What is the National Stock Number (NSN)? The National Stock Number (NSN) is defined as an official label applied to an item of supply which is being repeatedly bought, stocked, stored, issued, and used throughout the federal supply system. This label can be applied to almost every item imaginable. When an item from different manufacturers is of the same size and characteristics, and performs the same function, a single NSN can be used to label it.
Who uses National Stock Numbers? The NSN is used by the United States Government, as well as many other governments worldwide and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), use National Stock Numbers to buy and manage their supplies.
All National Stock Numbers are cataloged in the Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS). There are about fourteen million active and inactive US NSNs, plus about eight million active NSNs assigned to the items produced in the non-US NATO member countries, which are shared within defense inventories.
How to read the National Stock Number (NSN)? The NSN is a thirteen-digit number. This thirteen-digit number consists of the four-digit Federal Supply Class (FSC) and the nine-digit National Item Identification Number (NIIN).
The Federal Supply Class (FSC) is the code used to group products into logical families for management purposes. Each FSC code is derived from the Federal Supply Groups (FSG). The FSG is the first two digits of the FSC code, and the next two digits make up the Country of Origin code. The Country of Origin code signifies the country that originally requested the NSN assignment, not necessarily where it is produced. Codes 00 and 01 are used to identify the United States.
The National Item Identification Number (NIIN) is the code that identifies each item of supply. The first two numbers of the NIIN represent the National Codification Bureau Code, which identifies the central cataloging office of the NATO or some other friendly country that entered the item into the supply system, with the remaining seven digits sequentially assigned in order to individually identify each item in the Federal Catalog System (FCS).
Therefore, the National Stock Number contains subgroups that identify the Federal Supply Group (FSG) on positions 1-2, the Federal Supply Class (FSC) on positions 1-4, the NATO Country Code on positions 5-6, the National Item Identification Number (NIIN) on positions 5-13, and finally, the serial number of the product on positions 7-13.