Shelf-Life Frequently Asked Questions

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 Q. What is the difference between Shelf-Life and Service Life?
A. Understanding the difference between shelf-life and service life is critical to the proper management of all shelf-life items.
Shelf-Life: Any item in the Shelf-life Extension System (SLES) with a shelf-life code other than zero is designated as a shelf-life item.  Shelf-life items include any National Stock Number (NSN) that is catalogued as a Type I (non-extendable) or Type II (extendable) National Stock Number (NSN) in the Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS).  All shelf-life items are managed by manufacturers contract or lot number based on the item’s date of manufacture, date packed (subsistence only), assembly date, or cure date.
Type I non-extendable items have a finite period of shelf-life or point in time that they reach their date of expiration (date they must be processed for disposal).  Type II shelf-life items may be tested and extended.  All shelf-life Items are stored IAW storage standards contained in the Materiel Quality Control Storage Standards (MQCSS) and all storage activities will manage/maintain the serviceability of assets IAW Care of Supplies in Storage (COSIS) requirements.  Inventory Control Points (ICP) may publish supply bulletins that provide additional, commodity specific guidance to storage activities and end item users as applicable.
Service Life: An item is considered to be service life the moment a properly stored Type I or Type II shelf-life item is:
  • Issued to a customer and removed from its original method of preservation protective packaging.
  • Introduced to mission requirements.
  • Installed into its intended application.
  • Left in storage indefinitely as bench stock.
Under any of these conditions, the item’s management period and shelf-life date ends and service life begins.  These items are not eligible for shelf-life extension testing and will be managed IAW applicable Technical Manuals (TMs) or IAW guidance provided by the materiel owner Services.  If the TM does not specify service life of an item, contact the item’s source of supply, or your Service’s shelf-life administrator.
 Q. Can PSCC conduct a Shelf-Life Workshop at my location or virtually, and what will be covered?
A. For our Army partners, PSCC may be able to conduct an onsite or virtual (via Microsoft Teams) Shelf-Life Workshop.  Workshops will cover all aspects of shelf-life management based on current Army and DoD guidance which will provide you with the latest tools and techniques needed to significantly improve your shelf-life operations.  For additional information or to request a workshop please click below to download a copy of our Shelf-Life Workshop questionnaire.
Click to download Questionnaire

 Q. Who do I contact if I am having issues accessing or using the Shelf Life Extension System (SLES) or the Account Management and Provisioning System (AMPS) websites?
A. Please contact the DLA Enterprise Help Desk at 1-855-352-0001 for all SLES and AMPS website related issues.
 Q. How do I access Department of Defense (DoD) shelf-life information on the Internet?

A. Go to DoD users will be able to access all shelf-life information when using a .mil network domain computer and with a Common Access Card (CAC) , while public users will need to request a login ID & password and will have some information access restrictions. This comprehensive DoD shelf life program web site allows access to the Shelf-Life Extension System (SLES), policy, publications, announcements, point of contact information, and a great deal of other important information.

 Q. I do not have a CAC or access to a computer using a Military network address, or sometimes I want to use my home pc. Is there a way to access DoD shelf-life information on the Internet?
A. You will not be able to access the DoD Shelf-Life Program Intranet website, however, you can access the Internet Public Website. Most information is read-only access, but if you want access to DoD Shelf-Life Extension System (SLES), you will need to request a user ID and password. Click on the SLES link and you will see the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Web Credentials Login page. On this page, select Request a SLES Account. Complete the form, ensuring that the mandatory fields are complete and accurate, then submit. You will receive a confirmation message to the email address you provided almost instantly. The authorizing personnel will get back to you as soon as possible, but this process can take 1-2 weeks. You will be notified of a decision, positive or negative, to the email address you provided. If you have received no emails, please use the Feedback Form on the site to request status or submit and email connection.
 Q. Is shelf-life extension information available for National Stock Number (NSN) items that have already been extended?
A. Yes, but only for those items that require certified laboratory testing, and not visual inspection only. This is available within the DoD SLES, available on the DoD Shelf-Life Program home page. The Quality Status List (QSL) is the listing of DoD-approved laboratory-tested items identified by NSN, lot/batch number, and contract number, along with the test results. If your item matches the identification on the QSL and has been stored in accordance with the appropriate storage standards and passes any additionally specified visual inspections, the QSL test results are your authority to extend your materiel. Items requiring visual inspection only will need to be locally inspected based on the criteria contained in the Material Quality Control Storage Standards data within the SLES.