accurate means of identifying one specific item of
material. Each company develops a system to meet its
The Department of Defense (DoD) supply system
stocks over 4 million items. The Navy supply system
alone stocks over 1 million items. Because of that, the
federal catalog system was developed. It ensures the
proper requisitioning of items from either an activity
ashore or from a unit of the mobile logistics support
The federal catalog system is responsible for
naming, describing, classifying, and numbering all items
carried under centralized inventory control by the DoD
and the civil agencies of the federal government. In all
supply functions from purchase to final disposal, only
one identification may be used for each item.
This system also serves as an economy measure.
Instead of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and civil agencies
each purchasing and maintaining large stocks of
materials, all agencies can make use of centralized
stocks. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
countries also use the federal catalog system.
STOCK AND CONTROL
Stock and control numbers are used to identify and
order material in the supply system. The identification
numbers are known as
national stock numbers (NSN),
a variation of the NSN referred to as a NATO
Navy item control numbers, and
local item control numbers.
A definition and description of the types of stock
and control numbers are stated in the following
National Stock Numbers
The national stock numbers (NSN) are the most
common numbers used to identify material. An NSN is
a 13-digit number consisting of a 4-digit federal supply
classification (FSC) code number and a 9-digit national
item identification number (NIIN). Figure 7-1 shows the
typical NSN format.
Figure 7-1.Typical NSN format.
The federal classification code (FSC) number
identifies an item by commodity or description. The first
two digits of the FSC are called the FSC group, and the
last two digits of the FSC are called the FSC class.
Figure 7-2 is an example of the FSC system. The first
two digits denote the group or major division of the
commodities; for example, group 53 is hardware and
abrasives. The last two digits (for example, 05) denote
the class or subdivision within a group. In other words,
screws are a class or subdivision in the hardware and
The national item identification number (NIIN)
identifies each item of supply used by the Department of
Defense (DoD) and the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO). The NIIN relates to identification
data that makes an item of supply different (as far as
DoD is concerned) from every other item of supply. The
amount and type of identification data depend on the
item and its intended use. Although the NIIN is part of
the national stock number (NSN), it is used
independently to identify an item. Except for
identification lists, most federal supply catalogs are
arranged in NIIN order.