The Defense Logistics Information Service Teaches North Atlantic Treaty Organization Codification in Eastern Europe

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Introduction

The Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) is helping countries in Eastern Europe achieve their goal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership by teaching them the fundamentals of the NATO Codification System (NCS). Since 1999, DLIS has conducted seven seminars about the NCS and the Federal Catalog System (FCS) in countries that were formerly members of the Warsaw Pact. The seminars have helped those countries understand and integrate into the NATO system of logistics. The trips have also provided a fascinating look at the people and cultures of those countries for the DLIS staff members who participated in them, and have helped establish relationships between DLIS and the countries' National Codification Bureaus (NCBs) that will promote cooperation for many years to come. Except for the Poland seminar, all of these events were sponsored by the mil-to-mil teams located in the countries. The mil-to-mil offices were set up to build defense cooperation between the United States and the former members of the Warsaw Pact and the former Soviet republics. The Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw sponsored the event in Poland. Other events DLIS has participated and conducted seminars to include:

* 1999 Poland;

* 2000 Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Romania;

* 2001 Latvia;

* 2002 Lithuania;

* 2003 Czech Republic;

What are DLIS and the Nato Codification System?

Located in Battle Creek, Michigan, DLIS is part of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The primary mission at DLIS is to manage the Federal Catalog System (FCS) for the armed forces and federal civilian agencies. All military supplies and equipment, from nuts and bolts to fighter jets and submarines, are listed in this catalog. It plays a vital role as the common frame of reference that enables Department of Defense buyers to communicate with the nation's military suppliers. The catalog lists nearly seven million active items and provides more than one hundred different pieces of information on each item. The information is standardized across all military services to provide maximum interoperability. Other important missions at DLIS include managing the Central Contractor Registration System. All companies that want to do business with the federal government are required to register there. They also manage the Military Engineering Data Asset Locator System. This is an automated information system that serves as the central index of technical data for the Defense Department.

Because of the FCS mission, DLIS serves as the U.S. National Codification Bureau (NCB) and the point of contact for all matters related to the NATO Codification System. The system is based on the FCS and provides for interoperability among NATO members and other allies. It enhances the effectiveness of logistics support by assisting in the logistics data exchange among the NATO countries and other users of the NCS. The system has been adopted by all signatories of the alliance for use in identifying equipment and supplies. Its use is prescribed under two NATO Standardization Agreements:

* Uniform System of Supply Classification STANAG 3150

* Uniform System of Item Identification STANAG 3151

The system is governed by the NATO Group of National Directors on Codification (AC/135) and implemented through each country's NCB. Ironically, the NCS is used by more non-NATO countries than NATO countries and serves as the worldwide standard for military item identification.

The information provided in those identifications helps users do their jobs from acquisition through disposal. Among other things, these numbers tell users who manages items, where they can be purchased, how much they cost, whether they are repairable, their shelf life, whether they contain hazardous materials, and how they should be disposed of when they are no longer needed. …