The US Department of Defense utilizes highly specific sets of rules to standardize military operations. These are referred to as MIL-STD guides. Each document involves a different topic.

MIL-STD-130 policies are for marking and identifying military owned assets. Specifically using the Item Unique Identification (IUID) system.

What is MIL-STD?

A MIL-STD (Military Standard) is a set of guidelines set forth by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). These standards are put in place to ensure uniformity throughout the military.

Each MIL-STD document thoroughly explains its criteria. They typically include rule lists, explanations, and diagrams.

The sheer number of acronyms, abbreviations, and highly specific verbiage might overwhelm the reader. In order to combat this, the guides also include full definitions, glossaries, and appendices.

By using clear and comprehensive descriptions, the MIL-STD leaves little to interpretation. Involved parties have all the information they need.

How Precise are the Guidelines?

The rules set forth by the DoD are extremely specific. This makes sure all of the processes are followed in the exact same way every time.

The guidelines are incredibly detailed. For example, MIL-STD-130 specifies down to even specific fonts that should be used for marking.

It may seem like a lot of effort to adhere to these procedures, however it is the best way to establish and ensure uniformity.

What is MIL-STD-130?

The goal of MIL-STD-130 is to set in place clear guidelines for identifying military equipment, parts, and assets.

A main focus of the document is establishing the UID system. UID or IUID stands for Item Unique Identification. The purpose of this is to place a one-of-a-kind code on each individual asset. No duplicates are permitted.

The codes are scanned into a tracking system which allows for asset monitoring. Important information includes: location, condition, asset value, etc.

DoD Assets which require a UID tracking code

  • Serially Managed Items
  • Mission Essential Assets
  • Controlled Inventory
  • The acquisition cost for that unit is greater than $5,000

Who Does this Impact?

This rule set impacts many individuals and organizations among various levels of military involvement.

Military organizations themselves have to adhere to these new rules in their daily operations. This should be a seen as a good thing as the policies are there to provide major benefits and eliminate any miscommunication or inefficiencies.

Outside of the military, civilian owned contracting firms that manufacture for the Federal Government have to follow these standards as well.

If your organization produces for the military, you must stay up to date on all the latest changes.

Organizations which comply with the regulations on a consistent basis are more likely to receive and maintain Government contracts. In comparison, failure to do so may result in cancellation of contracts or even refusal of payment.


The negative impact from a manufacturer’s perspective is added time and cost associated with following these practices. The highly specified rules means producers must be extremely diligent throughout all stages of the manufacturing process.

It also adds burden to customers as they must provide extremely specific information to the manufacturer.

This can slow down production, create bottlenecks, and lead to wasted resources even if small errors are made.

When are Military Standards Updated?

MIL-STDs are not permanent. They must adapt to new situations and developments as they develop. Military needs may change over time in new environments or tasks. Plus, technology’s rapid advance means the DoD has to keep up.

In addition, problems may arise with the current set of specifications. After a new policy is adopted, inefficiencies or issues with the process means another update is necessary.

The guidelines are updated at various intervals, typically every few years (if needed).

What’s New in MIL-STD-130N w/Change 1?

The most recent update to MIL-STD-130 is titled MIL-STD-130N w/Change 1. It was put into effect on November 16, 2012.

The previous version (MIL-STD-130N) was published on December 17, 2007.

The new changes include a total of 7 additional business rules.

Examples include:

  • Added a provision that labels may contain a free text warning such as “AUTHORIZED REMOVAL ONLY” or “DO NOT REMOVE” to preclude unintentional removal
  • Clarified the font characters that are allowed for item unique identification (IUID) marking
  • Added a business rule for marking “very small parts” using IUID procedures even while the marking cannot meet the minimum requirements of this standard.

In addition to new rules, several prior rules were revised and administrative changes were noted. The revisions include verbiage changes, as well as new definitions. A number of them include clarifications of the prior policies. For example: it now specifies font characters for IUID markers.


Military standards are meant to make the Department of Defense and affiliated organizations work as effectively as possible. By establishing clear and descriptive guidelines, miscommunications are eliminated. A uniform organization should run more efficiently.

If you are an individual or organization affected by MIL-STD polices, it is in your best interest to stay up-to-date on any changes. Knowing the ins and outs of the guidelines will ensure you don’t run into any issues.