What Are the Different Military Packaging Standards?

The military uses a range of guidelines for shipping, transporting and storing goods. Some of the specific military packaging standards are outlined below


MIL-STD-129 specifies the military markings that must be used for shipments and storage. These signs include labels, shipping tags, water-resistant envelopes, waterproof markings, identification bar code markings, markings to indicate special handling needs, labels for ammunition and explosives and more. Under this standard, a sign can be the numbers, letters, bar codes, labels, tags, symbols or colors applied to material packaging for identification purposes or to provide handling instructions.

A few of the many requirements under this standard include the following:

  • Marking legibility, durability and color: Markings should be legible, durable and clear and should not fade. 
  • Size of marking: Unless otherwise specified, the size of identifiers should be in clearly visible capital letters of equal height. Lettering should be the largest size that is practical for the packaging dimensions. When the packaging space allows, stenciling and pre-printed markings should not be smaller than .09 inch.
  • Ammunition and explosives packaging label requirements: Packaging containing ammunition or explosives may include a Navy ammunition logistics code (NALC) or a DoD identification code (DODIC) in addition to the 2D (PDF417) bar code.


MIL-STD-130 governs the identification marking of U.S. military property, including tagging methods such as commercial and government entity (CAGE) codes, the data universal numbering system (D-U-N-S), electronic serial numbers (ESN), enterprise identifiers (EIDs), human-readable information, machine-readable information (MRI), national stock numbers (NSNs), registration numbers, serial numbers, text element identifiers, unique item identifiers and more.

A few of the various requirements under this standard include the following:

  • Methods of application: The required marking should be affixed or applied to a securely fastened identification plate, band, tag or label or applied directly to the surface of the item.
  • Location, size and content: The marking should be legible during routine operational use. Item identification signs should be specified directly or in the document identifying the item to be marked.
  • Permanency and legibility: Identification markings should be as permanent as the item’s standard life expectancy. Markings should also be able to endure the environmental tests and cleaning procedures specified for the object they’re attached too.


MIL-STD-1686 determines the electrostatic discharge (ESD) control program for electrical and electronic parts and equipment. It governs assembly and equipment classification, sensitivity classification, protective coverings, marking of hardware, packaging, quality assurance and more for electrostatic discharge sensitive (ESDS) devices. It does not govern electrically initiated explosive devices, however.

Some of the requirements under this standard include the following components:

  • Classification of ESDS parts, assemblies and equipment: Classification data should be used to ensure that the control program, design hardening, protected areas and handling procedures provide adequate ESD protection.
  • Protective covering: ESDS parts and equipment must be safely enclosed in ESD protective covering or packaging when not in use or when removed from protected areas.

Contact us to learn about ESD bags that conform to MIL-STD-1686 packaging standards.


MIL-STD-2073 specifies standard practices for military packaging. These packaged items can include objects delivered for deployment with military personnel during wartime, items that require reusable containers, articles intended for delivery at sea, goods intended for more than six months with the Defense Transportation and Distribution System and more.

MIL-STD-2073 covers requirements in the following areas:

  • Development of military packaging requirements
  • Factors and formulae establishing military packaging quantity per unit pack (QUP) and intermediate container quantity (ICQ)
  • Containers
  • Development of military packaging requirements for kits (parts and modification)
  • Military packaging data forms
  • Military packaging design validation 
  • Military packaging quality assurance
  • Procedures for compliance with container design retrieval system (CDRS) requirements
  • Military packaging requirement codes


MIL-STD-3010 governs test procedures for packaging materials. These methods ensure the standardization of testing procedures for military packaging.

The test procedures covered under this standard include the following:

  • Water vapor transmission rate
  • Seam strength
  • Puncture resistance
  • Blocking resistance
  • Resistance to curl
  • Contact corrosivity
  • Oil resistance
  • Water resistance
  • Water resistance of marking
  • Static decay
  • Transparency
  • Thickness

6. MIL-I-8835 (FORMERLY MS20003-2)

MIL-I-8835 is a humidity indicator. It consists of a card that contains three spots, each one indicating a different level of humidity. The spots change color from blue to pink when the humidity threshold has been reached. From top to bottom, they measure 50% relative humidity, 40% relative humidity and 30% relative humidity, each one accurate to within 5%. The use of MS20003 can inform packaging facilities about the relative humidity in the packaging environment and whether it is suitable for sensitive applications.

Contact us to learn which of our products conform to MIL-I-8835 or any of the previously mentioned packaging standards.