Maintaining compliance with military packaging is of the utmost importance. During war time and non-war time, it is important that the military and Department of Defense have necessary supplies on hand to operate effectively. While MIL-STD-2073 and ASTM-D3951 dictate how exports are packed and packaged, MIL-STD-129 dictates how they are labeled.
The Basics of MIL-STD-129
MIL-STD-129 serves many purposes. It is primarily used to ensure consistency and uniformity across packages which, in turn, is used to help military personnel easily fill the requisition when they are low on stock of an item. MIL-STD-129 applies to just the labeling of shipments and containers, while MIL-STD-130 applies to the individual unit loaded on pallets or into cartons.
MIL-STD-129 defines the containers in which items are shipping as either Unit Containers, Intermediate Containers or Exterior Containers. Each of these are exactly as they sound. Unit containers are the inner most container, with intermediate containers carrying the unit containers, and exterior containers being the outermost container.
All containers must include the following pieces of information and in the following format:
- National Stock Number (NSN)
- Item description
- Part number
Exterior containers only, must include the above information along with:
- Military Shipment Label (MSL)
- Serial number barcode
- Direct-Vendor Delivery label (DVD)
Changes to MIL-STD-129
A September 2007 notice required additional markings to packaging. This notice is known as Revision P Change Notice 4 or MIL-STD-129P(4).
- Serial numbers assigned in “SER NO” format
- Descriptions of items exactly as they are per the contract
- Spaces or dashes in NSN
MIL-STD-129P(4) also requires specific barcode information. For items with unique identification markings this is a single two-dimensional barcode. For shipments that don’t have unique identification markings, this barcode should include:
- NSN/NATO stock number if one is assigned (without dashes, spaces, prefix or suffice unless specified in the contract)
- Contract or order number
- CAGE of the prime contractor
- CLIN (when used)
- Contract Shipment Number
- Serial Number (s)
A second revision notice was issued for MIL-STD-129 in February 2014. This revision, known as Revision R, required the use of two-dimensional PDF417 bar code symbols to replace linear bar codes on all container identification labels. PDF417 symbols were introduced by Change Notice 4 for help with the demands of Unique Identification (UID) markings. UID markings could be up to fifty characters long, making them too long to be represented with traditional Code39 linear bar codes.
The PDF417 condenses the previous ten linear bar codes into one very dense machine-readable symbol. This helps to reduce the number of labels required for both the vendor and the Department of Defense. Prior to the PDF417, depots were unable to read labels with automated data collection systems due to no linear barcodes not having data identifiers.
What Does This All Mean?
The above standards may sound overwhelming and confusing. Bentley can help relieve the confusion and frustration. Our team of packaging and shipping experts, can assistance with ensuring that all of your military exports meet any and all military compliance standards, including MIL-STD-129.
Ready to relieve the stress that comes with military packing and exports?