What is an NSN?

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If you’ve heard of NATO products, such as slave cables and plugs, you may be wondering, “What is an NSN?” A NATO Stock Number (NSN) is a 13-digit number that’s used to identify a stock-listed standardized Item of Supply (IoS) so it can be recognized easily by NATO countries (and some non-NATO countries), including the U.S. Read on to learn more about the meaning behind an NSN and its benefits. 

NATO Stock Numbers Explained 

NSNs are 13-digit numbers that are divided into three parts — each with a different meaning: 

  • First Four Digits (XXXX): NATO Supply Classification Code 
  • Following Two Digits (XX): NATO Code for the National Codification Bureau (NCB)
  • Final Seven Digits (XXX-XXXX): computer-allocated numbers that have no purpose other than to give the Item of Supply a unique number 

The NATO Item Identification Number (NIIN) is often referenced and is simply the NATO Code for the National Codification Bureau (NCB), plus the final seven digits. This number never changes throughout the item’s lifespan. The first four digits, on the other hand, can change if the IoS Classification system changes.  

How to Get a NATO Stock Number

Assigning a NATO Stock Number is a government-to-government process. This means only government agencies can request an NSN. Furthermore, only a National Codification Bureau (NCB) can assign an NSN to an Item of Supply. To do company-to-government business, the company must have a NATO Commercial and Government Entity Code (CAGE/NCAGE). A CAGE/NCAGE is a five-digit code that’s given to the company by the NCB of the country where it’s located, or by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) if there’s no NCB in said company’s country. 

What are the Benefits of NATO Stock Numbers? 

NATO Stock Numbers offer the following advantages: 

  • Consistency: NSNs themselves are uniform in length, meaning, and use. 
  • Flexibility: The requirements of logistics management systems nationwide and internationally are met. 
  • Dependability: An IoS gets one — and only one — NIIN that’s associated with it from the beginning to the end of its lifespan. 
  • Usability: NSNs are easily recorded and communicated, be it manually or through an Automatic Data Processing (ADP) system. 

Gateway Cable Company is Your Source for NATO Plugs and More!

If you’re searching for NATO slave plugs, connectors, or another component, Gateway Cable Company specializes in military-grade electrical equipment. Many of our products conform to NATO STANAG, as well as specifications created by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Contact us with any questions about NATO electrical equipment, or request a quote online to get started.