DLA Banner DLA logo and Link to DLA website DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY DLA Land and Maritime Packaging
Offices | Packaging | Contacts | Forms | Feedback | FAQs | Resources | News | Packaging Site Map

Frequently Asked Questions - Marking

Listed below are compiled packing FAQs for the 'Marking' topic. Our 'Marking' web page identifies what constitutes marking and covers marking requirement issues. If your question is not listed, please use either our feedback form to add a Packaging FAQ to this listing or E-mail us directly at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil

NAVIGATIONAL BAR:   IDENTIFICATION | SHELFLIFE | SPECIAL MARKINGS | ESD | ASSORTED ITEMS | CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER| NMWPM | KITS | LABELS | OBLITERATING PAINT | C&T MARKINGS | HELP ME

OVERVIEW (with change notice 4 updates)       Please see NOTICE TO DLA SUPPLIERS

  • Why is marking necessary?
    Marking is required to assist our depot personnel sort shipments and pull stock to fill requisitions. Marking also aids our customers to identify items received. If an item has a discrepancy, it can be traced to the originator by the markings on the package, if the paperwork is separated from the item. Identification markings assist our packaging staff pin-point discrepant items and keep stock inspections economical by narrowing our inspection requests to a specific contract number.


  • What happens if I do not properly mark and label shipments?
    The lack of required markings may cause unnecessary delay in the shipment of critical material to our Military customers. We ask the all contractors emphasize the importance of properly marked and labeled shipments to their employees and incorporate quality inspections to ensure shipments are properly marked and labeled. To view common mistakes, visit the following web pages: Typical Discrepancies and Supporting OCONUS Shipments.


  • Are there standard size labels for unit, intermediate, and exterior containers?
    There is no standard size label. MIL-STD-129 only cites the size of markings: 'Unless otherwise specified herein or by the cognizant activity, the lettering/markings shall be in capital letters of equal height, clearly visible, and the largest size practical for the package size within the acceptable range. When marking space permits, stenciled or pre-printed markings shall be not less than 3/32 of an inch.'
    [Reference: MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.1.9]


IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS

  • What is the minimum identification information that can be marked on all unit packs, intermediate containers and unpacked items?
    The following is the required marking in the order listed:
    (NOTE: Any additional identification markings required by the contract shall be placed below these marking or in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the container).
    • National Stock Number (to include spaces or dashes and any prefix or suffix shown in contract or requisition), in-the-clear and bar coded. If no NSN is assigned, then this line may be omitted.
    • Part Number (part number cited in the contract)
    • Unit of Issue (with quantitative expression, if applicable)
    • Contract Number (includes four-digit delivery order or call number)
    • Method and Date of Pack (Example: 'M41-4/97' - method 41, from MIL-STD-2073, was provided in April 1997. Use of the letter 'M' in the first position indicates that the pack is a military preservation method;'41' is the method number; '4/97' indicates the date of preservation.)
    • Serial Number (when required)
    • Reserved for ammunition [Refer to MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.2.1g(1) and (2)]
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2(a-k)1]

  • Where are the markings supposed to be placed on unit pack, and intermediate containers?
    'Markings on unit packs, intermediate containers, and unpacked items shall be so located as to allow the markings to be easily read and to ensure that the markings will not be destroyed when the pack or container is opened for inspection or until its contents have been used. The marking surface shall be the outermost wrap, bag, or container of the unit pack. When a barrier bag is used within another unit container, both the bag and the outermost container must be marked1.' View this file for an illustration of the marking requirements for unit packs and intermediate containers2.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.3.11]


  • What is the minimum identification information that can be marked on all exterior containers?
    The following is the required marking in the order listed:
    (any additional identification markings required by the contract shall be placed below these marking or in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the container).
    • National Stock Number (to include spaces or dashes and any prefix or suffix shown in contract or requisition), in-the-clear and bar coded. If no NSN is assigned, then this line may be omitted.
    • Cage Code
    • Part Number (part number cited in the contract)
    • Quantity and Unit of Issue (with quantitative expression, if applicable)
    • Contract Number
    • Method and Date of Pack (Example: 'M41-4/97' - method 41, from MIL-STD-2073, was provided in April 1997. Use of the letter 'M' in the first position indicates that the pack is a military preservation method;'41' is the method number; '4/97' indicates the date of preservation.)
    • Gross Weight (The capital letters 'WT' shall precede the gross weight. the gross weight will be expressed in pounds rounded up to the nearest pound.)
    • Serial Number and/or Shelf Life (when required)
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2(a-l)1]

    NOTES:
    • The inspect/test date and other shelf-life markings, when required, shall be applied below the identification markings and as specified in 5.2.1.
    • Boxes and crates 10 cubic feet and over shall have identification markings placed on the end of the container to the left of the identification-marked side.
                  [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.2.2(a-f) and notes 1 and 21]

  • What does the 'M' mean in the identification markings and where can I find the preceding digits that follow it?
    The 'M' stands for the military preservation method. The two-digit number which precedes the 'M' is the preservation method code. The preservation method code can be found on your contract under the ' Prep For Delivery' heading, typically titled 'PRES MTHD' in DLA contracts.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.1(g)]


  • The packaging requirements specify that the item is to be packaged in a barrier bag, then place it within a box. Which container should be marked - the barrier bag or the box?
    When a barrier bag is used within another unit container, both the bag and the outmost container must be marked with identification markings.1.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.11]


  • If a contract does not cite a part number, what is shown in place of the part number (P/N) for identification purposes?
    'If an item has no P/N assigned to it or no P/N is required, then nothing is shown' in the P/N line1'.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.1(c)1]


  • Is the contract number and the four digit call number required as part of the exterior container contract data markings?
    Yes. 'Contract data markings shall include the contract number or purchase order number and delivery order or call number, modification for change order number (when used), and lot number (when used). Additional information may be required by the procurement contract or order1'.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2(f)1]


  • Are contract markings required on exterior containers?
    Yes, when the exterior container is not a multipack. 'Contract data markings shall include the contract or purchase order number and delivery order or call number, modification for change order number (when used), and lot number (when used). Additional information may be required by the procurement contract or order. When more than one contract is applicable to a multipack, contract data markings are not required on the exterior container but shall be applied to each container in the multipack. Contract data markings shall be placed below the identification markings on the various exterior containers and unpacked items1.' This file contains an illustration of the marking requirements for exterior containers2.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2(f)1]


  • Where are the markings supposed to be placed on exterior containers?
    'The identification markings shall be applied to the upper left two-thirds of the side of the container having the greatest overall, usable marking surface. Additional identification markings that are required by the contract shall be placed either below these markings or in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the container.1' View this file for an illustration of the marking requirements for exterior containers2.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.11]



SPECIAL MARKING CODES

  • What are special marking codes?
    'Special markings are considered an integral part of the total pack required to identify and protect the contained item during packaging, storage, transit, and removal from the pack and must be applied to the containers according to MIL-STD-1291.' These codes identify specific markings and/or labels required on each container. 'Every procurement document must include all special marking requirements applicable to the contract. Unless otherwise specified, the special markings shall be placed in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the applicable container or item2.' Our Special Marking web page covers the special marking codes and explanation of each code3
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-2073-1D, Appendix J, paragraph J.4.12.11; MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 5.22; and MIL-STD-2073-1D, Table J.X 3 ]

SHELF-LIFE MARKINGS

  • What is shelf life?
    Shelf life is the total period of time beginning with manufactured date, cured date, assembled date, or pack date (subsistence only) that an item may remain in the combined wholesale and retail storage system and still be suitable for issue and/or use by the user.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129]


  • What document governs shelf life?
    Shelf life items are managed and controlled in accordance with DoD 4140.27-M.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129]


  • How do I know if the item requires shelf life markings?
    Shelf life markings are specified in contracts, purchase orders, purchase descriptions, specifications, materials standards, and other procurement documents.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129]


  • What are shelf life markings?
    There are two types of shelf life items.
    1. TYPE I - These items have a definite non extendible period of shelf-life. They are assigned alpha shelf-life codes (SLCs) (excluding 'X').
    2. TYPE II - These items have an assigned shelf-life period that may be extended after completion of inspection, test, or restorative action. Type II items are assigned numeric SLCs and 'X'.
    3. For more information on Shelf life, view the: Shelf Life Code Table, DRN 2943.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD-2073-1D, Table J.X]

  • Are the words 'shelf life' required to be printed in-the-clear when applying shelf life markings?
    No. The words 'shelf life' or 'TYPE I' or 'TYPE II' shall not be applied as part of the shelf-life markings. NOTE: Figure 28 is an illustration to show the location of the shelf life markings, not the actual shelf life markings themselves.

    Paragraph 5.2.1.b. provides the following examples of the proper shelf life markings:
      EXAMPLE 1 (TYPE I)               EXAMPLE 2 (TYPE II)               EXAMPLE 3 (TYPE II)
      MFD DATE 10/91                     ASSEMBLED DATE 10/92         CURED DATE 4Q92
      EXP DATE 10/93                      INSP/TEST DATE 10/93            INSP/TEST DATE 4Q93
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.2.1 and Figure 28]


  • Where are shelf life markings placed?
    When shelf-life markings are required, they shall be shown below the item identification data on the unit packs, intermediate containers, exterior containers, and unpacked items. Shelf-life markings shall include the manufactured, cured, assembled or packed date (apply one date), and the expiration or inspect/test date, as appropriate. Further guidance on shelf-life markings can be found in MIL-STD-129.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.2.1 and Figure 28]


  • If an item has a shelf life requirement and the packaging requirements do not call it out, who do I contact?
    For DLA Land and Maritime managed material, contact our office at: (614) 692-4227/3757/3345, or fax us at: (614) 692-1901, or e-mail us at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil


  • If I have material, which was already packaged and marked prior to an NSN change, do I need to repackage and remark the material?
    If the packaged material conforms to the current packaging requirements on contract, do not repackage it. However, if it does not - make the necessary changes to comply with the contract or request a packaging waiver.

    Regarding the marking, obliterate the previous markings in accordance with MIL-STD-129 by using any quick drying, opaque lacquer, ink, enamel or paint that is similar to the color of the container. Once dry, apply the new label with the revised National Stock Number. Remember to use the previous pack date.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 5.1.1.3]



ELECTROSTATIC SENSITIVE DEVICE MARKINGS

  • Does electrostatic sensitive devices require special marking?
    Yes, all our ESD items have a special marking code of '39 - ESD sensitive electronic device requirements of MIL-STD-129 apply'. An illustration of the labels are available at our ESD Labels web page
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-2073-1D, ]



ASSORTED ITEMS & MULTIPACK MARKINGS

  • If I have unrelated items composed of mixed NSNs which do not support a specific weapon system or end item and are consolidated into a shipping container, do I mark using the 'assorted items' reference or the 'consolidated container' reference?
    You will mark the shipping container using the 'assorted items' requirements for unrelated items. '...In lieu of the identification markings required by 4.1.2, the shipping container shall be marked with the following information in the order listed:   the word 'MULTIPACK' (line 1) and the gross weight (line 2).

    Example:   MULTIPACK
                     WT 100
    NOTES:
    1. In addition to any shelf-life markings, the words 'CONTAINS SHELF-LIFE ITEMS' shall be placed below the identification markings on multipacks containing shelf-life materiel.
    2. For information on the markings of multipacks that contains hazardous materials, see 5.5.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2(l)1]


  • What unit of measure do I use for marking the gross weight for multipacks?
    'The gross weight will be expressed in pounds rounded up to the nearest pound. The capital letters 'WT' shall precede the gross weight' as illustrated in the answer above1.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2.1.21]


  • May I hand print on multipacks?
    Yes. Hand printing on multipacks is permitted2.' However, it must be legible.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.2.1.22]


  • When a multipack has multiple contracts, are the contract numbers required to be marked on the exterior container?
    No. 'When more than one contract is applicable to a multipack, contract data markings are not required on the exterior container but shall be applied to each container in the multipack. Contract data markings shall be placed below the identification markings on the various exterior containers and unpacked items.1'.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 4.1.21]



CONSOLIDATION CONTAINER MARKING

  • If I have the same NSN and going to a single destination with multiple consignees (receivers), do I mark using the 'assorted items' reference or the 'consolidated' container reference?
    You will use the consolidation containers reference: 'Consolidation containers that are shipped to a single destination but contain individual shipments/containers for multiple consignees (multiple DoD activity address codes) shall have the words 'MULTIPLE DoDAACs' applied to the outside of the container below the identification markings. This requirement applies to 'kits' only if they are individual shipments that are consolidated into one container and sent to a single destination for multiple consignees. The size of the marking shall be proportionate with the overall size of the consolidation container1.'
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 5.2.151]



KIT MARKINGS

  • How do I mark kits?
    Kits shall be marked in accordance with the requirements specified in MIL-STD-129P.



MIL-STD-129 LABELS

  • Where can I purchase 999 labels and other MIL-STD-129 labels?

    • To purchase 999 labels (Optional Form 80 or 81) and other MIL-STD-129 labels, contractors may find local sources within the yellow pages under (Military) Packaging Suppliers or on the Internet.

    • If you work for a Government Agency, you may purchase the labels through GSA Advantage. Listed below is some helpful information:
    • Supply Type Labels
      FORM   TITLE       SIZE (in inches)     NSN
      70A                   2-1/2 by 2-1/2       7540-00-559-2335
      71A                   4 by 4                   7540-00-559-2337
      73                     2-1/2 by 1             7540-00-139-4738
      80                     2 by 2                   7540-00-139-4831
      81                     4 by 4                   7540-00-139-4832
      83                     3 by 1-1/2             7540-00-139-4834
      84                     3 by 5                   7540-00-139-4835
      87                     2 by 2                   7540-01-109-8815
      87A                   24 by 4                 7540-01-110-4906
      88                     2 by 5/8                7540-01-317-7371

OBLITERATING PAINT

  • Is there a list of National Stock Numbers for obliterating paint?
    Yes. Our staff has compiled a list of NSNs for approved lacquer, enamel, and/or paint for obliterating the markings on containers as specified in MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.1.1.3. Visit our 'Obliterating Paint' web page to view the list of NSNs.



MARKING DLA Troop Support's CLOTHING & TEXTILE ITEMS

  • My company has a contract with DLA Troop Support to provide Clothing and Textile (C&T) items. Is it permissible to apply MIL-STD-129 markings with a label?
    No. MIL-STD-129, paragraph 4.2.2.1(b) explicitly prohibits the use of labels for DLA Troop Support's C&T items.


  • Does DLA Troop Support's C&T marking requirements apply to exterior, intermediate, and unit containers?
    MIL-STD-129, paragraph 4.2.2.1(b) calls out stenciling DLA Troop Support's clothing &tiles items. Its under the heading "exterior contract data markings." Therefore, it would only apply it to the exterior container identification and contract data markings.


  • Why is the use of labels prohibited for DLA Troop Support's C&T items?
    Stenciling provides a more permanent identifiable method of marking to facilitate the proper storage of pilferable material. Pilferable materials are stored in special secured locations to prevent theft. By adhering to this requirement, you are assisting our storage facility personnel to properly secure the material without delay of remarking.


  • What will happen if I do not stencil the MIL-STD-129 markings for DLA Troop Support's C&T items?
    Upon receipt and inspection, the depot will submit a report of discrepancy to DLA Troop Support citing contractor non-compliance to the C&T marking requirements. This information will be recorded on your company's performance evaluation and your company will be required to reimburse the Government for the labor and remarking cost incurred at the depot to correct the discrepancy. In addition to being written up, your company may experience a delay in payment until the discrepancy is resolved. Discrepancies delay our shipments to our Military Services. It is critical that your company comply with the packaging requirements to support our men and women of the Armed Forces.



HELP

  • If I still don't understand the marking requirements, who may I contact for assistance?
    For personal one-on-one assistance, contact our office at: (614) 692-4227/3757/3345, or fax us at: (614) 692-1901, or e-mail us at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil


  • If I have a proposal or believe MIL-STD-129 requires updating, what organization do I contact?
    We recommend you complete the Standardization Document Improvement Proposal form (DD Form 1426) attached to the back of each MIL-STD-129 document, or contact the document preparing activity - LOGSA Packaging, Storage, and Containerization Center at: (570) 895-7649 or DSN 795-7649.


  • Unit and Intermediate Container Marking Checklist


  • Exterior Checklist




Content Inquiries: DSCC.Packaging@dla.mil