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ALCL 007
Alternate Definition

Cataloging is a general process of making a systematic list comprised of similar items. Libraries apply cataloging to organize books by genre, alphabetically by author or title. Within the DoD, cataloging is defined is as follows: "The process of uniformly identifying, describing, classifying, numbering, and publishing in the Federal Catalog System [FCS] all items of personal property (items of supply) repetitively procured, stored, issued, or used by federal agencies." 

The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is responsible for establishing the Defense Standardization Program (DSP). Cataloging supplies and equipment is a multi-step process involving the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), item managers, the industry original equipment manufacturers (OEM) makers and other subject matter experts (SME). Cataloging is critical within the cross-functional approach of procuring, producing, and delivering products and services to customers.

Alternate Definition Source

DoD Instruction (DoDI) 4149.01M, DoD Supply Chain Materiel Management Policy

General Information

The SecDef is required by law (Title 10 USC 2451, Defense supply management) to develop a single catalog system and related program of standardizing supplies for the DoD. The purpose is to ensure that any item that is purchased or managed by the DoD has a unique identifier and to eliminate redundancy within the DoD. The catalog shall include all classes of supply (Joint Publication (JP) 4-09, Distribution Operations, Figure C-1), and for each item, information needed for supply operations, such as descriptive and performance data, size, weight, cubage, packaging and packing data, and any other related data that the Secretary deems desirable.

The DLA Logistics Information Service (DLIS) is responsible for data strategy, management, operational control and accomplishment of logistics data support for all National Stock Number (NSN) items in the Federal Catalog System (FCS) used in supply management operations within and between the US military services, other DoD activities, federal and civil agencies, and foreign governments.

12 of the 13 cataloging functions are managed by DLIS and are listed below:

  1. Item Name Assignment - involves designating a commonly-recognized noun or noun phrase to an item of supply. Based on subsequent availability of technical data and ongoing tool development, the item name may be refined later.
  2. Determining the FSC of an Item of Supply - is established by determining its relationship with other items, based on assigned item name and/or physical and performance characteristics. The FSC may be refined later, based on subsequent availability of technical data and ongoing tool development.
  3. Preparing and Maintaining an Item Identification (II) - includes the recording of characteristics data (in accordance with the Military Standard Item Characteristic Coding Structure (MILSTICCS)) to describe the physical and performance attributes of an item of supply.
  4. Item Entry Control (i.e., filtering and scrutinizing a candidate for inclusion in the FCS) - is accompliby manually and mechanically comparing a candidate to existing items and recognized standards.
  5. Technical Data Validation - by confirming the quality of technical data used for item name assignment, FSC determination, and item identification.
  6. Provisioning Support - by taking actions to assist the best selection, procurement, and cataloging of items of supply required to sustain weapon systems and other government requirements (data calls; provisioning; guidance and Logistics Support Analysis (LSA) conferences; technical data validation; etc.).
  7. Data Recordation and Maintenance Actions - to ensure complete, accurate, and current logistics data records (excluding item characteristics data) for an item of supply. These actions are normally accomplished as a result of item manager requests, system incompatibility notices, technical data revisions, interchangeability and substitutability (I&S) decisions, and periodic record reviews.
  8. Initiating and Enhancing Cataloging Tools Documents and Procedures - required to research, record, and organize item logistics information. Cataloging Tools include item names, definitions, FSC Structure, Federal Item Identification Guides (FIIGs), and other publications.
  9. Supply Support Request (SSR) Processing (resulting from a request by a Service to be a user of a consumable item managed by another Service or Agency) - by accomplishing cataloging actions which record user interest, assign management data, and review/accept substitutes offered.
  10. Data Dissemination Functions -  to provide logistics information (written, telephonic, or electronic) to customers who need it at every level of the supply system.
  11. Developing Cataloging Procedures and Systems - implement cataloging policies. This includes written directives, manual methods, and automated information systems in various combinations, including FLIS.
  12. Developing Cataloging Policy to support the general principles governing the relationship of all cataloging elements/functions to each other as well as to other logistics disciplines.


The 13th service/agency function is Item Management Coding (IMC), which is determining whether items of supply qualify for management by the military services or by DLA or the General Services Administration (GSA)