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
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 NUMBERS
Stock and control numbers are used to identify and
order material in the supply system. The identification
numbers are known as
national stock numbers (NSNs),
NATO stock numbers (a variation of the NSN)
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 (NSNs) 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.
The 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
d e n o t e t h e g r o u p o r m a j o r d iv i s i o n o f t h e
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 abrasives group.
The NIIN identifies each item of supply used by
the DoD and 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 NSN, it is used independently to identify an item.
Except for identification lists, most federal supply
catalogs are arranged in NIIN order.
NATO Stock Numbers
A NATO agreement provided for the adoption of
the United States NSN system as the basis for the
NATO item identification system. A NATO stock
number is identical to an NSN with the exception of the
national codification bureau (NCB) code. The NCB
code consists of the first two digits of the NIIN (see
fig. 7-1). The NCB code either identifies the country
that assigned the stock number or indicates that the
stock number is used by two or more countries. For
example, an NCB will be 00 or 01 to indicate the
Material Control Code
Federal Supply Group
Codification Bureau Code
National Item Identification
National Stock Number
Special Material Identification Code
Figure 7-1. Typical NSN format.
5305 - Screws
5306 - Bolts
5307 - Studs
5310 - Nuts and washers
5320 - Rivets
4810 - Valve solenoid
4820 - Valve angle
4010 - Wire rope, steel
4020 - Rope, fibrous
4030 - Hook, guy
Figure 7-2. Classes of material within stock groups.