Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois

Selling to the Federal Government

There is no one single government buying entity. There are many departments, agencies, and bureaus that comprise the federal government. There are literally thousands of buyers. The major purchasing agencies for the federal government are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the Veterans Administration (VA). We encourage you to speak with a procurement specialist OR small business specialist about federal government buying procedures for agencies you are interested in doing business with. Contact the PTAC office for guidance.

General Services Administration (GSA)

As the acquisition arm of the federal government, GSA plays a vital role in connecting the private sector with federal agencies fulfilling their business needs. GSA offers professional services, equipment, supplies, communications, and software from commercial businesses to government organizations and the military through acquisition solutions from its Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).

GSA also provides workplaces to the government by constructing, managing, and preserving federal buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real estate through its Public Buildings Service (PBS).

Find out more about products and services offered through FAS.

Find out more about building-related opportunities.

Understanding How GSA Buys
When commercial businesses sell goods and services to the federal government through GSA, different kinds of contracts are used for different purposes. The primary contract vehicle is the GSA Schedules, or Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), program.

Learn more about the Schedules and contracts used by GSA.

Where current contracts do not meet evolving government needs, GSA will seek new procurement vehicles. GSA will seek to promote competition in the marketplace, and strive to maintain outreach and support to small business. Companies who do not currently hold a GSA Schedule contract can still participate by seeking subcontracting opportunities with current contract holders.

Learn how to get started as a government contractor.




Department of Defense (DOD)

Resources you might find helpful can be found on DOD's Office of Small Business Programs websites. They have a great "how to" section with downloadable brochures.

Office of Small Business Programs can provide excellent resources for a business just getting started in selling to the DOD.

Navy Small Business Offices

Air Force Small Business Program Offices

Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) Program Offices

Army Small Business Offices

Additional Army Resources

Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI) is the site for Army contracting opportunities < $25,000

Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) provides engineering, environmental and construction services.

The Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) procures research & development, systems, repair parts and services for many areas, including:

Combat vehicles
Tactical vehicles & bridges
Construction and other support equipment
Watercraft
Railcars
Concept & research/development efforts
Fuel & water distribution systems
Small arms
Armaments
munitions
Artillery
Fire control systems
Chemical defense equipment
Logistics & general support
Base operation support
Depot maintenance

Finding DOD Business Opportunities with FedBizOpps (FBO)

Generally speaking, federal contractors and businesses interested in providing goods and services to the government must:

  1. Find available opportunities with the government relevant to their business.
  2. Make necessary preparations for bidding on a GSA contract.
  3. Submit an offer.

Businesses should first visit Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) or FedBizOpps, and register and to be notified of newly posted opportunities in their industries. FedBizOpps provides a comprehensive database of all major government solicitations, contract awards, subcontracting opportunities, surplus property sales, and foreign business opportunities with the federal government.

DOD Non-Appropriated Fund Purchases
Non-Appropriated Funds are generated by DOD military and civilian personnel and their dependents and used to augment funds appropriated by the Congress to provide a comprehensive, morale-building welfare, religious, educational and recreational program, designed to improve the well-being of military and civilian personnel and their dependents.   Small business program requirements do not apply to non-appropriated fund expenditures, small business owners and managers should not overlook these potential customers. Non-appropriated fund customers operate similar to non-profit organizations and include commissaries, exchanges, recreation and fitness centers, dining at officer/enlisted/civilian clubs, and barber/beauty services, just to name a few. For more information visit the following websites.


DOD's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is the Department of Defense's largest combat support agency, providing worldwide logistics support in both peacetime and wartime to America's Military Services as well as several civilian agencies and foreign countries. DLA's getting started site has helpful links for businesses. It is responsible for approximately 95% of the military services repair parts besides being responsible for nearly every consumable item used by U.S. Military forces worldwide. DLA supports the nation's warfighters with:

üMaritime & land weapons systems support/aviation support / energy / food / clothing /medical supplies / general & industrial supplies/ construction & barrier material

DLA stats
Items Managed:  nearly 5 million through nine supply chains
Fiscal Year 2012 projected revenue:  $42.5 billion
Requisitions per day:  average of 111,375
Contract actions per day:  average of 11,010
Number of weapon systems supported:  more than 2,210 

DLA Web Gateway - is a web application that provides access to major public DLA web sites. The DLA sites are sorted alphabetically, by category and organization, or via a keyword search.

The products DLA buys are demand driven and must fit a need as determined by their customers; the Military Services. DLA consolidates requirements by Supply Chain and procures items in sufficient quantities to meet customers' projected needs. Many of DLA's procured items are delivered directly from a commercial vendor; the remainder of the items are stored and distributed through a complex of worldwide depots. 

For a listing of the products DLA buys and which DLA Supply Chain buys it, click: Commodities sorted by Federal Supply Class or Commodities sorted by name

Quicklinks

DLA Acronyms

What is a NSN? A National Stock Number (NSN) is an official label applied an item that is repeatedly bought, stocked, sorted, issued and used through the federal supply stems. When an NSN is assigned to an item, data is assembled to describe the item, such as price, name, manufacturer's part number and physical/performance characteristics. NSN's are cataloged in the Federal Logistics Information System (FLIS). The Rock Valley PTAC can assist you in accessing FLIS reports on NSNs.

What is QPL? A QPL is a Qualification Part Search. The Qualification Part Search provides a means of searching qualification data of several specifications that DLA Land and Maritime-VQ manages.


DLA Energy
This agency manages all petroleum resources used by the Military.DLA Energy buys and sells deregulated electricity and natural gas to DOD and other federal agency customers, and is a leader in DOD's efforts to supply the military services with alternative fuel and renewable energy solutions.

DLA Land and Maritime
DLA Land and Maritime manages consumable repair parts for land-based and maritime weapon systems.
The DLA Land and Maritime relies heavily on a wide range of businesses capable of supporting our primary customer, the US military.

Viewing DLA Land and Maritime Solicitations
Solicitations estimated under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT), less than $100,000 are available electronically. The solicitations are in HTML format, they are available at DLA RFQs

  • Solicitations estimated over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT), greater than $100,000 are available electronically. The solicitations are in pdf format, they can be viewed at DLA Solicitations
  • No additional software capabilities are required.
  • If the solicitation is not available electronically, and under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (less than $100,000), check with the assigned buyer. If the buyer is not listed, please call the Business Counseling Center at (614) 692-3541.
  • If the solicitation is estimated over the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (greater than $100,000) and the solicitation is not available electronically, contact the Industry Coordination Office at (614) 692-1775 or e-mail DSCC.Indcoord@dla.mil
  • Other DLA Opportunities are available at Other Opportunities

DLA Land and Maritime Bidset Interface
The Bidset Interface allows Engineering Data Lists (EDLs) and digitized drawings for open DLA Land and Maritime procurements to be electronically retrieved by the public.

  • Drawings that are not in electronic format, are classified, or have restrictions on dissemination may be ordered by clicking on "Manual Request" at DLA Land and Maritime Bidset Interface.
  • DLA Land and Maritime Solicitations identified as having an associated (non-classified) drawing are identified by the following icon, immediately after the NSN field in the results set of any Custom Query.
  • The digitized drawings are in CALS RASTER format (MIL-PRF-28002C), so a CALS RASTER format viewer program is required to view the drawings.
  • Below are examples of products that can be used to view images downloaded from this site. There may be times when the drawing for an open solicitation is only an example list of what viewers are available. It in no means stresses any preferences to one viewer over another. Other drawing viewer products are available, many of which can be searched for and downloaded off the Internet.
    • JViewer
    • ImageR

How to Order DLA Land and Maritime Drawings
Drawings may be requested from the DLA Land and Maritime Technical Data Repository. Complete instructions are available at DLA Land and Maritime Bidset Interface.

Requirements for Internet Quoting
Electronic quoting on the DLA Land and Maritime Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) is mandatory for RFQs with "T" or "U" in the 9th position of the solicitation number, and optional for all other DLA Land and Maritime RFQs.

Contact the DLA Small Business Program at Land and Maritime
Office of Small Business Programs/Business Counseling Center


DLA Land Maritime
P. O. Box 3990
Columbus, OH   43218-3990

Phone(800)262-3272 or E-mail:  DSCC.bcc@dla.mil

DLA Troop Support
DLA Troop Support manages food, clothing and textiles, pharmaceutical, medical and surgical products, construction supplies and equipment, and support for humanitarian and disaster relief efforts at home and abroad.

DLA Aviation
DLA Aviation
manages consumable repair parts for aviation weapon systems and environmental products. DLA Aviation supports more than 1,300 major weapon systems as the military's primary source for more than 1.3 million repair parts and operating supply items. More than 444,000 of the items we manage are aviation parts, including spares for engines on fighters, bombers, cargo aircraft and helicopters; airframe and landing gear parts; flight safety equipment; and propeller systems.

DLA Aviation manages supply, storage and distribution operations alongside its military customers at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.; Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.; and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

DLA Aviation also manages depot-level reparable procurement operations at Robins, Tinker and Hill Air Force Bases; Navy Inventory Control Point Philadelphia; and Redstone Army Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

The aviation supply chain has personnel at over a dozen stateside sites directly supporting warfighters. DLA Aviation also operates the federal government's only industrial plant equipment facility at Navy Inventory Control Point, Mechanicsburg, PA.

DLA Aviation Office of Small Business Programs Contacts
Phone: (800) 227-3603
E-mail:  sbo.dscr@dla.mil


For DLA Purchases, register with DIBBS
DLA's Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) is a web-based application that provides the capability to search for, view, and submit secure quotes on Requests For Quotations (RFQs) for DLA items of supply.  DIBBS also allows users to search and view Request For Proposals (RFPs), Invitations For Bid (IFBs), Awards and other procurement information related to BSM.

It is the general policy of the Government that the small businesses be provided maximum practicable opportunities to compete for and participate in contracts and subcontracts consistent with efficient contract performance.

Current Business Opportunities
In addition to the DIBBS for business opportunities, DLA has been assigned procurement management and related support functions of all Class-IX Depot Level Repairable (DLRs). A DLR is a part that can be repaired a certain number of times rather than thrown away after use. Management of DLRs will be phased in over the next few years. A variety of long term procurement instruments are created to further improve support to the military so many of the procurement initiatives encompass total logistic support to the war fighter.

Sample Manufacturing Capability Survey




Veterans Administration (VA)

VA is one of the largest procurement and supply agencies of the federal government. Drugs, medical supplies and equipment, IT equipment and services, and other critical patient care items must be procured and distributed to VA healthcare facilities. The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs is one of service to more than 27 million veterans who have so unselfishly served their country.  To accomplish this mission, the products and services of industry are required by a nationwide system of hospitals, clinics, Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN), data processing centers, and National Cemeteries which require a broad spectrum of goods and services.  The VA purchases these goods and services on a national, regional, and local level.  So no matter how large or small your business is, VA is a potential customer.  Each facility purchases a majority of requirements for direct delivery through its local Acquisition office.  You are encouraged to contact each facility for inclusion in its procurement process. Access a directory for locations of all VA Medical and Regional Office Facilities and Cemeteries.

To learn more about what the VA buys and how they buy visit the Office of Acquisition and Logistics.

Access a Construction and Facilities Management forecasted VA projects.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization's goal is to help small and veteran-owned businesses contribute most effectively to the important mission of VA.They offer resources for small business start-ups, help small and veteran-owned businesses to enhance and expand, and facilitate conferences and opportunity showcases.




Homeland Security (DHS)

Resources for those interested in working with the Department of Homeland Security can be found on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website.You may also contact the DHS OSDBU small business advocates for assistance.