Government Contracting Dictionary (GovCon from A – Z)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

A is for ATO, B is for BAFO, C is for Contract, D is for DFARs...

The Government Contracting industry has its own language. Talk with any federal contractor and they will rattle off seemingly random strings of letters without any additional context – all while expecting you to keep up.

We are notorious for our acronyms. We are addicted to our alphabet soup.

To make things even more complicated, our industry enjoys creating language confusion with our native tongue. We use terms and jargon that sound like something an outsider should be familiar with but we insiders know it has a particular and regimented meaning through the lens of U.S. Government Contracting.

In 1825 Noah Webster created the dictionary with the hope to standardize American speech. And in 2022 The Pulse has decided to do the same…but this time for Federal Government Contractors.

In this first edition, you will learn important term distinctions like...

Modification  Amendment
A change to an awarded contract is accomplished by a Modification which can be either unilateral or bilateral, depending on the substance. A change to a solicitation is accomplished by issuing an Amendment (which is unilateral from the government)
Type of contact in which multiple Government agencies align their needs and purchase a contract for goods and services. GWACs consolidate purchases as opposed to having each agency enter into an individual contract.  A contract issued by GSA (e.g., GSA Schedule Contract) or an agency granted authority by GSA where multiple awards are made. This is also the designation for any other indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract entered into with two or more sources pursuant to the same solicitation.
Type of solicitation used in negotiated acquisitions to communicate government requirements to prospective contractors and solicit proposals.  Type of solicitation used by the government to obtain information and quotations, but the responses are not considered offers. 
LPTA  Tradeoff
A method that is used when best value is expected to result from selection of the technically acceptable proposal with the lowest evaluated price. In this case, the evaluation team may simply start with the lowest price proposal, confirm it is technically acceptable, and make a selection decision. A method uses tradeoffs between cost or price and other factors (e.g., technical, past performance) to award to other than the lowest priced offerorthe  or other than the highest technically rated offeror. 
A method that requests scientific or research proposals from private firms and higher education concerning certain areas of interest to the Government. The proposals submitted by private firms may lead to contracts. A simplified acquisition method that Government agencies use to fill anticipated repetitive needs for supplies and services. BPA orders cannot exceed the simplified acquisition threshold of US$150,000.

In collaboration with ZYGOS Consulting, we are bringing you our first edition of the Federal Government Contracting Dictionary.

This dictionary provides frequently used industry terms and definitions, and is a good supplement to FAR Part 2: Definitions of Words and Terms. As this is our first edition we will be treating this as a living document that will be updated periodically. It is also important to note that some definitions are verbatim from their authoritative source, while others are more informal and intended to convey the “real world” interpretation and use of the term.

Webinar: The ABC's of GovCon

Join us on October 25th for a lighthearted Lunch and Learn session covering the ABC’s of GovCon.

Click here to register for free!

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