Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Packaging

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Note: Definitions below are extracted and/or are excerpts from MIL-STD-1291, MIL-STD-20732, and ASTM D 9963.  Check the definition footnote for the corresponding specification reference. We encourage you to get a complete copy of each of these documents to have a better working knowledge of the terminology used in the field of packaging.

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Absorbent packing: A material included within a package to soak up liquids resulting from leakage or liquefaction of contents.
Anchor: To secure firmly (Webster).
Approximate fragility of various packaged items: Table I provides ranges of fragility for types of items common to the DoD inventory. This table is based primarily on product specifications. Product specifications generally require that the item function normally while under a specified minimum stress, usually centrifugal, expressed in G's. The G-factor ranges given in Table I are conservative.2
Assembled date: The date items or parts are assembled into components, assemblies, sets, kits, or outfits (CASKOs), or the date various CASKOS are assembled into a unit.1
Assembly: An item of supply, composed of two or more related parts, that is capable of disassembly (e.g., carburetor, powerpack, intermediate frequency circuit amplifier, etc.).1


Bag: (noun) Preformed container of tubular construction made of flexible material, generally enclosed on all sides except one forming an opening that may or may not be sealed after filling. (See pouch.)
NOTE: A bag may be made of any flexible material, or multiple plies of the same, or combination of various flexible materials. The term bag is used as a synonym for sack. but the term sack generally refers to the heavier duty or shipping sacks. It is made in various standard styles and may be open-mouth or valve type. The five basic standard types of bags are: (1) grocery bag, (2) merchandise paper, (3) industrial, (4) textile, and (5) paper shipping sack.
Bag liner: See liner.
Bale: (noun) In packaging a shaped unit, bound with cord or metal ties under tension, and containing compressed articles or materials. It may be wrapped.
Banding: Use strapping.
Bar: The darker element of a bar code.
Bar code: An array of rectangular bars and spaces in a predetermined pattern representing coded elements of data that can be automatically read and interpreted by automatic bar code reading devices.1
Barrel: (noun) A bulged cylindrical container of greater length than breadth, made of wooden staves bound together with hoops and having two flat ends of equal diameter.
Barrier Material: Grease-resistant barrier: a material that prevents or retards the transmission of grease or oils.
Water-resistant barrier: a material that retards the transmission of liquid water.
Water-vapor-resistant barrier: a material that retards the transmission of water vapor.
Batten: See box.
Bar Width: The perpendicular distance across a bar measured from a point on one edge to a point on the opposite edge. Each point will be defined as having a reflectance that is 50 percent of the difference between the background and bar reflectances.
Bearer bar: A rectangular bar pattern circumscribing the bar code, often used with a bar code directly printed on corrugated fiberboard.
Bidriectional code: A bar code format which permits reading in complementary (opposite) directions across the bars and spaces.
Binary: Pertaining to a characteristic or property involving a selection, choice, or condition in which there are two possibilities.
Binary Code: A code which makes use of exactly two distinct characters, usually 0 and 1.
Box: A rigid container having closed faces and completely enclosing the contents. When this term is used in connection with fiberboard boxes, such fiber boxes must comply with all the requirements of the carrier rules.


Carrier: In a transaction, the party that provides transportation services, e.g., truck, boat, rail, etc.
Cask: A term used synonymously with barrel but usually of large size or capacity.
Categorization: The process of evaluating an item by chemical and physical characteristics that are significant in determining the preservation requirements.2
Character: Letter, digit, or other special form that is used as part of the organization, control, or representation of data. A character is often in the form of a spatial arrangement of adjacent or connected strokes.
Characters per inch (CPI): The number of bar coded characters that are displayed in each inch of bar code.
Character Set: Those characters which are available for encoding within the barcode.
Classified items: Items that are of a classified nature and have a security classification.1
Closed System: A system in which a single authority has control over all elements, e.g., data content, bar code printing, bar code scanners; Opposite of 'Open System'.
Code 3 of 9 (Bar Code): The 3 of 9 bar code is a variable length, discrete, self-checking, bidirectional, alphanumeric bar code. Its character set contains 43 meaningful characters: 0-9, A-Z, -, ., $, /, +, and space. Each character is composed of nine elements: five bars and four spaces. Three of the nine e1ements are wide (binary value 1), and six elements are narrow (binary value 0). An additional common character (*) is used for both start and stop delimiters. Table I presents the code symbology for the 3 of 9 bar-code characters.
Code Density: The number of characters that can appear per unit of length, normally expressed in characters Per inch (CPI).
Cognizant Activity: The activity having responsibility for a contract or jurisdiction over it. At a contractor's facility, the cognizant activity is the administrative contracting officer or the procuring contract officer. Contractor personnel do not qualify as the cognizant activity. At DoD installations, this is the head of the agency, bureau, command, or service that is responsible for storage and shipment.1
Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code: A five-position alphanumeric code applicable to all activities which have produced or are producing items used by the Federal Government and to government activities which control design or are responsible for development of certain specifications, drawings, or standards which control the design of items. CAGE codes are listed in the CAGE Cataloging Handbook H4/H8.1
Common Group Items: Item with a fragility factor rating of 85Gs or more which have no dimensions greater than 24 inches and not more than 10 pounds mass (weight) for which predetermined packaging has been developed.   Hazardous materials, electrostatic discharge sensitive items, shelf life items, sets, and kits are excluded from this group regardless of their fragility, size, or weight.2
Consignee (receiver): Party to whom materiel is shipped and whose name and address appear in the 'ULTIMATE CONSIGNEE OR MARK FOR' block of the shipping label.1
Consignor (shipper): Party who ships materiel and whose name and address appear in the 'FROM' block of the shipping label.1
Consolidation container: A container used to consolidate more than one line item into a single shipping container to be shipped to one destination, but not necessarily to one addressee.1
Container Design Retrieval System (CDRS): A management system program to provide a DoD centralized automated data base system for storing, retrieving and analyzing existing container designs and test information concerning specialized containers. The purpose of the CDRS is to avoid duplication in container designs, minimize the number of new container designs being developed and promote reuse of existing DoD specialized containers for new item development and procurement.2
Containerization: The use of an article of transport equipment designed to facilitate and optimize the carriage of goods by one or more modes of transportation without intermediate handling of the contents.2
Contract number or purchase order number (including four-digit delivery order number or call number, when specified): The acquisition instrument identification number, appearing the acquisition document. Some DoD contracts refer to the contract or purchase order number, together with the delivery order number, as the procurement instrument identification number (PIIN).1
Controlled items: Items that require additional and security as prescribed in various regulations and statutes. Controlled items include money, negotiable instruments, narcotics, registered mail, precious metal alloys, ethyl alcohol, and drug abuse items.1
Consumable: An item od supply (except explosive ordance, major end items of equipment, and repairables) that is normally expended or used up beyond recovery in the use for which it was designed or intended.2
Critical items: Items meeting one or more of the following criteria are considered critical:2
Critical chemically: Items which are of such a nature that any degree of deterioration (in the form of corrosion, stain, scale, mold, fungi, bacteria, etc.) caused by oxygen, moisture, sunlight, living organisms, and other contaminants which are time or temperature dependent, will result in premature failure or malfunction of the item or equipment in which installed or to which the item is interfaced.
Critical physically: Items that would become unfit for use as a result of physical action on the item or any integral surfaces thereof. This includes items having a surface finish of 64 microinches root mean square or less, items requiring a high degree of cleanliness and freedom from contamination and items requiring special protection against shock, vibration, or abrasion
Critical surfaces: Critical surfaces are those which would be harmed functionally if marred in any manner. The function of a critical surface would be impaired by the mildest form of corrosion or other damage.3
Cured date: The date the item or materiel was altered industrially, as to vulcanize (rubber) or to treat (synthetic elastomers) with heat or chemicals to make them infusible.1


Date assembled: The date items or parts are assembled into components, sets, kits, or assemblies, or the date that components, sets, kits, or assemblies are assembled into a unit.1
Date packed: The date on which the product (item) was packed in the unit pack, regardless of the date of the exterior packing; additional processing, or shipping.1
Defense Transportation System (DTS): The DTS consists of military-controlled or operated terminal facilities, Air Mobility Command controlled or arranged airlift, Military Sealift Command controlled or arranged sealift, and Government controlled air or land transportation.1
Delicate: A delicate item is one which is so constructed that light, moderate forces will either distort, displace, or deform elements or portions of the item to the extent that malfunction or misfit of the item occurs. The forces are quantified in terms of fragility. Examples of delicate items include those finely balanced mechanisms such as gyroscope equipment, potentiometers, galvanometers, devices containing filaments, and time and dimension measuring devices.2
Discrete Code: A bar code in which the intercharacter gap is not part of the code and is allowed to vary dimensionally within wide tolerance limits.


Electrical items: Electrical items are those items designed to generate, transmit, store, or impede an electrical current.2
Electrical hardware: Items that eventually become part of an electrically functioning assembly but not in all instances requiring the preservation or protection required of the unit or set, e.g., ground clamps, motor brush, etc.2
Electrically balanced or calibrated: Items having characteristics that may vary with humidity or temperature changes, use or age; they usually require periodic checks to assure that originally designed limits and characteristics are maintained.2
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Sensitive Devices: Electronic items which are susceptible to damage from electrostatic discharge (static electricity). These devices include, but are not limited to, integrated circuits and discrete devices (e.g., resistors, transistors, and other semiconductor devices).1
Element: A generic term usually used to refer to either a bar or a space.
Entity: A unique physical object about which information can be defined.
Expiration date: The date by which nonextendible shelf-life (type I) should be discarded as no longer suitable for issue/use.1
Exterior container: A container, bundle, or assembly that is sufficient by reason of material, design, and construction to protect unit packs and intermediate containers and their contents during shipment and storage. It can be a unit pack or a container with a combination of unit packs or intermediate containers. An exterior container may or may not be used as a shipping container.1
Exterior pack: A container, bundle, or assembly which is sufficient by reason of material, design and construction to protect material during shipment and storage. This can be the unit pack or a container with any combination of unit or intermediate packs.2


Field: See Message.
Flexible: A flexible item is one that, because of its assembly characteristics, material content, or disproportionate dimensional relationships, will change its shape in some manner under very moderate pressure including pressure which is exerted by the item itself when not fully supported over a major portion of its load-bearing surface. Examples of flexible items are chains, cables, certain gaskets, rubber items, and wiring harnesses.2
Fragile: A fragile item is one whose physical characteristics permit fracturing or shattering of the item when it is subjected to moderately light impact forces. Fragile items include those made of glass, plastic, and low tensile strength brittle metals which are rendered vulnerable to light impact forces by the fact that the materials of which they are made are both brittle and present in relatively thin cross sections.2
Fragility factor: Maximum force acceleration or deceleration expressed in units of gravity (G's) that can be applied to an item in its non-operating state without causing physical damage or changes in its operational characteristics. The fragility factor shall be expressed in units of acceleration for a defined shock pulse. Shock pulse forms and durations which approximate the transportation and handling environment shall be used in determining the fragility factor.2


No terms beginning with G


Hazardous materials: A material, substance or waste which have been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce and which have been so designated. (This includes all items listed as hazardous in Titles 29, 40, and 49 CFR and other applicable modal regulations effective at the time of shipment.)1
Human-readable interpretation (HRI): Exact interpretation of the encoded bar code data presented in a human-readable font.1


Inspection or test date: The date by which extendible shelf-life items (type II) should be subjected to inspection, tests, or restoration.1
Intercharacter Gap: The space between the last element of one character and the first element of the adjacent character of a discrete bar code.
Interior container: A container that is inside another container. It may be a unit pack or an intermediate container that is placed inside an exterior container or shipping container.1
Intermediate container: A wrap, box, or bundle containing two or more unit packs of identical items.1
Intermediate pack: A wrap, box or bundle which contains two or more unit packs of identical items.2
Item description: The name and description of an item as it appears in the contract, purchase order, or requisition. The source document for this information is the DD Form 61 (Request for Nomenclature), which contains the exact name and description of an item.1


No terms beginning with J


Kit: A unit or group of items normally used in modification, installation, or survival.1
Keg: (noun) a small slack or tight barrel of 30-gal capacity or less.


Levels of Protection: A means of specifying the level of military preservation and packing that a given item requires to assure that it is not degraded during shipment and storage. Specific levels of protection are as follows:2
Levels of Preservation (Military): Preservation designed to protect an item during shipment, handling, indeterminate storage, and distribution to consignees worldwide.2
Levels of Packing (Military): Level A: Protection required to meet the most severe worldwide shipment, handling, and storage conditions. A Level A pack must, in tandem with the applied preservation, be capable of protecting material from the effects of direct exposure to extremes of climate, terrain, and operational and transportation environments. Examples of situations which indicate a need for use of Level A pack are:
  1. War Reserve Material,
  2. Mobilization,
  3. Strategic and theater deployment and employment,
  4. Open storage,
  5. Deck loading.
Examples of containers used for Level A packing requirements include, but are not limited to: Overseas type wood boxes, and plastic and metal reuseable containers.
Level B: Protection required to meet moderate worldwide shipment, handling, and storage conditions. A Level B pack must, in tandem with applied preservation, be capable of protecting material not directly exposed to extremes of climate, terrain, and operational transportation environments. Examples of siuations which indicate a need for use of a Level B pack are: security assistance (e.g., Foreign Military Sales (FMS)) and containerized overseas shipments. Examples of containers use for Level B packing include, but are not limited to:
  1. Domestic wood crates,
  2. Weather-resistant fiberboard containers,
  3. Fast pack containers,
  4. Weather-resistant fiberboard drums,
  5. Weather-resistant paper and multi-wall shipping sacks.
Liner: (1) generally, any liner material that separates a product within a container from the basic walls of the container, (2) in fiberboard container, a creased fiberboard sheet inserted in a container and usually fitting against the side and end panels (liner is sometimes erroneously used for linerboard or facing).
Loads: Types of loads are determined by the degree of structural strength supplied to the shipping container by the contents. Loads are classified as TYPE 1, easy loads; TYPE 2, average loads; and TYPE 3, difficult loads, as described below:2


  1. Type 1, easy load:   A Type 1, easy load, is developed from an item which completely fills the outer shipping container or from items of moderate density prepackaged in an interior container which completely fill the outer shipping container. Easy load items are not easily damaged by puncture or shock and do not shift or otherwise move within the package. Examples include items packaged in boxes or cans which are prepackaged in fiberboard boxes prior to overpacking in the shipping container; chests; tool kits; and sturdy instruments which are fully in contact with, and support, all faces of the shipping container.
  2. Type 2, average load:   A Type 2, average load, is developed from an item(s) of moderately concentrated weight which are packed directly into the shipping container and provide partial support to all panelsthereof. It also includes item(s) prepackaged by wrapping or by positioning in partitions, cells, or paperboard boxes, or by other means which provide support to all panels of the shipping container. Examples include items packaged in boxes or cans which are not in an interior container; bottles individually separated one from another by cells or partitions.
  3. Type 3, difficult load:   A Type 3, difficult load, is developed from item(s) which require a high degree of protection to prevent puncture, shock, or distortion of the shipping container. It also includes item(s) which do not provide complete support to the panels of the shipping container. Examples include wrenches, long bolts, and rods which exert concentrated forces on the shipping container: motors, telephones, typewriters, drop forgings, rivets, hardware, or other items that random packed in bulk; fragile or delicate items requiring special protection.
Loose or unpacked item: An identifiable item that is unencumbered by a tie, wrap, or container.1
Lot, batch, or identification control number: That series of numbers or letters or both, that are established to record the production and control of the product.1


Manufactured date: The date the item, materiel, or commodity was produced, fabricated, processed, or formed for use.1
Manufacturer: A person or firm who own and operates a factory or establishment that produces on the premises materials, supplies, articles, or equipment required under the contract.1
Margin (quiet zone): The area immediately preceding the start character and following the stop character, which contains no markings and provides the same reflectance as the spaces.
Marking: Application of numbers, letters, labels, tags, symbols, or colors for handling or identification during shipment and storage.2
Message: The string of data characters encoded in a bar code. (Also called a field.)
Military methods of preservation: Preservation methods and procedures defined in MIL-STD-2073-1D.1
Modification work order (MWO): Official publication providing authentic and uniform instructions for the alteration and modification of existing materiel, including joint service publications published as retrofit orders.1
Modular containers: Modular containers are families of containers designed to be assembled into standard unit loads.2


National/NATO stock number (NSN): A 13-digit number that is divided into two parts, the Federal Supply Class (FSC) number and the national item identification number (NIIN). The FSC is the first four digits of the NSN that establishes its relationship to other items within the same FSC. The NIIN is the last nine digits of the NSN. The first two digits identify the country assigning the two numbers reffered to as the National Codification Bureau Codes. The remaining seven are a serially assigned number. When shown in the contract/requisition, the NSN includes any prefixes and suffixes.1
Noncritical items: All items not meeting the criteria set forth for critical items.2
Noncoilable: Noncoilable items have physical characteristics of flexible items but have additional characteristics which will not permit the coiling without damage or permanent deformation.   Examples of noncoilable items are thin metal shims, gaskets, and items which are flexible only because of a very thin cross section in one or more dimensions.2
Non-Read: In a bar code system, the absence of data at the scanner output after an attempted scan due to no code, detective code, scanner failure or operator error.


Open System: A system which conforms to established standards and that therefore can be readily connected to other systems that comply with the same standard. Opposite of 'Closed System'.


Packed date: For items required to be marked, the packed date shall be the date on which the item was packaged in the unit pack, regardless of the date of packing, shipping, or additional processing.1
Packing: The assembly of items into unit packs and intermediate or exterior containers, with the necessary blocking, bracing, cushioning, weatherproofing, reinforcement, and marking.1
Packaging: The processes and procedures used to protect material from deterioration, damage, or both. It includes cleaning, drying, preserving, packing, and unitizing.1
Packaging Design Validation: Testing to ascertain the capability of the prototype pack to protect the integrity and serviceability of the item(s) for which the package is designed.2
Palletized unit load: A quantity of items, packed or unpacked, which is arranged on a pallet in a specified manner and is secured, strapped, or fastened on the pallet so that the whole palletized load is handled as a single unit.1
Parcel post: Any packed materiel placed in United States Postal Service channels.1
Performance-oriented packaging (POP): Type of packaging based on the ability of packaging to perform to a specific level of integrity when subjected to performance tests.1
Pilferable items: Items that are vulnerable to theft because of their ready resale potential, such as cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, cameras, electronic equipment, and clothing and textiles.1
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB): An organic chemical, synthetically manufactured and used primarily in electrical equipment. It is harmful to human health and the environment.1
Port of debarkation (POD): An authorized point where shipments enter a country, either into the continental United States (CONUS) or into a foreign country.1
Port of embarkation (POE): An authorized point where shipments leave a country, either from CONUS or from a foreign country.1
Preservation: The application of protective measures, including cleaning, drying, preservative materials, barrier materials, cushioning, and containers, when necessary. Military methods of preservation are defined in MIL-STD-2073-1D.1
Print Contrast Signal (PCS): A measure of the contrast between the bars and spaces of a symbol. It is based on reflectance measurements a specified wavelength of light.
Print Quality: The measure of compliance of a bar code symbol to the requirement of dimensional tolerance, edge roughness, spots, voids, ref1ectance, PCS, quiet zone, and encodation.
Project code: A three-position alphanumeric code which identifies plans, programs, and exercises.
Proper shipping name (PSN): The name of a hazardous material shown in Roman print (not italics) in part 172.101 of Title 49 CFR and in other hazardous materials related publications.2
Protected cargo: Items that are required to be secured, identified, segregated, handled, or accounted for in such a manner as to ensure their safeguard or integrity. Protected cargo is subdivided into classified, controlled, pilferable, and sensitive items.1
Prototype Pack: A preproduction pack designed and constructed to meet specified requirements and which is the model for production packaging.2>


Quantitative expression: The exact quantity of volume linear measurement, weight, or count contained in a UI (e.g., 5 gallons, 100 feet, 10 pounds, 25 each, etc.).1
Quantity: The number of units of issue (lb, oz, ea) in a unit pack, an intermediate container, or a shipping container or in a bundle or a secure lift. (See definitive unit of issue and non-definitive unit of issue.)1
Quantity per unit pack (QUP): The quantity of items in a unit pack given in the terminology of the definitive unit of issue. When a nondefinitive unit of issue is assigned to the stock item, it may be further quantified by a unit of measure and measurement quantity (see quantitative expression).1


Radioactive material: Any material, or combination of materials, which spontaneously emit ionizing radiation, including materials that possess artificial, induced, and natural radioactivity. Materials in which the estimated specific activity is not greater than 70Bq gram (0.002 microcurie/gram) of material, and in which the radioactivity is essentially uniformly distributed, are not considered to be radioactive materials.1
Read Rate: The ratio of the number of successful reads on the first attempt to the total number of attempts.
Repairable item: An item which, by the application of engineering, economic, and other factors could be reasonably restored serviceable condition through regular repair procedures.2
Required delivery date (RDD): The day of the year (e.g., 087, 198, etc.) specified on the requisition when material is required by the requisitioner or the consignee.1
Reusable container: A shipping and storage container that can be reused without impairment of its protective function and which can be repaired and/or refitted to prolong its life or modified to adapt it for shipment of items other than that for which it was originally intended. Reusable shipping and storage containers are further defined as follows:2
  1. Long life container (100 trips minimum):
    A shipping container that can be used repeatedly, and whose service life can be expected to equal the service life of the item it is designed to protect. These containers may be refurbished by appropriate maintenance practices to their original condition and subsequently reused.
  2. Short life container (10 trips minimum):
    A shipping container that can be reused for a limited number of times. The container is usually made of wood, plywood, fiberboard or similar material that has a limited life.
  3. Multi-application containers:
    Multi-application containers are designed to protect a variety of components within a given fragility and size range. They can be manufactured in a similar manner to that used for specialized containers or in accordance with applicable/specified military or federal specifications. A multi-application container can be either of the short-life or long-life variety. Short life multi-application containers include 'fast packs,' consisting of a family of standard size cushioned fiberboard shipping containers of four types. These types are fully described in PPP-B-1672 and are identified as Types I, II, III and IV in Table C.IV. Long-life multi-application reusable containers are designated as Types VI thru X and are also described in Table C.IV.. These containers are made of rugged plastic construction containing internal cushioning pads or permanent shock mitigation systems (e.g., shear mounts, steel coils, springs, etc.) and are designed to protect repairable components packages therein, during forward and retrograde movements within the military supply system.
  4. Specialized container:
    Specialized containers are generally the long-life variety and are uniquely configured to support and protect a specific item, or limited variety of items, during handling and storage, or to protect personnel and equipment from hazardous contents. Containers of this type frequently incorporate energy absorbing systems, temperature control systems or special features to make handling or shipment possible, easier or safer. Engineering drawings, or equivalent, are used to define form, fit, function, materials, tolerances and manufacturing techniques. Specialized shipping containers, internal fixtures and other fitments result from either original design efforts or the redesign or modification of an existing container to meet a specific application or need.
Rugged: A rugged item is one that is so constituted physically that extreme force must be exerted to change its shape in any way and which will be permanently marked or damaged by such shape-changing forces.2


Sack, paper multiwall: A flexible container made of several plies, usually of kraft paper. The various plies may be specially treated, such as waxed paper, glassine, greaseproof, polyethylene, wet strength paper, or other specialty sheets. The particular nature of the sack depends upon the material to be packed and the type of transportation to be employed.
Sealed: An item is considered sealed if the entrances to the interior of the item are sealed with gaskets or closely mated surfaces under mechanical pressure or are sealed by threaded closure devices (except plastic caps). Sealed items also include assemblies which are encapsulated in plastics, ceramics, glass or metal with completely cemented seams or joints closing the interior to the entrance of liquid water. Hermetic sealing is a seal that will exclude air and will be leak-proof at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressures and is usually glass to glass, metal to metal or metal to glass.2
Security assistance: A group of programs authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and the Arms Export Control Act, as amended, or other related statutes by which the United States provides defense articles, military training, and other defense-related services by grant, credit, cash sale, lease, or loan in furtherance of national policies and objectives. Foreign Military; Sales (FMS) is one of the security assistance programs.1
SDS (Standard DoD Bar Code Symbology): The 3 at 9 bar code with a human-readable interpretation (HRI). The Code 39 or Code 3 at 9 is defined in terms of size, density, contrast, and code pattern. The 3 at 9 bar code is also referred to as Code 39 or Code 3 at 9.
Selective Group Items: Items that cannot appropriately utilize predetermined packaging developed by common group technique yet do not require a drawing, sketch, illustration or separate narrative type instruction to specify packaging details. 2
Self-checking barcode: A bar code which uses a checking algorithm which can be applied against each character to guard against undetected errors.
Sensitive items: Items such as small arms, ammunition, and explosives which have a ready use during civil disturbances and other types of domestic unrest or may be used by criminal elements. If they are in the hands of militant or revolutionary organizations, they present a definite threat to public safety.1
Serial number: The number on the item assigned by the manufacturer or the Government for identification or control.1
Set: Unit or units and their assemblies, subassemblies, and parts that are connected or associated together to perform an operational function (e.g., tool set, radio receiving set, etc.).1
Shelf-life: The total period of time beginning with the manufactured date, cured date, assembled date, or packed 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.1
Shelf-life code (SLC): A code assigned to a shelf-life item to identify the period of time beginning with the date of manufacture, cure, assembly, or pack (subsistence only) and terminated by the date by which an item must be used (expiration date) or subjected to inspection, test, restoration, or disposal action (see Shelf-life codes).1
Shelf-life item: It is an item of supply that possesses deteriorative or unstable characteristics to the degree that a storage time period must be assigned to ensure that the item will perform satisfactorily in service.
Shipping container: A container which meets carrier regulations and is of sufficient strength, by reason of material, design, and construction, to be shipped safely without further packing (e.g., wooden boxes or crates, fiber and metal drums and corrugated and solid fiberboard boxes).1
Space: The lighter element of a bar code.
Special Group Items: Items with peculiar characteristics such as mass (weight), configuration, complexity, fragility, or other considerations that cannot be grouped as common or selective. An item is considered special if drawings, sketches, illustrations, or separate narrative type instructions or reusable container are required to specify packaging details.2
Stamping: Impressing or imprinting by metal dies or rubber stamps.1
Start and Stop Character: A distinct character represented by an asterisk, or star (*), which provides initial timing references and direction of the read information to the coding logic. The asterisk start and stop code is an integral part of and peculiar to the 3 of 9 bar code.
Supplier: In a transaction, the party that produces, provides, or furnishes an item of service, other than transportation services. Also See 'Carrier'.
Symbol: A complete bar code containing margins, start character, data characters, intercharacter gaps, check digit (if any), and stop character.


Traceability Number: A number assigned by a controlling authority to provide unique identification to an entity or group of entities to permit tracking of the movement of that entity or group of entities from point to point through a series of transactions.
Transportation Control Number (TCN): The single standard shipment identification number for all DoD-sponsored movements (i.e., materiel and equipment and all vendor shipping transactions involving DoD materiel). The TCN is a 17-position alpha-numeric data element assigned to control a shipment unit through the transportation system (to include CONUS shipments, shipments entering the DTS, and commercial Systems).1
Types of Load: Types of loads are determined by the degree of structural strength supplied to the shipping container by the contents. Loads are classified as Type 1, easy loads; Type 2, average loads; and Type 3, difficult loads, as described herein.2
  • Type 1, easy load. A Type 1, easy load, is developed from an item which completely fills the outer shipping container or from items of moderate density prepackaged in an interior container which completely fills the outer shipping container. Easy load items are not easily damaged by puncture or shock and do not shift or otherwise move within the package. Examples include items packaged in boxes or cans which are prepackaged in fiberboard boxes prior to overpacking in the shipping container; chests; tool kits; and sturdy instruments which are fully in contact with, and support, all faces of the shipping container.


  • Type 2, average load. A Type 2, average load, is developed from item(s) of moderately concentrated weight which are packed directly into the shipping container and provide partial support to all panels thereof. Also item(s) prepackaged by wrapping or by positioning in partitions, cells or paperboard boxes, or by other means which provide support to all panels of the shipping container. Examples include items packaged in boxes or cans which are not prepackaged in an interior container; bottles individually separated one from the other by cells or partitions.


  • Type 3, difficult load. A Type 3, difficult load is developed from item(s) which require a high degree of protection to prevent puncture, shock, or distortion of the shipping container. Also item(s) which do not provide complete support to the panels of the shipping container. Examples include wrenches, long bolts, and rods which exert concentrated forces on the shipping container; motors, telephones, typewriters, drop forgings, rivets, hardware, or other items that are random packed in bulk. Fragile or delicate items requiring special protection.


Unitization: Assembly of containers composed of one or more line items of supply into a single load so that the load can be handled as a unit through the distribution system.1
Any combination of unit, intermediate or exterior packs of one or more line items of supply assembled into a single load in such a manner that the load can be handled as a unit through the distribution system. Unitization (unitized loads-unit loads) encompasses consolidation in a container, placement on a pallet or load base or securely binding together.2
Unit of issue (UI): The UI is a standard or basic quantity that is expressed as a unit and indicated in a requisition, contract, or order as the minimum quantity issued (e.g., bottle, can, dozen, each, foot, gallon, gross, pair, pound, yard, etc.).
Definitive unit of issue:   A definitive UI is a type of UI designation that indicates an exact quantity of volume, linear measurement, weight, or count (e.g., assembly, each, kit, set, foot, etc).
Nondefinitive unit of issue (UI): A nondefinitive UI is a type of UI designation that does not indicate an exact quantity of volume, linear measurement, weight, or count such as drum, can, box, or roll. When a nondefinitive UI is specified, it must be accompanied by a quantitative expression (e.g., 1 RO (150 ft) or 1 RL (50 ft)).1
Unit pack: The first tie, wrap, or container applied to a single item, or a quantity thereof, or to a group of items of a single stock number, preserved or unpreserved, which constitutes a complete or identifiable package. A unit pack is also often referred to as a 'package' or merely as a 'pack.'1
Unit size: The width of the narrow element. (The narrow bar and the narrow space are equal in the 3 of 9 bar code.) This width is referred to as 'x' dimension.


Vendor: See 'Supplier'.


Warranty markings: Markings that apply when a shipment contains items with a service life defined in a specific amount of hours, a specific end date, or a specific operating time.1


No terms beginning with X


No terms beginning with Y


No terms beginning with Z


1. Standard Practice For Military Marking, MIL-STD-129, paragraph 3 (Definitions) - excerpts
2. Standard Practice For Military Packaging, MIL-STD-2073-1D, paragraph 3 (Definitions) - excerpts
3. Standard Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments, ASTM D996, excerpts

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