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RFID Grows from Common Sense Logistics to Potential Life-Saving Equipment

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 04/06/2015 | 5:39 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

Guest post by Brenda Rector and Tommy Rector, faculty members, Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) started out as a widespread way for logistics and supply chain companies to be able to track shipments. As research has become more sophisticated, the ways that RFID is used today have morphed to an unbelievable degree. When Mario Cardullo and Charles Watson invented the electronic technology in 1973, they had no idea where it would lead.

Most people who use RFID technology don’t even realize it. For instance, how many times have you used your E-Z Pass to avoid stopping to pay tolls? Also, when your car tells you that one of your tires is low on air, it’s because this information is transmitted to the RFID receiver within the car’s computer. Finally, when your dog goes missing, you’re able to locate it because of a chip embedded in its skin.

The military is also experimenting with embedding chips in service members. Being veterans, we can see the obvious advantages of doing so. If service members consent to the procedure the whereabouts of each airman, marine, sailor, and soldier can be tracked during warfare or in case of serious injury or enemy capture.

Not only can service members be tracked by location through GPS, but they can have their lives saved by storing their medical information on the same chip. Blood type, medical conditions, or allergic reactions can be easily transmitted to a receiver with encrypted passwords to access the information safely.

Such new RFID applications pose questions. As veterans, we wonder if service members will want to be “chipped”; even knowing the advantages, they may opt against it. As parents of three veterans, we would want our children to participate in such a program so they could be located via GPS in case of injury or capture.

There are still thousands of people who are listed as missing in action from military conflict. If we can keep families from being torn apart by not knowing, is this not a good thing? If we can locate our service members, we can help them in nearly all crisis situations. While we understand this is a potential privacy issue, consideration should also be given to the safety of our airmen, marines, sailors, and soldiers.

About the Authors

Brenda Rector is an adjunct professor and Tommy Rector is an assistant professor, both in the Transportation and Logistics Management Program at American Public University. They have been in the military and civilian transportation and logistics industry for nearly 30 years. They are in the dissertation phase of their doctorate programs.



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About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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