The definitions in this glossary are simplified. Some are GSA-specific in their usage. None of the definitions takes 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


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.

See a fact sheet about above standard TI [PDF - 219 KB].


An agreement established by a government buyer with a Schedule contractor to fill repetitive needs for supplies or services.

A type of fund for new construction expenses.

A type of fund to pay for rental of space expenses.

A type of fund to pay for repairs and alterations below the prospectus level.

A type of fund to pay for repairs and alterations above the prospectus level.

A type of fund to pay for operations except salaries, cleaning, utilities, etc.


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.

An employee who negotiates and awards contracts with vendors and who has the sole authority to change, alter or modify a 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 designed to facilitate requests for submission of quotations for a wide range of commercial supplies and services under technology contracts and GSA Schedules.

A geometrical drawing that depicts one vertical plane of an object or structure; a particular side of a building.


A GSA business line that helps federal agency customers buy products and services.

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.

A GSA business line that provides federal agency customers vehicle services like:

  • Vehicle acquisition and disposal. Maintenance control and accident management.
  • Fuel and loss prevention services.
  • Fleet management system with detailed, accurate data.


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 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 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 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.


A federal agency of the Department of the Treasury responsible for tax administration.


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 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

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.


A GSA region that serves federal agency customers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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 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 federal agency responsible for assisting the president in meeting policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency's statutory responsibilities.


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.

Furniture and equipment such as appliances, wall hangings, technological devices, and the relocation expenses for such property.

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.).

A GSA business line that acquires and maintains real estate for the federal government.


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.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

Specific supply and service subcategories within schedules. For the Information Technology Category, a SIN might be new equipment or cloud services.

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.

An online system at, 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, all contracting opportunities valued over $25,000 are posted at


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 GSA's Federal Acquisition Service responsible for helping federal agencies transform their use of technology.

A choice for vendors to report transactional data — information generated when the government purchases goods or services from a vendor — to GSA to help make federal government buying more effective.


A unique number for businesses and required in order to do business with the federal government. By April of 2022, GSA is expected to automatically assign entities registered in the System for Award Management a unique entity identifier.

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.


A federal agency responsible for providing veterans the benefits and services they have earned.

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.




Last Reviewed: 2021-10-20