NATO Stock Number
A NATO Stock Number, or National Stock Number (NSN) as it is known in the US, is a 13-digit numeric code, identifying all the 'standardized material items of supply' as they have been recognized by all NATO countries including United States Department of Defense. Pursuant to the NATO Standardization Agreements, the NSN has come to be used in all treaty countries, where it is also known as a NATO Stock Number. However, many countries that use the NSN program are not members of NATO, e.g. Japan, Australia and New Zealand. A two-digit Material Management Aggregation Code (MMAC) suffix may also be appended, to denote asset end use but it is not considered part of the NSN. An item having an NSN is said to be "stock-listed".
- 1 Structure
- 2 History
- 3 Fictionalized NSNs
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
The format of an NSN might be described as follows:
Each element, a through m, was originally intended to be a single decimal digit. As inventories grew in complexity, element g became alphanumeric, beginning with capital A for certain newly added items. By 2000, uppercase C was in use.
Federal Supply Classification Group (FSCG)
The initial subgroup, abcd, is the Federal Supply Classification Group (FSCG)  or National Supply Classification Group (NSCG). In theory, similar items would always have closely related numbers in this section of the NSN, no matter how the section is referred to. As the number of items has steadily increased and the system has become more complicated, it has not always been possible to keep similarity in numbers when the items are similar.
National Item Identification Number
The nine digits, ef-ghi-jklm, comprise the NIIN (National Item Identification Number).
National Codification Bureau
The ef pair is used to record which country was the first to codify the item—which one first recognized it as an important item of supply. This is generally the country of origin, meaning the country of final manufacture. The formal name of the field is CC for Country Code or NCB, because NCB also stands for National Codification Bureau. According to this system, for example, US is 00 and 01, Japan 30, Saudi Arabia is 70, the UK is 99 and Australia is 66.
Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC)
This is an alphanumeric four-symbol code consisting of one or two letters followed by two or three numerals. (The numeral "Zero" (0) and the letter "O" (O) are considered the symbol "O" in the alphanumeric system to reduce confusion). This code is shown either after the NSN or on the line underneath it on the container. The DODIC identifies the item, while the NSN identifies what type of item it is and how it is packaged and contained.
Sometimes The DODIC also contains a two-numeral NCB code prefix for the manufacturer's or repacker's country if it is different from the packager's country.
*AO59 is the DODIC code for 5.56mm NATO M855 Ball type ammunition. *Bulgaria has the NCB code number 50. **50-AO59 is Bulgarian-manufactured 5.56mm NATO ammunition equivalent to M855 Ball.
Department of Defense Ammunition Code (DODAC)
The DODAC includes the 4-digit NSC of the ammunition and the 4-symbol DODIC. This is used in calculating ammunition transactions to reduce errors. It is notated on DD Form 581, DA Form 3151-R, and most ammunition reports.
*1305 is the NSC for Ammunition Through 30mm. *AO59 is the DODIC code for 5.56mm NATO M855 Ball type ammunition. *1305-AO59 is the DODAC code for a transaction involving a lot or amount of 5.56mm NATO ammunition.
- A container marked with a "square cross" in a circle ⊕ means the item is made exactly to NATO standards and specifications.
- A container marked with a rounded "Cross pattée" means it is a substitute item that is compatible and acceptable by NATO standards.
- A solid circle • indicates Ball Ammunition.
- A empty circle with dashed lines ◌ indicates Blank Ammunition.
- A horizontal straight line through vertical rectangles or cartridge shapes lll indicates linked ammunition.
The Lot Number consists of the three-letter manufacturer's code, the two-numeral year of manufacture, and a batch code that consists of 1 or more numerals. It will contain either the manufacturer's three letter code or that of the repacker that subcontracted the lot. The year and batch number in the Lot Number will track down when it was made if a batch is faulty or defective.
The NSN is an expanded version of the older Federal Stock Number (FSN), which lacked the national-origin code labeled ef above, in the second subgroup. Items predating 1974 in warehouses are frequently stenciled with FSNs. As of 1998, the system is principally administered by the Defense Logistics Agency within the U.S. Department of Defense.
Other stock numbering systems are in use within the US DoD, but as of 2005, the NSN remained the most common and least ambiguous way to identify most standardized items of supply.
A Federal Stock Number (FSN) was an 11-digit numeric code. It was first used by the Defense Munitions Board's Cataloging Agency in 1949 to identify items in the Joint Army-Navy Catalog System. The Federal Stock Number was used officially from 1953 to 1974, when it was replaced by the National Stock Number. The conversion from FSN to NSN was typically done by adding "00" between the first set of numbers (the Federal Supply Class, or FSC) and the second set of numbers.
For example, the FSN:
It is not unheard of for certain numbers to be referred to in works of fiction as if they were NSNs—especially in military science fiction. This can be seen as a variation on the false document technique, something used creatively in order to lend an air of authenticity.
- The M41A Pulse Rifle, from the movie Aliens, has been referred to as having NSN 3055-00-721-4790, as if it were real (though its FSG is incorrect: 30 is mechanical power transmission equipment, while 10, weapons, is probably the right FSC).
- The spacecraft hull repair kit that the player must use in the sci-fi computer game Mission Critical, to stop the decompression emergency, has "NSN 5920-385-19468" stenciled on the side of its plastic box.
- National Codification Bureau (NCB)
- NATO Codification System (NCS)
- Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE)
- Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS)
- List of U.S. Army weapons by supply catalog designation
- Military logistics