Government Contractors Association

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Governese Dictionary

Governese™ = The Language of Government Contracting™

Have you found yourself lost in the world of government contracting where the language used sounds like jibberish to you?  The procurement language a foreign one.  Every other word is an acronym or a jargon.  It is a foreign land for most commercial companies entering the government market.

On this page, we are actively building a library of government contracting words and acronyms to help you learn this new language.  Eventually, we hope to turn this page into a government contracting Dictionary called "Governese".

Government Contracting Words & Acronyms

  1. 8(a) Business Development Program

    The 8(a) Business Development Program is a formal certification program managed by the SBA.  It is an important resource for small businesses seeking business-development assistance.

    Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets.

    Some business owners believe that the 8(a) program is a minority's program.  This is not the case.  The 8(a) program was created to help socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses.  Most minority groups are presumed to be disadvantaged.

    To find out more:

  2. Acquisition Central is maintained by Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE), the

    E-Gov Initiative that aggregates federal acquisition content by providing one website for regulations, systems, resources, opportunities, and training.

    This website was designed to create an easily navigable resource to share the efforts of IAE as it works to achieve its vision of more efficient and transparent practices through better use of information, people, processes and technology. Users are encouraged to contact us to let us know if the website has proven useful and/or to offer comments on how we can improve.

    Find out more:

  3. CTA = Contractor Team Arrangements

    Contractor Team Arrangements is a form of Teaming or Partnership agreement used by GSA.

    Under a Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA), two or more GSA Schedule contractors work together to meet ordering activity needs. By complementing each other's capabilities, the team offers a total solution to the ordering activity’s requirement, providing a "win-win" situation for all parties.

    Benefits for Schedule Contractors and Ordering Activities

    By using a CTA, ordering activities can:

    • Procure a total solution rather than making separate buys for each part of a requirement

    • Satisfy socio-economic procurement goals

    By forming a CTA, GSA Schedule contractors can:

    • Compete for Schedule orders for which they wouldn’t otherwise qualify

    • Increase their market share and become more competitive

    • Reduce risk by sharing responsibilities with other team members

    • Focus on the supplies (products) and services that best match their company’s resources and strengths

    • Find greater success as a small and/or disadvantaged business

    CTAs versus Prime/Subcontractor Relationships

    The CTA differs from a partnership between a prime contractor and subcontractor in that all members of the team are equal parties to the contract.

    Elements of a Contractor Team Arrangement Agreement

    Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA) agreements are developed by the team members themselves and will vary from one CTA agreement to another. While not all-inclusive, the following CTA elements are areas that are typically of interest to the government. GSA strongly encourages the submission of the CTA agreement in response to a Request for Quotation (RFQ) so that an ordering activity may gain an understanding of how the arrangement will work, and may identify any areas of responsibility that may require clarification.

    Identification of Parties - The CTA agreement should always be put in writing and signed by each participating GSA Schedule contractor.

    Each member of the CTA should be identified by name, address, GSA Schedule contract number, telephone number, and Point of Contact (POC). The CTA agreement should also state the name, identity, and POC for the team lead.

    The name and address of the government contracting agency should be included and the primary points of contact at the government for specific needs should be identified.

    The CTA agreement should state that it is solely between the team members and cannot conflict with the terms and conditions of each team member's GSA Schedule contract.

    Specific Team Activities - The CTA agreement should state the various types of activities that will be incorporated into the team arrangement and who is the primary party responsible for the particular activity.

    Duration of Arrangement - The duration of the team arrangement should be specified, including any options and how the options will work.

    Terms of Arrangement - The terms of the CTA should define the whole course of the project. The CTA agreement should specify the duration, the players, the responsibilities, and the limitations of the various players.

    Team Ordering Procedures - The CTA agreement should list the supplies/services and pricing, including any team lead fees, if applicable, and note that all prices charged to the government are at or below GSA Schedule contract prices.

    List of Open Market Items - The wide range of supplies and services offered by GSA Schedule contractors should make the need for open market items minimal. Should open market items be required, however, all such items must be clearly identified as "open market" items, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.402(f).

    Responsibilities of Team Lead - The CTA agreement should outline and specify the duties of the designated team lead at each phase of the project.

    Responsibilities of Team Members - The CTA agreement should specify and describe the individual duties of the team members.

    Pricing and Costs - The CTA agreement should specify unit prices or hourly rates and how pricing is calculated. If there is a project management fee divided within the team, it should be specified. If there are any award or incentive fees, the CTA agreement should explain how they will be divided within the team.

    Independent Contractors - The CTA agreement should state that all team members remain independent contractors, responsible for their own employees.

    Delivery Responsibility - The CTA agreement should state whether the team lead or each team member is responsible for a particular part of the project, so that delivery responsibility is clearly established.

    Invoicing and Payment - The CTA agreement should designate who is responsible for invoicing and payment. While the team lead may submit an invoice on behalf of all team members, GSA recommends that payment be made to each team member. GSA recognizes, however, that there may be instances where it is advantageous to craft the CTA agreement so that payment is made to the team lead who, in turn, pays each team member. Under such circumstances, the CTA agreement should clearly indicate that all team members agree to this method of payment. The CTA agreement should also acknowledge that any dispute involving the distribution of payment between the team lead and the team members will be resolved by the team members, without any involvement by the government.

    Reporting of Sales and Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) Payment Responsibility - The CTA agreement should specify that each contractor is responsible for reporting its own sales under its Schedule contract and paying the related IFF to GSA. Each team member will track sales all the way through the system by contract number to respond to the IFF reporting requirements.

    Warranties - The CTA agreement should designate who is responsible for resolving such warranty issues as who should the government contact and when; who will come in and correct the problem; and how will compensation be made within the team.

    Liabilities - The CTA agreement should address each team member's responsibilities and performance requirements so that liability is clearly established.

    Confidential Information - The CTA agreement should identify any proprietary information and specify how such information will be handled.

    Replacement of Team Members - The CTA agreement should address the circumstances and procedures for replacement of team members, including the team lead. The CTA agreement should also state that the team shall obtain the approval of the government prior to replacing any team members.

    Legal Relationship - The CTA agreement should not create a joint venture or separate subsidiary. 

    For more info:

  4. EDWOSB = Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business

    The EDWOSB program is a new certification for woman businesses supported by the SBA.  The EDWOSB certification allows for women businesses to compete on set-aside projects at the Federal level on 83 dfferent NAICS.

    Find out more:

  5. Factoring

    Factoring is the process of using account receivables to leverage advance money from a financial institution. There are some fees associated with this transaction.  It should not be your first option because the points can chip into your profit margins.

    However, factoring can be a great solution to cash flow issues.  For example, after you performed work on a government project, you have to pay your suppliers, employees and other overhead.  It may take 30 to 45 days for the government to pay you.  In this situation, you may use the invoiced work or account receivables as leverage to receive money immediately. 

    Find out more:

  6. GCA = Government Contractors Association

    GCA = Government Contractors Association

    Government Contractors Association is one of a few national association serving the government contracting industry.

    GCA has two types of memberships:

    1) Website Membership (FREE)

    You may join the website membership and have access to certain information on the website.  As a member of the GCA website, you are not a GCA association member, just a website member.

    2) Association Membership (annual dues)

    You may choose to join the GCA to receive a tremendous amount of benefits. 

    To see membership benefits and the cost to join: click here - Membership

  7. GWAC = Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts

    Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) is a GSA procurement tool which enables federal agencies to buy cost-effective, innovative solutions for information technology (IT) requirements.

    GWACs provide access to IT solutions such as systems design, software engineering, information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions. Small business set-aside GWACs also provide socioeconomic credit.

    For more info:

  8. HUBZone = Historically Underutilized Business Zones

    The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone. The company must also maintain a "principal office" in one of these specially designated areas.

    For more info:

  9. IDIQ = Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity

    IDIQ is a contracting acronym meaning Indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity. This is a Federal type of contract that provides for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of time.  Typical IDIQ contracts are for one year, plus 2 or more option years.

    The legal origin of IDIQ contracts is the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), section 16.501(a).

    Find out more here:

  10. MATOC = Multiple Award Task Order Contract

    A MATOC is a Multiple Award Task Order Contract  where the DOD agencies seek RFQ/RFP's from many contractors/vendors for construction services.  Multiple awardees will be chosen to provide services to the government within a pre-defined dollar amount.  Usually, this is a one year plus 2 or more option years.  The awardees constitute a pool of contractors who then compete for subsequent task orders. (There are some exceptions to this rule, whereby competition may be reduced or task orders issued non-competitively to one contract holder.) This type contract is discussed in FAR and DFARS Subparts 16.5 and 216.5, respectively (see 16.501-1 and 216.501-1 for definitions).

    A MATOC is form of IDIQ procurement.

    Find out more:

  11. Micro Purchases

    Micro Purchases are small dollar purchases and is a form of Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP).

    The Government-wide commercial purchase card is the preferred method to purchase and to pay for micro-purchases — supplies or services valued no more than $3,000 (see the earlier “Note” regarding possible changes to applicable thresholds). The following exceptions apply:

    $2,000 for construction projects subject to the Davis-Bacon Act

    $2,500 for acquisitions of services subject to the Service Contract Act

    For acquisitions of supplies or services that, as determined by the Agency Head, are to be used to support a contingency operation or to facilitate defense against or recovery from nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack (except for construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act) —

    $15,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, inside the U.S.;

    $30,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made outside the U.S.

    Micro-purchases may be awarded without soliciting competitive quotations if the contracting officer or designated official considers the price to be reasonable.

    For purchases exceeding the micro-purchase threshold but not exceeding the SAT, a Request for Quotation is used for soliciting competitive quotations. Once quotations are received and evaluated and the award decision is made, the Government issues a purchase order. Common forms used for purchase orders under SAP are the DD Form 1155 and Optional Form 347 (both entitled Order for Supplies or Services) and the Standard Form 1149 (Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items).

    For more info:

  12. SAP = Simplified Acquisition Procedures

    Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) are the methods prescribed in FAR Part 13 for purchasing supplies or services. They are designed for relatively simple Government requirements, and their use is subject to designated dollar thresholds. Examples of items commonly purchased using SAP include office supplies, computer software, and groundskeeping services.

    SAP projects are any procurement less than $150,000.

    Find out more:

  13. SATOC = Single Award Task Order Contract

    SATOC = Single Award Task Order Contract

    A purchasing mechanism used by DOD agencies as a form of solicitation requesting proposals from contractors / vendors. Only one awardee will be chosen.   The awardee then is the sole provider of services as tasks orders are issued.  SATOC's are usually awarded for multi years with a cap award amount.  

    SATOC is a form of IDIQ contract used for construction services in the DOD.  Unlike a MATOC, where multiple awardees are chosen, only one is chosen in a SATOC project.


    Solicitation Number: W912HN-11-R-0019

    Notice Type: Solicitation

    Synopsis: Added: Jun 03, 2011 4:17 pm

    Single Award Task Order Contract (SATOC) for General Construction and Design/Build Construction is intended to provide rapid response for Horizontal Construction: new construction, rehabilitation, maintenance or repair of situations relating, but not limited to, Airfield and Heliport pavements (including airport runways, taxiways, ramps aprons, helipads and adjacent stabilized areas), highways, streets, airport runways, concrete aprons, sidewalks, stamped concrete, brick or concrete pavers, storm drainage, sodding, detection loops, pedestrian bridges, parking lots, traffic lines and traffic markings, and site preparation of Government facilities.

    This acquisition is being offered for Small Business competition. The life of the basic contract is for a base period of three years with two one-year option periods or $14.5M, whichever occurs first. The Government will use a best value Performance Price Trade-off (PPT) evaluation process in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 15.101-1. The order limitation of task orders shall range between $500K - $3M. Task orders issued under this SATOC will be firm-fixed price.

    Description of work: Task orders placed under this SATOC may include Asphalt and Concrete Construction, Site Preparation, Incidental work and Miscellaneous Construction, i.e. rehabilitation and maintenance or repair of athletic fields and running tracks..

    Evaluation Criteria: The Government will use a Performance Price Trade-off (PPT) evaluation process in rendering the best value decision for award of this contract. For this solicitation and evaluation process, interested offerors will be required to submit performance and capability proposals in conjunction with a coefficient pricing schedule for review and consideration by the Government. The evaluation factors and their relative importance for this solicitation and evaluation process are as follows:

    Non-cost Factors: FACTOR 1: CORPORATE RELEVANT SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: This factor is equal in importance to Factor 2 and more important than Factor 3. FACTOR 2: PAST PERFORMANCE: This factor is equal in importance to Factor 1 and more important than Factor 3. FACTOR 3: DESIGN EXPERIENCE: This factor is the least important of all the factors.

  14. SAT = Simplified Acquisition Threshold

    The simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) is $150,000. The SAT is the threshold used for SAP contracts. The SAT can vary depending on the particular acquisition situation. For acquisitions of supplies or services for supporting a contingency operation or facilitating defense against or recovery from nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, the SAT is (i) $300,000 for contracts awarded and performed, or purchases made, inside the United States; and (ii) $1 million for contracts awarded and performed, or purchases made, outside the United States. In addition, there is a test program in effect that raises the threshold for use of SAP for commercial items to $6.5 million.

    For more info:

  15. Set-Aside

    A small business "set-aside” is the reserving of an acquisition exclusively for participation by small business concerns, as governed by FAR Part 19.

    There are different types of set-asides:

    • 8(a) Business Development
    • HUBZone
    • SDVOSB
    • ED/WOSB
    • Section 3
    • etc....
    The Federal government has the Rule of 23 which has a governmentwide goal of setting aside 23% of Federal spending toward small disadvantaged businesses.

    The Federal government also has a Rule of 35% which requires large prime contractors which win contracts over $650,000 to subcontract 35% of the amount to small businesses.  There are some exception to this rule.

  16. WOSB = Woman Owned Small Business

    The Woman Owned Small Business program is designed to support woman businesses in Federal contracting.  In fiscal year 2011, only 4.7% of Federal contracting dollars were awarded to WOSB as a whole.  The goal was 5%.  This was an improvement from 2009 when WOSB's only received 3.6% of the pie.

    On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration published a final rule effective February 4, 2011, aimed at expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible:

    • Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or
    • Economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs)

    For more info:

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