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Glossary of Government Contracting Terms

Here are some common acronyms and terms used at USDA. While not complete or comprehensive, we will be adding more items periodically.



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ACH: Automated Clearing House
ACO: Administrative Contracting Officer

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BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
BOP: Basic Contract Option Period
BPA: Blanket Purchase Agreement

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CAF: Contract Access Fee
CAP: Contract Administration Plan
CAV: Contractor Assistance Visits
CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
CLIN: Contract Line Item Number
CONUS: Contiguous United States
COP: Contract Ordering Period
COR: Contracting Officer Representative
COTR: Contracting Officer Technical Representative

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DB: Davis-Bacon Act
DFARS: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement
DHNDAA: Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act
DICAP: Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process
DoD: Department of Defense
DPA: Delegation of Procurement Authority
DSSR: Department of State Standardized Regulation

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EA: Executive Agent
ECI: Employment Cost Index
EFT: Electronic Funds Transfer
EPEAT: Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool

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FA: Functional Area
FAR: Federal Acquisition Regulation
FAS: Federal Acquisition Service
FBO: FedBizOpps
FFP: Firm Fixed Price
FIPS: PUB Federal Information Processing Standards Publication
FISMA: Federal Information Security Management Act
FP: Fixed Price

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GAO: Government Accountability Office
GSA: General Services Administration
GWAC: Governmentwide Acquisition Contract

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HSPD: Homeland Security Presidential Directive

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IA: Information Assurance
IDIQ: Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity
IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IG: Inspector General
IOA: Industrial Operations Analyst
IT: Information Technology
ITS: Integrated Technology Service
ITSS: Information Technology Solutions Shop

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LH: Labor Hour

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MA: Multiple Award
MAP: Marketing Action Plan
MCS: Minimum Contract Sales
MPIN: Marketing Partner Identification Number

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NAICS: North American Industrial Classification System
NDAA: National Defense Authorization Act
NICAP: National Information Assurance Certifications and Accreditation Process

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OCO: Ordering Contracting Officer
OMB: Office of Management and Budget

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PCO: Procuring Contracting Officer
PGC: Pricing Guideline Coefficients
PL: Public Law
PoP: Period of Performance
PPIRS: Past Performance Information Retrieval System

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RFI: Request for Information
RFP: Request For Proposal
RFQ: Request For Quote
RP: Reporting Period

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SAM: System for Award Management
SAP: Special Access Programs
SBA: Small Business Administration
SBI: Special Background Investigations
SCA: Service Contract Act
SCI: Sensitive Compartmented Information
SOP: Standard Operating Procedure
STARS: Streamline Technology Acquisition for Resources Services

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T&M: Time and Materials

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USC: United States Code

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8(a) Program

The Program was created in 1974 to help minority and other small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) to grow through a program of federal contracting preferences and set-asides. Through the 8(a) Program, eligible firms can be awarded government contracts on a sole-source, non- competitive basis. The program is named for the section of the Small Business Act that authorizes its policies and procedures.

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The recording, classifying, summarizing and interpreting in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events of a financial character.



The acquiring of supplies or services by the federal government with appropriated funds through purchase or lease.



According to the SBA, affiliation exists when one business controls or has the power to control another or when a third party (or parties) controls or has the power to control both businesses. Control may arise through ownership, management, or other relationships or interactions between the parties.



A public sale of goods to the highest bidder.

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Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA)

A Basic Ordering Agreement is a written instrument of understanding, negotiated between an agency, contracting activity, or contracting office and a contractor, that contains (1) terms and clauses applying to future contracts (orders) between the parties during its term, (2) a description, as specific as practicable, of supplies or services to be provided, and (3) methods for pricing, issuing, and delivering future orders under the basic ordering agreement. A basic ordering agreement is not a contract.


Best and Final Offer

For negotiated procurements, a contractor's final offer following the conclusion of discussions.


Best value

Method of evaluating bids in which the contracting officer uses many criteria, including the capabilities of the bidder, to determine which offer is in the best overall interest of the buyer.


Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)

A simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for services and products. BPAs are "charge accounts" that ordering offices establish with GSA Schedule contractors to provide themselves with an easy ordering tool.


Business Information Centers (BICs)

One-stop locations for information, education, and training designed to help entrepreneurs start, operate, and grow their businesses. The centers provide free on-site counseling, training courses, and workshops and have resources for addressing a broad variety of business startup and development issues.


Businesses are companies, individuals, or partnerships organized for profit, including small businesses as defined by the SBA.

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The Commercial And Government Entity, CAGE code, is a five-character ID number that identifies government contractors. Although originated by the Department of Defense, CAGE codes are now also used by the Department of Transportation and NASA, among other federal government agencies.


Capability Statement

A one or two page document summarizing a company’s background, certifications, experience, capabilities, expertise, past performance and pertinent codes such as DUNS, CAGE, etc.


Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA):

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Program is a database maintained by the General Services Administration that classifies all federal programs that provide funding to local government agencies, private institutions, and individuals. Each program is assigned a number and name. See the CFDA website for more information.


Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE)

OSDBU office within the VA tasked with verifying VOSBs and SDVOSBs seeking to do business.


Certificate of Competency

A certificate issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) stating that the holder is "responsible" (in terms of capability, competency, capacity, credit, integrity, perseverance, and tenacity) for the purpose of receiving and performing a specific government contract.


Certified 8(a) Firm

A firm owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and eligible to receive federal contracts under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program.


Civil Functions

Functions primarily associated with the Civil Works program of the Army Corps of Engineers. This program encompasses planning, programming, designing, constructing, and operating Federal Water resource projects for navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power production, water supply, recreation, and related activities. Also included are cemeterial work and conservation management.


Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR)

If you’d rather be a sub-contractor on government contracts, these are the people to talk to. They work with large prime contractors and help then find subcontractors.


Competition Category

There are five data fields in FPDS that are useful for assessing the level of competition of a contract: the Extent Competed, Reason Not Competed, Number of Offers Received, Statutory Exception to Fair Opportunity, and Type of Set Aside. has combined information from all five of these fields into one overall summation of the amount of competition for each transaction, called the competition category. More specific "transactions" are summed by these new competition categories in various tables. See About the Data,, for more information.



A mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them.



Purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise obtaining supplies or services from nonfederal sources. Contracting includes the description of supplies and services required, the selection and solicitation of sources, the preparation and award of contracts, and all phases of contract administration. It does not include grants or cooperative agreements.


Contracting Officer (CO)

A person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings.


Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR)

Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) hold unique and important positions in government contracting. The COTR and COR are designated by the contracting officer to assist in administering specific aspects of a contract and normally have the initial and most continuous contact with the contractor and are the liaisons between the contractor and the contracting officer. Contracting officers rely on the expertise and background of the COTR and COR to ensure that the technical and financial aspects of the contract are accomplished.



Entity that performs the service mandated by a contract with a federal agency. In some cases, the service will actually be performed by a subcontractor, subject to the approval of and conditions set by the contracting agency. In other cases, such subcontracting is not permitted under the contract. Contractors are usually for-profit companies, but they also include universities, independent nonprofits, hospitals, and other types of entities.


Contractor Team Arrangement

An arrangement in which (a) two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as potential prime contractor; or (b) an agreement by a potential prime contractor with one or more other companies to have them act as its subcontractors under a specified government contract or acquisition program.


Cooperative purchasing

The combining of requirements of two or more government units to obtain the benefits of volume purchases and/or reduction in administrative expenses.


Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)

CAS were designed by the General Accountability Office (GAO) to achieve uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to Government contracts. The standards were based on examinations of common cost accounting practices throughout the industry. CAS does establish limits and constraints on what is considered appropriate, allowing the CAS to meet the goal of providing consistency and uniformity in cost accounting.


Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF)

A cost-reimbursement contract that provides payment to the contractor of a negotiated fee that is fixed at the inception of the contract. The fixed fee does not vary with actual cost, but may be adjusted as a result of changes in the work to be performed under the contract. This contract type permits contracting for efforts that might otherwise present too great a risk to contractors, but provides the contractor only a minimum incentive to control costs. (FAR 16.306)

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Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS):

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character identification number provided to entities interested in contracting with the federal government. The numbers are distributed by the private company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Companies interested in contracting with the government must have a different 9-digit D-U-N-S number for each physical location and different address in the company, as well as each legally distinct division that may be co-housed at the same address or location. You do NOT have to pay for a DUNS number as a government contractor. Contact Dun and Bradstreet for more information.



Failure by a party to a contract to comply with contractual requirements


Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (DAR Council)

A group composed of representatives from each Military department the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Defense Contract Management Agency and that is in charge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on a joint basis with the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC).


Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)

Responsible for performing all contract audits for the Department of Defense, and providing accounting and Financial advisory services regarding contracts and subcontracts to all DoD Components responsible for procurement and contract administration.


Defense Contractor

Any person who enters into a contract with the United States for the production of material or for the performance of services for the national defense.


Differences Between Place of Performance and Contractor/Recipient Locations

The Place of Performance search shows the geographic area where the majority of the work was done under the award. The Place of Performance location is not necessarily the same as the address of the contractor/recipient. When you fill in a city, county, or state in the Contractor/Recipient search, you're searching for recipients whose address is located within that particular city, county or state. When users fill in a city, county, or state in the Place of Performance search, searches for work done in that geographic area.

Therefore, searches by the same city, county, or state in both the Place of Performance search and Contractor/Recipient searches, will yield two different results.


Disabled Veteran-owned Business Enterprise (DVBE)

A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the military. The service-connected disability can be 0% compensation. See SDVOB for Service- Disabled Veteran Owned Business.


Direct Payments:

A classification of federal assistance spending in This classification of spending contains two types of payments - "specified use" and "unrestricted use." Specified use:

Financial assistance from the federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the federal government.

Unrestricted use:

Financial assistance from the federal government provided directly to beneficiaries who satisfy federal eligibility requirements with no restrictions being imposed on the recipient as to how the money is spent. Included are payments under retirement, pension, and compensatory programs.

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Educational and Nonprofit Institutions

Any corporation, foundation, trust, or institution operating on a not-for-profit basis. Included are educational and scientific institutions, hospitals of a nonprofit nature, and state, local, and other non-Federal government agencies.


Electronic Data Interchange

Transmission of information between computers using highly standardized electronic versions of common business documents.


Emerging Small Business

A small business concern whose size is no greater than 50 percent of the numerical size standard applicable to the Standard Industrial Classification code assigned to a contracting opportunity.



See Program Manager.



An accounting term used to describe the net investment of owners or stockholders in a business. Under the accounting equation, equity also represents the result of assets less liabilities.

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Fair and Reasonable Price

A price that is fair to both parties, considering the agreed-upon conditions, promised quality, and timeliness of contract performance. "Fair and reasonable" price is subject to statutory and regulatory limitations.


FedBizOpps is the single government point of entry for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet.


Federal Assistance Award Data System PLUS (FAADS PLUS):

One of the current databases maintained by the federal government to report information and data on all types of financial assistance awards made by federal agencies listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (see above). The data includes the type and amount of financial assistance, the type and location of the recipient, and the geographic place of performance.

FAADS PLUS data is update daily and can be accessed through


Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

The body of regulations, which is the primary source of authority governing the government procurement process. The FAR, which is published as Chapter 1 of Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations, is prepared, issued, and maintained under the joint auspices of the Secretary of Defense, the Administrator of General Services Administration, and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Actual responsibility for maintenance and revision of the FAR is vested jointly in the Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC) and the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC).


Federal Acquisition Regulation Council

Governing body that ultimately makes FAR interpretations and rulings.


Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)

The FAS provides federal customers with the products, services, and programs to meet their supply, service, procurement, vehicle purchasing and leasing, travel and transportation, and personal property management requirements. FAS is one of GSA's three Services. It provides a source for virtually every commercial product or service an agency might need.


Federal Fiscal Year

The federal government operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends the following September 30. Fiscal years are notated with FYXXXX or FYXX. The year notates the calendar year when the fiscal year will end. For example, fiscal year 2015 (FY15) runs from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015


Federal Procurement Data Center (FPDS)

Part of the U.S. General Services Administration, operates and maintains the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). The FPDS is the central repository of statistical information on Federal contracting. The system contains detailed information on contract actions over $25,000 and summary data on procurements of less than $25,000.


Formula grant

Allocations of money to States or their subdivisions in accordance with distribution formulas prescribed by law or administrative regulation, for activities of a continuing nature not confined to a specific project. (Examples of formula grant programs)


Full and Open Competition

With respect to a contract action, "full and open" competition means that all responsible sources are permitted to compete.

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General Services Administration (GSA)

The GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies and services. GSA is comprised of 4,000 associates and provides services and solutions for the office operations of over 1 million federal workers located in more than 9,000 government-owned and leased buildings in 2,000 US communities.

Purchase (Credit) Card

Federal government credit card that cardholders may use to make purchases up to $3,000.

Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)

GWACs are defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as task orders or delivery order contracts for information technology (IT) established by one agency for governmentwide use.


Government Agency

When the contractor is a Federal/State/Local government agency of the United States and outlying areas (educational institutions are excluded).



An award of financial assistance in the form of money, or property in lieu of money, by a funding agency. The grant is usually advertised through an RFA. The grantee is required to account for spending the money in the manner specified by the grantor. A federal grant is also an authorized expenditure to a non-federal entity for a defined public or private purpose in which services are not rendered to the federal government. This classification of spending comes in two types - "formula grants" and "project grants.”


Grant Recipient

Any non-federal entity, usually a state or local government, or a private, usually non-profit organization, such as an educational or religious institution, a relief agency, or an individual.


GSA Schedule

A GSA schedule is an unfunded, long-term contract that lists the prices the federal government has agreed to pay for a product or service provider’s commercial goods and services. There are 41 categories of products and services from which GSA buys; those are known as “Schedules”.

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Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone)

The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas.

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Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts

Also known as multiple award Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) task order contracts provides a broad range of IT support services and resources for administrative, research, development and operational activities.


Invitation For Bid (IFB)

An IFB is the method used for the sealed bid process. Typically, an IFB includes a description of the product or service to be acquired, instructions for preparing a bid, the conditions for purchase, packaging, delivery, shipping and payment, contract clauses to be included and the deadline for submitting bids


Intermediary Organization

Organizations that play a fundamental role in encouraging, promoting, and facilitating business- to-business linkages and mentor-protégé partnerships. These can include both nonprofit and for- profit organizations: chambers of commerce; trade associations; local, civic, and community groups; state and local governments; academic institutions; and private corporations.


Intragovernmental Order

Orders written by a Military Department or Defense Agency purchasing office requesting that a non-Defense Federal Agency furnish supplies or services from its stocks, in-house manufacturing facilities, or contracts.


Interagency Order

Includes Intragovernmental and Federal Supply Schedule orders written by a Military Department or Defense Agency purchasing office.

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Joint Venture

In the SBA Mentor-Protégé Program, an agreement between a certified 8(a) firm and a mentor firm to perform a specific federal contract. Joint ventures are also legal entities that have been formed to group individual companies together to perform on a contract.

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Line item

An item specified in a solicitation for which the vendor must specify a separate price.


Location of Work

The place where an item is to be manufactured, assembled, or otherwise supplied by the prime contractor; the place where the service is to be performed; or the site of a construction project.

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A business, usually large, or other organization that has created a specialized program to advance strategic relationships with small businesses.


Military/Eligible Reservist

A member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces ordered to active duty during a period of military conflict.


Military Functions

Activities normally associated with the support of the Uniformed Services.


Multiple Award

Contracts awarded to more than one supplier for comparable supplies and services. Awards are made for the same generic types of items at various prices.

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Contracting through the use of either competitive or other-than-competitive proposals and discussions. Any contract awarded without using sealed bidding procedures is a negotiated contract.


Net Value

The net amount of debit and credit procurement actions recorded during the period.


North American Industry Classification Code (NAICS code)

The NAICS (pronounced Nakes) is a unique, all-new system for classifying business establishments. Adopted in 1997 to replace the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, it is the industry classification system used by the statistical agencies of the United States. The NAICS codes are used as a categorization system within contracting data to give a higher level of detail about the type of economic or industrial output being done under a contract. These codes were created jointly by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and are assigned by the federal government according to the NAICS.

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Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP)

See Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)


Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)

Office at all federal agencies that serve as small business advocates within the agency. OSDBU’s main responsibility is to ensure procurement opportunities for small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZone businesses, and businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.


One-Stop Capital Shops

OSCSs are the SBA’s contribution to the Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities Program, an interagency initiative that provides resources to economically distressed communities. The shops provide a full range of SBA lending and technical assistance programs.

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A mutually beneficial business-to-business relationship based on trust and commitment and that enhances the capabilities of both parties.


Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS)

PPIRS is the single, authorized application to retrieve contractor performance information.


Period of Military Conflict

A period of war or national emergency declared by the Congress or the President or a period of a contingency operations.


Place of Performance and Contractor/Recipient Locations

The Place of Performance shows the geographic area where the majority of the work was done under the award or contract. The Place of Performance location is not necessarily the same as the address of the contractor/recipient.


Price Competition

Two or more bids or offers were received under formal advertising or negotiated methods of procurement and award was made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or offeror.


Prime Contract

A contract awarded directly by the Federal government.


Prime Contract Award

A legally binding agreement executed by a Department or an Agency to obtain supplies or services.


Procurement Action

An action involving the obligation or de-obligation of funds which officially awards or changes a prime contract. This may include the award of a new prime contract, a debit or credit change to an existing prime contract, or an order written against an indefinite delivery-type contract or basic ordering agreement.


Procurement Center Representative (PCR)

These people are employees of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and are assigned to larger government buying offices.


Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

PTACs provide local, in-person counseling and training services. They are designed to provide technical assistance to businesses that want to sell products and services to federal, state, and/or local governments.


Program Manager

The Program Manager is usually not involved in contracting, but they are typically the “end- user”. They are the people who use your products or services in the process of doing their job. They are the scientists, technical staff, commissary staff, first-responders and any and all people involved in pursuing the agency’s mission. While they do not buy the products and services they do influence the specifications and choices. You do want to get to know your key “end-users”.


Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.



A firm in a developmental stage that aspires to increasing its capabilities through a mutually beneficial business-to-business relationship.


Public Law 10650 (PL 106-50)

Also know the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, a federal law passed in 1999 that sets as a goal that 3% of the value of all federal contracts and subcontracts shall be awarded to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. This law also created the Veterans Corporation.


Public Law 108-183 (PL 108-183)

The Veterans Benefit Act of 2003, signed by President Bush December 16, 2003. The new Public Law enables SDVOBs to receive sole source and restricted competition contracts for goods and services used by the US government. Congress enacted this statute after data collected from more than 60 federal departments and agencies over a period of three years showed that half of them reported no procurement dollars expanded with SDVOB companies.

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Qualified Borrower

An individual who is an eligible reservist and who has an outstanding direct 7(a) loan or a 7(b) disaster assistance loan which he or she received before being ordered to active duty; or a small business that has an outstanding direct 7(a) loan or a 7(b) disaster assistance loan which he or she received before becoming an eligible reservist who is an essential employee and who has been ordered to active duty.

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Request for Application (RFA)

It is a formal announcement of an opportunity to apply for a grant. An RFA specifies the requirements for applying for the grant. RFAs are issued by governments and foundations.


Request for Bid (RFB)/Invitation to Bid

A solicitation in which the terms, conditions, and specifications are described and responses are not subject to negotiation.


Request for Proposal (RFP)

A document outlining a government agency’s requirements and the criteria for the evaluation of offers. When the value of a government contract exceeds $100,000 and when it necessitates a highly technical product or service, the government may issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). In a typical RFP, the government will request a product or service it needs, and solicit proposals from prospective contractors on how they intend to carry out that request, and at what price. Proposals in response to an RFP can be subject to negotiation after they have been submitted.


Request for Quote (RFQ)

When the government is merely checking into the possibility of acquiring a product or service, it may issue a Request for Quote (RFQ). A response to an RFQ by a prospective contractor is not considered an offer, and consequently, cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract. The order is an offer by the government to the supplier to buy certain supplies or services upon specified terms and conditions. A contract is established when a supplier accepts the offer.



An internal document that a program office sends to the purchasing department detailing products or materials needed to fulfill a specific need.

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The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a 12,400-member volunteer association sponsored by the SBA. SCORE matches volunteer business-management counselors with present prospective small business owners in need of expert advice.



Means that a disability or the resulting death was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military naval, or air service.


Service-Disabled Veteran

Veteran with a disability that is service-connected.


Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB)

A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the military. The service-connected disability can be 0% compensation.


Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP)

May be used for contracts up to $150,000. Methods prescribed for making purchases of supplies or services using imprest funds, purchase orders, blanket purchase agreements, Government wide commercial purchase cards, or any other appropriate authorized methods.

Small Business

A business smaller than a given size as measured by its employment, business receipts, or business assets.

Small and Small Disadvantaged Businesses include: Women Owned Businesses (WOBs), Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs), Veteran Owned Businesses (VOBs), Historically Underutilized Business Zoned Businesses (HUB Zone), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority institutions (OMIs).


Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA if a federal government agency which has grown in terms of total assistance provided and its array of programs tailored to encourage small enterprises in all areas. SBA programs now include financial and federal contract procurement assistance, management assistance, and specialized outreach to women, minorities and armed forces veterans.


Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

SBDCs offer a broad spectrum of business information and guidance as well as assistance in preparing loan applications.


Small Business Dynamic Search (SBDS)

This web site is maintained by the Small Business Administration and serves as a database for small businesses to include more details about their products, services, certification and other marketing information.


Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)

An awards-based program designed to foster technological innovation by small businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The SBIR program provides for a three-phased approach to research and development projects: technological feasibility and concept development; the primary research effort; and the conversion of the technology to a commercial application.


Small Business Liaison Officer (SBLO)

Person working in an agency or company tasked with assisting small businesses to do business with that agency or company.


Small Business Owned and Controlled by a Service-Disabled Veteran

A business must qualify as small under the SBA rules and not less than 51-percent-owned by one or more service-disabled veterans or, in the case of any publicly owned business that is not less than 51 percent is owned by one or more service-disabled veterans; and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans or, in the case of a veteran with permanent and severe disability, the spouse or caregiver of such veteran.


Small Business Owned and Controlled by a Veteran

A small business that is not less than 51 percent owned by one or more veterans or, in the case of any publicly owned business, not less than 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more veteran, and whose management and daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more veterans.


Small Business Specialist (SBS)

He or she is an employee of the federal government buying office who will help you get bid opportunities. They know the ins and outs of the buying office and the people you may need to meet. If you have trouble getting the bid technical data package, they are the people to contact. Every federal buying office, civilian or Defense will have someone with that title.


Small Disadvantaged Business Concern

A small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. This can include a publicly owned business that has at least 51 percent of its stock unconditionally owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and whose management and daily business is controlled by one or more such individuals.


Sole Source

A sole source procurement is a procurement where only one source is practicably available for the goods or services required. Competition is not available in a sole source procurement thus distinguishing it from a proprietary procurement where the product is restricted to that of one manufacturer, but is sold through distributors and competition between them can be obtained.



The process used to communicate procurement requirements and to request responses from interested vendors.


Sources Sought Notice

A required market research process performed by the federal government. Most often posted in FedBizOpps. The process is used to communicate upcoming procurement opportunities and to request responses from interested vendors to determine if small business set-asides or sole source contracts may be possible.


Special Item Number (SIN)

A SIN means a group of generically similar (but not identical) supplies or services that are intended to serve the same general purpose or function.


Statement of work (SOW)

A detailed statement describing the buyer’s requirements, including, if necessary, what products, services and methods will be used to fulfill the need.



A contract between a prime contractor and a subcontractor to furnish supplies or services for the performance of a prime contract or subcontract.


Subcontract Commitment

A legal agreement between contractors establishing the value of goods and services required to fulfill a contract. The goods or services are provided by one contractor (called the subcontractor) to the contractor with the major or prime contract.


Subcontract Payment

A cash payment made by one contractor to another for supplies, services, or construction required by a prime contract.



Federal Acquisition Regulations define “subcontractor’’ as ‘any supplier, distributor, vendor or firm that furnishes supplies or services, to or for a prime contractor or another subcontractor.”


Supplier Diversity

Offices or departments within large companies tasked with ensuring supplier socio-economic class goals are met.


System for Award Management (SAM)

SAM is the primary vendor database for the U.S. Federal Government. Every company wishing to do business with the federal government MUST be registered in SAM. The SAM validates stores and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Both current and potential government vendors are required to register in SAM in order to do be awarded contracts and paid by the government. It is a "virtual" one-stop procurement shop. The database offers an electronic search engine for contracting officers and serves as a marketing tool for small businesses that register with the system. It contains the profiles of thousands of small firms.

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Technical & Design Competition

Two or more offers were received and award was made to the offeror with the best overall technical and design proposal. Cost is one of the factors in the evaluation. Sources for most major weapon systems resulted from initial competition in the design and development stage.



The issuance, renewal, or modification of a single contract between a contractor and the federal government for the performance of designated tasks. The number of transactions is not equal to the total number of contracts. One contract could have hundreds or thousands of transactions during the course of the contract

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Unsolicited Proposal

As defined in FAR 2.101, an unsolicited proposal is a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offering company (i.e. your company) for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to an RFP, broad agency announcement, or any other government-initiated solicitation or program.


United States

The 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying areas of the United States.

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Veterans who served on active duty and have a discharge other than dishonorable after a minimum of 90 days of service during wartime or a minimum of 181 continuous days during peacetime.


Veteran-owned Business (VOB)

A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a veteran of the military.

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Wide Area Workflow

Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) is a secure Web-based system for electronic invoicing, receipt and acceptance. WAWF creates a virtual folder to combine the three documents required to pay a Vendor the Contract, the Invoice, and the Receiving Report. The WAWF application enables electronic form submission of Invoices, government inspection, and acceptance documents in order to support DoDs goal of moving to a paperless acquisition process. It provides the technology for government contractors and authorized DoD personnel to generate, capture, and process receipt and payment-related documentation, via interactive Web-based applications.


Woman-owned or Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE or WOB)

A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a woman or minority. On a federal level Congress considers a minority owned business as generally anyone other than white.

Specific criteria can be obtained through the SBA. The business must be owned and at least 51% controlled by one or more minorities. Women are not considered minorities. The WOSB Program was instituted by the Small Business Administration in 2011 and more information is available at


Work Inside the United States

An award to a U.S. or foreign business, an educational or nonprofit institution, or a Government Agency with a place of performance inside the United States (see above).


Work Outside the United States

An award to a U.S. or foreign business, an educational or nonprofit institution, or a Government Agency with a place of performance outside of the United States (see above).

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