The definitions in this glossary are simplified. Some are GSA-specific in their usage. None of the definitions take precedence over laws, legislation, regulations, contracts, or specific interpretations or rulings.
This glossary defines many commonly used terms and initialisms but isn’t a full list. To request changes to terms on this list, or to suggest new terms be added, email email@example.com.
A GSA program to carry out projects that relate to how technology can improve the public's experience with the government. Federal employee suggest projects, which GSA manages and staffs to turn the best ideas into the best government products and services — funded with fewer taxpayer dollars.
An SBA program that helps provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities that meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a small business.
- Not already have participated in the 8(a) program.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
- Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $750,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $350,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone with $6 million or less in assets.
- Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.
- Have all its principals demonstrate good character.
- Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.
See Title 13 Part 124 of the Code of Federal Regulations for more information.
In federally owned and leased locations, an agency’s rent covers the cost of core and shell (a building’s structure and common space amenities), and includes an allowance for tenant improvements to build out a space that meets their needs.
- Artificial intelligence.
- Distributed ledger technology.
- Robotic process automation.
- Other types of emerging technologies.
It provides best-value IT solutions to federal agencies, while strengthening chances in federal contracting for small businesses through subcontracting.
A dedicated, flexible fuel, or dual-fuel vehicle designed to operate on at least one alternative fuel.
An agreement established by a government buyer with a Schedule contractor to fill repetitive needs for supplies or services.
Types of funds to use on specific expenses.
The work done to make a structure or system ready for use or to bring a construction or development project to a completed state.
Common areas of government spending to include:
- Facilities and construction.
- Professional services.
- Industrial products and services.
- Office management.
- Human capital.
- Security and protection.
- Transportation and logistics.
Our Acquisition Gateway has annual spend data of these categories.
The business practice of buying common goods and services as an enterprise to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver more value and savings from the government's acquisition programs.
Negotiated firm-fixed pricing on airline seats for official government travel. The locked-in ticket prices for the fiscal year save federal agencies time and money. Federal employees enjoy flexibility to change their plans without incurring penalties or additional costs. All negotiated rates have:
- Flexibility to book one-way, multi-leg, and round-trip tickets.
- Lenient refund policies.
- Ability to adjust or cancel flights at no additional cost.
- Unrestricted time limits on ticketing
- No advance purchase requirements.
- No blackout periods.
Use the CPP search tool to find current fares.
The initiative established under Presidential Policy Directive 40 that ensures that federal government departments and agencies are able to continue operation of their essential functions under a broad range of circumstances including all-hazard emergencies as well as natural, man-made, and technological threats and national security emergencies.
An employee who negotiates and awards contracts with vendors and who has the sole authority to change, alter or modify a contract.
A space where individuals work independently or co-work collaboratively in a shared office. The work environment is similar to a typical office, usually inclusive of office equipment and amenities. Typical features of co-working facilities include work spaces, wireless internet, communal printer/copier/fax, shared kitchens, restrooms and open seating areas. May also be referred to as a “shared office.”
A system that is bought from a commercial vendor to solve a particular problem, as opposed to one that a vendor custom builds.
An employee whose duties are to develop proper requirements and ensure contractors meet the commitments during contract administration, including the timeliness and delivery of quality goods and services as required by the contract.
The process of handling real property that is surplus to the federal government's needs. Federal law mandates the disposal process, which has these major steps (although not every property goes through every step):
- Reporting the property as excess.
- Federal transfer.
- Surplus property.
- Homeless conveyance.
- Public benefit conveyance.
- Negotiated sale to state or local government.
- Public sale.
An online tool at ebuy.gsa.gov designed to facilitate requests for submission of quotations for a wide range of commercial supplies and services under technology contracts and GSA Schedules.
An unobstructed path to leave buildings, structures, and spaces.
Also called electric vehicle chargers, this includes EV charge cords, charge stands, attachment plugs, vehicle connectors, and protection, which provide for the safe transfer of energy between the electric utility power and the electric vehicle.
A vehicle that is powered by an electric motor drawing current from rechargeable storage batteries or other portable electrical energy storage devices, as defined by 10 C.F.R. § 474.2. It includes a battery electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, a fuel-cell electric vehicle, etc.
A geometrical drawing that depicts one vertical plane of an object or structure; a particular side of a building.
A system at eoffer.gsa.gov that vendors can use to post their offers and modify them.
A designation a federal agency makes when it no longer needs a property to carry out its program responsibilities. The designation is achieved by completing and submitting Standard Form 118 Report of Excess Real Property. Learn more about our disposal process.
Official documents, numbered consecutively, through which the president of the United States manages the operations of the federal government.
The front of a building or any face of a building given special architectural treatment.
The primary regulation for federal agencies to use when buying supplies and services with funds from Congress.
Use acquisition.gov to browse FAR parts or subparts or download the full FAR in various formats.
A GSA business line that helps federal agency customers buy products and services.
A federal agency of the Department of Transportation responsible for a safe and efficient aerospace system. Visit faa.gov for more.
A federal agency of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for helping people before, during and after disasters. Visit fema.gov for more.
A federal agency of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for protecting U.S. Government critical infrastructure, services and people. Visit dhs.gov/federal-protective-service for more.
The travel and relocation policy for all federal civilian employees and others authorized to travel at government expense.
A program that promotes the adoption of secure cloud services across the federal government by providing a standardized approach to security and risk assessment.
Our fire protection and life safety program provides:
- A safe and healthful workplace.
- Uninterrupted performance of essential services.
- Ways to limit federal government losses.
Our facilities standards, P100, establish design standards and performance criteria for our Public Buildings Service.
A GSA business line that provides safe, reliable, low-cost vehicle solutions for federal agency customers and eligible entities. Offerings include:
- Vehicle purchasing, leasing and short-term rentals.
- Vehicle disposal.
- Maintenance control and accident management.
- Loss prevention and fuel services.
- A fleet management system with detailed, accurate data.
A charge card for U.S. government personnel to use when paying for fuel and maintenance of GSA Fleet vehicles. Find out where the Fleet card is accepted, how to use it and more.
The federal program responsible for upholding the public's right to access records from federal agencies that are not exempt from disclosure. Make a request at foia.gov.
A Department of Homeland Security program that allows members to use expedited lanes at U.S. airports and when crossing international borders by air, land and sea.
A vehicle used to perform an agency’s mission(s), as authorized by the agency.
A charge card for certain U.S. Government employees to use when buying mission-related supplies or services using simplified acquisition procedures, when applicable, and when the total cost does not exceed micro-purchase thresholds.
A charge card for U.S. government personnel to use when paying for reimburseable expenses while on official travel. Visit smartpay.gsa.gov for more.
A pre-competed, multiple-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract that agencies can use to buy total IT solutions more efficiently and economically.
A ceremony marking the official start of a new construction project, typically involving driving shovels into ground at the site.
An online shopping and ordering system at gsaadvantage.gov that provides access for federal government employees and in some cases, state and local entities, to purchase from thousands of contractors offering millions of supplies and services.
An online auction site at gsaauctions.gov that allows the general public to bid on and buy excess federal personal property assets such as:
- Office equipment.
- Scientific equipment.
- Heavy machinery.
An SBA program that gives preferential consideration for certain government contracts to business that meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a small business.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe.
- Have its principal office located in a HUBZone.
- Have at least 35 percent of its employees live in a HUBZone.
See Title 13 Part 126 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations for more information.
GSA first considers transferring real property as a homeless conveyance if the real property is suitable for homeless use, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and before considering any other public benefit conveyance.
A type of contract when the quantity of supplies or services, above a specified minimum, the government will require is not known. IDIQs help streamline the contract process and speed service delivery.
A fee paid by businesses who are awarded contracts under Schedules to cover GSA’s cost of operating the program. The fee is a fixed percentage of reported sales under GSA Schedule contracts that contractors pay within 30 calendar days following the completion of each quarter.
A written agreement entered into between two federal agencies, or major organizational units within an agency, which specifies the goods to be furnished or tasks to be accomplished by one agency (the servicing agency) in support of the other (the requesting agency).
A federal agency of the Department of the Treasury responsible for tax administration. Visit irs.gov for more.
A document used to record the rationale for allowing a contracting action without full and open competition.
A facility, also known as a border station, that provides controlled entry into or departure from the United States for persons or materials. It houses the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal inspection agencies responsible for the enforcement of federal laws related to entering into or departing from the U.S.
A third-party rating system that certifies globally recognized standards for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings and neighborhoods. Learn how LEED works.
An employee who is responsible for preparing, negotiating, awarding and monitoring compliance of lease agreements.
Criteria used to select the technically acceptable proposal with the lowest evaluated price. Solicitations must specify that award will be made on the basis of the lowest evaluated price of proposals meeting or exceeding the acceptability standards for non-cost factors.
A written conditional agreement between GSA and other entities that establishes who is responsible for which obligations.
A written non-binding agreement between the GSA and other entities to document lines of authority or responsibility or to clarify cooperative procedures.
The rate of reimbursement for driving a privately owned vehicle when your agency authorizes it. Current rates are at gsa.gov/mileage.
Long-term governmentwide contracts with commercial firms providing federal, state, and local government buyers access to more than 11 million commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. Also called schedules or federal supply schedules.
An offering of innovative IT products, services, and solutions at the best prices. MAS IT is also known as IT Schedule 70.
A GSA region that serves federal agency customers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
A federal agency of the Department of Commerce responsible for understanding and predicting changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, sharing that knowledge and information with others, and conserving and managing coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.
A federal agency of the Department of Interior responsible for taking care of national parks, and natural and cultural resources. Visit nps.gov for more.
A sale of real property with a state or local government at appraised fair market value where the property will be used for another public purpose.
The standard federal agencies use to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
A GSA office that delivers innovative solutions for GSA’s administrative, workplace, and information management needs.
A family of seven separate governmentwide multiple award, IDIQ contracts for program management, management consulting, logistics, engineering, scientific and financial services.
A formal, signed agreement between GSA's Public Buildings Service and a federal agency for a specific space assignment.
A set of procedures to protect life and property in federally occupied space under defined emergency conditions.
A GSA office that administers five programs related to federal civil rights laws and regulations:
- Equal employment opportunity.
- Affirmative employment.
- Nondiscrimination in federally conducted programs and activities.
- Environmental justice.
- Nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs and activities.
OCR also administers the appeals process for administrative grievances GSA employees file.
A GSA office that:
- Maintains agency liaison with congress.
- Prepares and coordinates the GSA annual legislative program.
- Communicates the GSA legislative program to OMB, congress, and other interested parties
- Works closely with OMB in the coordination and clearance of all proposed legislation impacting GSA.
A GSA office that liaises between the Federal Acquisition Service and federal agency customers.
A GSA office that works with internal clients to enhance relationships with customers, industry partners, and stakeholders by aligning operations to customer needs.
A GSA office that provides legal advice and representation to GSA officials while ensuring implementation of GSA's statutory responsibilities (with exception of certain legal activities of the Office of Inspector General and the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals).
A GSA office that ensures fair, efficient, cost-effective management practices across the federal government by creating and updating policies regarding:
- Acquisition management.
- Personal and real property management.
- Health, environment and work/life maintenance.
- Travel and transportation.
- Regulatory information.
- Use of federal advisory committees.
A GSA office that delivers comprehensive human resources services and solutions to GSA and its employees. OHRM’s primary focus is to work with GSA services and staff offices to attract, motivate, develop, retain, and reward employees to maintain and enhance a mission-ready workforce.
A federal agency responsible for assisting the president in meeting policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency's statutory responsibilities. Visit omb.gov for more.
A GSA office responsible for:
- Security (physical, personnel, and industrial).
- HSPD-12 credentialing.
- Emergency management.
- Contingency and continuity planning.
A federal agency responsible for directing human resources and employee management services, administering retirement benefits, managing healthcare and insurance programs, overseeing merit-based and inclusive hiring into the civil service, and providing a secure employment process. Visit opm.gov for more.
A GSA office that monitors and implements small business policies and supports Small Business Administration programs. OSDBU works with advocacy groups, chambers of commerce and small business coalitions to showcase small business capabilities and bring small businesses to the forefront of federal procurement opportunities.
A GSA office responsible for internal and external mass communication needs, which focuses on using communication to help the agency meet its mission and business goals.
A GSA office that provides enterprise-wide budget, financial management, financial analysis, robotics, performance management, and strategic planning services to GSA business lines and staff offices.
A GSA office that provides GSA staff with ever-evolving technology to improve capabilities, productivity, mobility, agility, and cost savings. GSA IT solutions include:
- Mission-supporting applications.
- Laptops and mobile devices.
- Collaborative cloud-based software.
- Technical support.
An independent unit of GSA responsible for promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness and detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and mismanagement in GSA programs and operations.
Services performed under a contract with a federal agency that include:
- Cemetery maintenance.
- Electrical systems and energy management control systems.
- Elevator inspection and maintenance.
- Energy management and audit services.
- Fire alarm and fire suppression system maintenance.
- Landscaping and snow removal.
- Marine vessel maintenance and repair services.
- Pest control.
- Plumbing or pipe fitting.
- Refrigeration or heating, cooling, and air conditioning.
- Smart buildings.
Official verification of someone's origin, identity, and nationality. A U.S. passport is required of U.S. citizens for international travel and reentry into the United States. There are three types of passports: diplomatic, official, and regular. A government official may have at the same time a valid regular passport and a valid official or diplomatic passport. Use GSA Form 2083 to begin a request for an official passport.
The per day rates for the lower 48 continental United States, which federal employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred while on official travel. Per diem includes three allowances:
- A rate for lodging.
- A rate for meals.
- A rate for incidental expenses.
An identification card that allows credentialed government personal to access facilities, computers, or information systems. May also be referred to as HSPD-12 card, LincPass, Smart Card, or CAC.
Furniture and equipment such as appliances, wall hangings, technological devices, and the relocation expenses for such property.
Equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full-body suits.
You should only drive a privately owned vehicle for official travel after your agency evaluates the use of:
- A common carrier.
- A government-furnished vehicle.
- A rental car.
When your agency has determined a POV to be the most advantageous method of transportation, you are authorized reimbursement for mileage and some additional allowances (parking, bridge, road and tunnel fees, etc.).
An organization that typically helps businesses for free with selling their goods and services by successfully competing for contracts with federal, state, and local governments.
Approvals from GSA's congressional authorizing committees, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for proposed capital and leasing projects that require funding over an annually established threshold.
Substantially discounted real property (up to 100% reduction in fair market value) if it is to be used for a specific public use.
An offer the U.S. Government makes to buy supplies or services using simplified acquisition procedures.
A GSA business line that acquires and maintains real estate for the federal government.
A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers of congress and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
A plan with measures that the government uses to monitor contractor performance.
A senior executive in GSA regional offices who represents a region at special events and serves as a liaison to congressional, intergovernmental and other stakeholders. At GSA, the regional administrator also makes decisions about GSA's operating status in the region.
A senior executive in GSA regional offices who is responsible for overseeing the regional budget and employees of Public Buildings Service or Federal Acquisition Service.
The building where a GSA region is headquartered.
Formal agreements between GSA and a federal agency customer where GSA agrees to provide goods, services, or both, and the federal agency agrees to reimburse GSA's direct and indirect costs. The customer portal for RWA information is called eRETA at extportal.pbs.gsa.gov.
To restore space or a facility to be more modern or in better condition or function.
A document used in negotiated procurements to communicate government requirements to prospective contractors (firms holding schedule contracts) and to solicit proposals (offers) from them.
A document used to communicate government requirements, but which do not solicit binding offers. Quotations submitted in response are not offers. The schedule order is the offer, and then the contractor can do something to show acceptance, like ordering supplies or contacting subcontractors.
To add features or functions to space beyond what it had at the start. Also called fit-out.
Long-term governmentwide contracts with commercial firms providing federal, state, and local government buyers access to more than 11 million commercial products and services at volume discount pricing. Also called multiple award schedule or federal supply schedules. Find out more about GSA Schedule.
A law that requires federal agencies to give disabled employees and members of the public access to their information and communication technology that is comparable to the access available to others, unless doing so would cause an undue burden on the agency.
An SBA program that gives preferential consideration for certain government contracts to business that meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a small business.
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.
- Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.
- Eligible veterans must have a service-connected disability.
See Title 13 Part 125 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations for more information.
A Small Business Administration designation for businesses that meet size standards set for each NAICS code. Most manufacturing companies with 500 employees or fewer, and most non-manufacturing businesses with average annual receipts under $7.5 million, will qualify as a small business.
See Title 13 Part 121.201 of the Code of Federal Regulations for more information.
A federal agency responsible for helping Americans start, build, and grow businesses. Visit sba.gov for more.
A federal agency responsible for delivering financial support to retired and disabled people or their surviving family member, and for ensuring the safety and security of social security numbers and related information. Visit ssa.gov for more.
The basis for the lease negotiation process, which becomes part of the lease. SFOs include the information necessary to enable prospective offerors to prepare proposals. See SFO minimum requirements.
Specific supply and service subcategories within schedules. For the Information Technology Category, a SIN might be new equipment or cloud services.
An extension of the public spaces in a building, including public restrooms, equipment and maintenance space, locker rooms, custodial storage, security and food service areas.
When no federal agencies need real property, it is determined to be surplus and may be made available for other uses through public benefit conveyances, including homeless use, negotiated sales, or public sales, based on GSA's determination of the property's highest and best use.
A national policy committing to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.
An online system at sam.gov, which the U.S. Government uses to consolidate acquisition and award systems for use by contractors wishing to do business with the federal government. Formerly known as FBO.gov, all contracting opportunities valued over $25,000 are posted at sam.gov.
A contract for services that does not procure or specify a firm quantity of services (other than a minimum or maximum quantity). A task order has flexibility in both quantities and scheduling and can be executed after specific requirements materialize.
When you use a government purchase card, such as the "GSA SmartPay" travel card for business travel, your lodging and rental car costs may be exempt from state sales tax. Individually billed account travel cards are not tax exempt in all states. Search for exemption status, forms and important information.
An entity within our Federal Acquisition Service responsible for helping federal agencies transform their use of technology.
Federal government authorization for federal employees and military service members (and some other individuals) to incur expenses while traveling on official business, which the agency pays for.
The finishes and fixtures federal agency tenants select that take a space from a shell condition to a finished, usable condition and compliant with all applicable building codes and standards.
A statute that applies to all Schedule contracts, unless otherwise stated in the solicitation or contract, which requires contractors to sell to the U.S. Government only products that are manufactured or “substantially transformed” in the U.S. or a TAA-designated country.
A choice for vendors to report transactional data — information generated when the government purchases goods or services from a vendor — to help us make federal government buying more effective.
A unique number required to do business with the federal government.
A federal agency of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for ensuring the nation's maritime safety, security and stewardship. Visit uscg.mil for more.
A federal department responsible for providing leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management. Visit usda.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for energy, environmental and nuclear challenges. Visit energy.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for enhancing and protecting the health and well-being of all Americans. Visit hhs.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for securing the nation from threats. Visit dhs.gov for more.
A federal agency responsible for creating strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality, affordable homes for all. Visit hud.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for natural and cultural resources. Visit doi.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for enforcing the law and protecting the U.S.'s legal interests. Visit justice.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for the welfare of workers, job seekers, and retirees. Visit dol.gov for more.
A federal department responsible for ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system. Visit transportation.gov for more.
A federal agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment. Visit epa.gov for more.
A federal agency that provides centralized procurement for the federal government. GSA's mission is to deliver value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology, and other mission-support services across government.
A federal congressional agency responsible for examining how taxpayer dollars are spent and helping the government save money and work more efficiently. Visit gao.gov for more.
An A-Z index of contact information for U.S. Government departments and agencies including websites, emails, phone numbers, addresses, and more is at usa.gov/federal-agencies.
A federal agency of the Department of Justice responsible for:
- Protecting the federal judiciary.
- Apprehending federal fugitives.
- Managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities.
- Housing and transporting federal prisoners
- Operating the Witness Security Program.
Visit usmarshals.gov for more.
The measured area an occupant uses plus building amenity areas. It does not include building service areas.
An indicator of how efficiently an a federal agency is currently using space, it is traditionally calculated by dividing the usable square feet of the space, by the number of personnel who occupy the space.
An online site at vsc.gsa.gov for prospective and current multiple award schedule contractors to do one-stop-shopping of key resources.
A federal agency responsible for providing veterans the benefits and services they have earned. Visit va.gov for more.
A governmentwide acquisition contract exclusively for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses to sell IT services such as:
- Data management.
- Information and communications technology.
- IT operations and maintenance.
- IT security.
- Software development.
- Systems design.
- New and emerging technologies.
The amount of solid waste, such as trash or garbage, construction and demolition waste, and hazardous waste, that is reused, recycled or composted instead of being put in a landfill or burned.
A GSA program designed to promote recycling and reuse of solid waste.
The physical space federal agencies use to carry out their mission.
Vehicles that, when operating, produce zero tailpipe exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) or greenhouse gas. These include battery and fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles that are capable of operating on gas and electricity. They also may be called all-electric vehicles.