GOVCON Glossary

T.L.A.s for GOVCON VIPs or SBs, FYI. LOL!*

*Three-letter acronyms for government contracting very important persons or small businesses, for your information.  Laugh out loud!

Acronym Stands for… What it really means or does… Don’t take my word for it…
GSA General Service Administration The GSA oversees the spending of about $84 BILLION to fulfill the government’s needs for services and goods. source
FAR Federal Acquisition Regulation Issued jointly by the DoD, NASA and the GSA, this is the bible of regulations for all government purchases and vendors, in gloriously excruciating detail.  It’s rumored to be an excellent sleep aid for non-government contractors as well.  A physical copy is the perfect height for a computer monitor riser. Source
LPTA Lowest price, technically acceptable A method of evaluating proposals where price is one of the primary considerations.
MAS Multiple Award Schedule The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program is the federal government’s premier contracting program for commercial products and services. Through the MAS Program, GSA establishes long-term, governmentwide contracts with negotiated ceiling prices between vendors (contractors) and the federal government. Source
SAM System for Award Management The government’s online listings for all the goods and services it wants to buy, accessible through source
CPARS Contractor Performance and Rating System A standard, objective system for rating a contractor’s performance in providing goods or services.  These are vital for applying for further contracts. source
NAICS North American Industrial Classification System Categories for classifying the goods & services the government seeks contractors to provide. Examples include our favorite, Architectural and Engineering, and Professional Services.  It’s a 6-digit code source
SOW Statement of Work What needs to be done to fulfill a particular government need.  It’s usually one of the components of the RFP.  Sometimes you can get an idea for these ahead of time by reviewing Sources Sought and RFIs which may have Preliminary or Proposed Statement of Work (PSOW), or Performance Work Statement (PWS) attached.
BPA Blanket Purchase Agreement A BPA is an agreement established by a government buyer with a contractor to fill repetitive needs for supplies or services.  Think of goods such as printer paper and ink toner in this category. source
IDIQ Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity Most often used for service contracts, or architect/engineer contracts, IDIQ contracts “provide for an indefinite quantity of services for a fixed time. They are used when GSA can’t determine, above a specified minimum, the precise quantities of supplies or services that the government will require during the contract period. IDIQs help streamline the contract process and speed service delivery.” source
WBS Work Breakdown Structure You’re probably going to need a very detailed narrative or organizational chart for your response.
KO or CO Contract Officer Individual who reviews the vendor bid/offer/proposal and selects the winner of the contract.  Usually works for a specific government agency or office. Please don’t try to bribe the KO in charge of your RFP response.  We are already doing that.
SAT Simplified Acquisition Threshold Government purchases between $25k-$250k that are exempt from many regulations due to their “small” nature.  Purchasers can use the System for Award Management (SAM) to get all the vendor information and pay using  a P-card (purchase credit card). Source
CAGE code Commercial and Government Entity Code This 5-digit alpha numeric code is mandatory if you want to win a GSA contract.  It’s a reference for your company’s physical address for GSA mailings, payments and administrator records.  It is FREE to get your CAGE code. source
RFI or Sources Sought Request for Information This is an early indicator that a solicitation is coming up.  It’s NOT a proposal, bid or offer.  It’s basically the government entity saying to industry “Help me, help you.”  The KO needs to achieve a goal but doesn’t know what kind of services are needed to realize it, or who is out there to do the work.  It’s a great opportunity to let KOs know who your company is, what you do, and ask that the upcoming project be set aside for your category of business (SB, HubZone, 8a, SWoB, etc.). Source

The first four letters of the alphabet are the hardest.

The rest are e-z.

Most people find unnecessary acronyms annoying –

but that’s TBE.

Acronym What it stands for… What it really means or does… Trust, but verify.  That’s government for “trust no one.”
RFP Request for Proposal This is the notice and instruction manual for submitting your bid as a vendor!  The busy season is coming up, make sure you are following our blog so your firm is ready to submit a response. Or let Laurel Rock create a Rock-solid bid for you.
UEI Unique Entity Identifier The UEI is a string of alphanumeric characters used to search, organize, and identify your company instead of searching by your business name. In order to do business with the government, you must register with SAM and get a UEI. source
USACE United States Army Corps of Engineers “The Army Corps of Engineers provides public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen national security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters.” source
SB Small Business It’s a set-aside category for government spending, all  federal government purchases between $10k-$250k is reserved for small businesses.

“Size standards define the largest size a business can be to participate in government contracting programs and compete for contracts reserved or set aside for small businesses. Size standards vary by industry and are generally based on the number of employees or the amount of annual receipts the business has.

You can find small business size regulations in Title 13 Part 121 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).”

SDVO Service-Disabled, Veteran Owned Another set aside, referring to US veterans or caretakers with service related disability, verified by either the Department of Veteran’s Affairs or the Department of Defense.  There are other qualifications too. Source
HUBZone Historically Underutilized Business Zone To support businesses owned by members of and operated within historically underutilized communities, such as near closed military bases, disaster areas, etc. Source
WOSB Woman-Owned Small Business Designation for a small business certified as owned by a woman: where at least “51% of the company is owned, controlled, and primarily managed by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.” Source
SDB, 8a Small, Disadvantaged Business (8a) In addition to other requirements, to participate in the 8a program, a business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged. Source
DHS Department of Homeland Security Responsible for major US security components including: customs, border, and immigration enforcement, emergency response to natural and manmade disasters, antiterrorism work, and cybersecurity. source
DoD/ DOD Department of Defense One of the largest government entities who pursues contacts with vendors. Source
DLA Defense Logistics Agency Army, Navy, Air Force, the Marine Corps and related agencies rely on DLA for technical, logistical and acquisition assistance. Source
CBO Congressional Budget Office This non-partisan agency regularly produces forecasts of the US government budget and the economy for periods of one to 10 years. Source
OSDBU the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization An office dedicated to helping small and disadvantaged businesses access the contracting opportunities for contracting. Source
OMB Office of Management and Budget Administrators of the federal budget who also oversee the federal agencies.  We want to be best friends with them.  Like Fallon and Timberlake at Camp Winnipesaukee. Source
BWTM** BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE** **We made that one up, it’s not really an acronym often found in government contracting.  The government is excellent at creating their own lingo, so here’s yet another source for learning additional acronyms and abbreviations. Source
TLA What it Means How it’s relevant to you
PPQ Past Performance Questionnaire This is how you prove your firm can do the work you are bidding for.  Sometimes an actual form must be completed, often it’s more of a resume-style summary of previous projects that align with the current RFP’s scope of work.
QASP Quality Assurance/ Surveillance Plan No one wants to pay extra money for goods or services, including the government.  In performing tasks for the GOV, it’s sometimes necessary to show that your firm is watching out for industry-standard quality or safety factors, and keeping an eye on the budget.  That’s when it’s time for a QASP.
GFE Government Furnished Equipment Perhaps the work you’re doing requires specialized equipment not readily available to companies.  If the government furnishes equipment, you’re going to need to account for its use during the project and its state at the end of the contract.
Proposal Evaluation Review of your offer/ bid/ response/ proposal Independent, objective review by an experienced technical proposal assessor will let you know if you have fulfilled all the requirements, created a compelling narrative, priced your services/ goods correctly, attached all the necessary documents, followed the instructions correctly, and submitted past performance relevant to the solicitation. This can be done before submitting a current offer or to evaluate strengths and weaknesses for previous efforts that did not win, and determine lessons learned.
Bid/No Bid Analysis Weigh the pros and cons of pursing an opportunity We’ll look at staffing allocation, cost estimates, wrap rates for personnel, profit margin, potential growth from the RFP, and whether or not your company has the correct reps, certs and past performance to make a viable bid – BEFORE you spend your time and energy on a response.

FY 23 Small Business Goals, Department of Health and Human Services

Small Business Categories Goal
Small Business 22%
Small Disadvantaged Business 13.08%
Women-Owned Small Business 5%
HUBZone Small Business 3%
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business 3%

Each agency has its own goals, negotiated annually with the Small Business Association.  For Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023), HHS proposes $127.3 billion in discretionary and $1.7 trillion in mandatory budget authority.  This is ONE agency of the federal government. ONE.  AGENCY.