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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Section 01: Acquisition Program Profile


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The Department seeks qualified small, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and HUBZone-owned businesses to participate in the acquisition process in support of its mission. Major procurements include automated data processing distribution systems, worldwide diplomatic security support, narcotics eradication, communications equipment, and furnishings for embassies and consultants. Products and services also include:

  • Research and Development.  A small research and development program (less than $5 million annually) is conducted in support of such programs as physical security, operation of worldwide telecommunications networks and computer applications. Research and development is not a major component of the Department's acquisition program.
  • Services, Supplies and Equipment. There are ongoing requirements for the types of supplies, equipment, and services listed below. Many of these procurements are suitable for small business participating and some offer subcontracting opportunities.

               Telecommunications equipment for use worldwide.
               Computer software/hardware equipment, applications, and programming requirements.
               Security equipment and support services for the physical protection of diplomatic personnel and overseas posts.
               Maintenance and support services for domestic facilities.
              
Packing, moving and storage of household goods/privately-owned vehicles.
              
Administrative, technical and professional services.

Studies and Special Projects.  The Department commissions studies and special projects to examine a wide range of subjects in response to requests from Congress, recommendations by the General Accounting Office and the Office of the Inspector General or at the request of management. These studies are either performed by internal groups or contracted out. Unlike recurring services, it is difficult to plan or predict when there might be a need for these external studies.

Major Acquisition Activities. The centralized Office of Acquisition Management conducts all of the procurement activities. In addition, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations provides acquisition services in support of design, engineering, construction, renovation, and/or rehabilitation of U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Below are links for these activities.

  • Office of Acquisition Management (A/LM/AQM)
  • Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (M/OBO)

Congress has authorized funds to carry out diplomatic security construction, acquisitions and operations pursuant to the Department of State's Supplemental Diplomatic Security Program and Foreign Service Buildings Act. Information regarding these projects is released through FedBizOpps and other construction trade publications when the projects are ready to be designed, constructed or when the purchasing of government-furnished materials is required. Firms interested in performing embassy construction should direct their attention to Section 402 of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 which addresses preference for U.S. contractors, qualifications criteria and subcontracting limitations on diplomatic construction projects. In support of the mission of the OBO, firms interested in marketing their products such as bulletproof glass, closed-circuit security systems, intrusion detection devices, new or innovative technical security or electronic CM products which can be used to enhance security at embassies abroad, should contact the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Other Acquisition Activities. The offices listed below have limited purchasing authority, however, they may offer potential business opportunities. 

  • Office of Language Services - translation, interpreters, escorts and language support services.
  • Office of Overseas Schools - grants for overseas schools assistance activities.
  • Office of Foreign Missions - majority of purchases are host country sources ensuring reciprocity of treatment between U.S. missions overseas and foreign hosts, however, there is domestic purchasing for professional services and goods but it is limited.
  • Foreign Service Institute/Shultz Center - instructors, linguists, other academic and training specialists and services.
  • Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration - opportunities supporting worldwide refugee matters.
  • Bureau of International Organization Affairs - annual international conferences.
  • U.S. Mission to the United Nations - services and goods supporting the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Regional Procurement Support Offices (RPSO).The Regional Procurement Support Offices (RPSO) in Frankfurt, Germany and Fort Lauderdale, Florida assists post abroad with acquisitions from domestic and foreign sources including the military exchange system. RPSO Frankfurt is a sources of medical supplies for all U.S. diplomatic posts and the Peace Corps. RPSOs are not supply depots and do not maintain stock supplies. A joint RPSO Frankfurt/European Logistical Support Office (ELSO) project maintains a prepositioned stock of certain appliances, equipment and household furniture.

  • Regional Procurement Support Office Florida
  • Regional Procurement Support Office Frankfurt

Designated employees at embassies and consulates have Certificates of Appointment from the Office of the Procurement Executive which enables them to have limited warrant authority. These warrants authorizes the holder to obligate up to $100,000 and in some cases higher dollar amounts without further approval from the Procurement Executive. Although services are generally obtained from the local market, posts often purchase goods from U.S. firms either directly or from GSA schedules. Firms interested in marketing their products to U.S. posts abroad may send a line card and price lists or similar information to the General Services Officer (GSO).



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