID journal.
Weinstein, R. (2005). RFID: a technical overview and its application to the enterprise. IT Professional, 7(3), 27‐33.

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in pre written essays online if you need a similar paper you can place your order from custom nursing essay.

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