Doing Business with Department of State
A one-stop-shop for all business resources
To achieve our Acquisition Experience (Acq-X) vision of delivering flexible solutions through a responsive and knowledgeable workforce, it is paramount for the Department of State to foster strong relationships with our industry partners. In short – we cannot achieve this vision without you. Our Industry Liaison Program and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization aim to provide you with an easy and efficient process to learn about our strategic goals, needs, and most importantly – how we can partner with you in the future.
Are you a Small Business?
Here are 10 Steps to Start Doing Business with the U.S. Department of State provided by the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
- Define Your Product or Service
- Register Your Business
- Identify Your Target Market / Customer
- Determine which Bureau(s) or Office(s) buy the services and products you provide by reviewing the List of State Department Bureaus and Offices: https://www.state.gov
- Past Procurements: www.sam.gov or www.usaspending.gov
- Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) Procurement Forecast
- Current and Upcoming Opportunities: www.sam.gov
- DOS Short-Term upcoming opportunities / OSDBU Reviews
- Understand the State Department Procurement Rules
- Create a Consistent, Solid Market Presence
- Develop a capabilities statement that clearly defines your offerings, differentiators, customers, and lists your set-asides (if any) and contact information
- Invest in a professional presence with a website and business cards that speak to the government market by demonstrating your knowledge of the market, the challenges, and your solution-oriented approach
- Obtain Necessary Security Clearances
- Most services contracts will require successful offerors to possess security clearances due to the nature of the Department’s mission.
- Understand the requirements and process for obtaining a Facility Security Clearance for your business, and Personnel Security Clearances for employees that will be (1) performing key duties within your company, or (2) assigned to State Department contracts.
- Tap into Your Networks
- Attend networking events, matchmaking opportunities, industry days, and bidder conferences where your buyer agencies will have a presence.
- Participate in peer networks that have common missions, such as small business- focused events, as well as industry associations and customer-focused professional development & training conferences
- Market your product and service to your networks – which will include your small business peer networks, large contractors, and government agencies. Realize that relationships take years to build, requirements and budgets get formed through long-term processes, and plan for a strategic, iterative business development process rather than quick transactional engagements.
- Start by Subcontracting
- It is common for companies that are new to State Department to subcontract to current “primes” to gain experience with the mission, practices, and environment in performing at the State Department.
- Research current prime contractors and awarded programs (See Step 3) and identify opportunities where your company could bring value and resources to a current or future effort as part of a team. Reach out to the primes’ Small Business Liaison Officers (SBLOs) and/or Supplier Diversity professionals Page 4 of 11
- Some subcontracting opportunities are posted on SBA’s SUB Net • Explore forming Mentor-Protege (MPP) agreements when both partners see mutually beneficial strategic alignment; consider forming MPP Joint Ventures(JVs).
- Some subcontracting opportunities are posted on SBA’s SUB Net
- Explore forming Mentor-Protege (MPP) agreements when both partners see mutually beneficial strategic alignment; consider forming MPP Joint Ventures(JVs).
- Consider Contracting “Vehicles”
- Contract Vehicles” is a streamlined method the government uses to buy goods and services. Vehicles are centrally managed by a federal agency, which reduces acquisition administrative costs and creates time and resource efficiencies.
- Many State Department procurements are awarded through the GSA Federal Supply Schedules and other like NASA SEWP, NIH CIO-SP3, Army ITES2, GSA, GSA 8aSTARS, NIH NITAAC
- Those competitions are only open to companies that have been awarded contracts under the requisite GWACs. If you company is not a contract-holder, teaming/subcontracting is a viable strategy to obtain access to a preferred vehicle
- Strategically Set Aside Set-Asides
- The Small Business Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulation mandate that federal agencies set aside work for small and disadvantaged businesses through the Small Business, WOSB, HUBZone, SDVOSB, and 8(a) Programs.
- Identify which you may qualify for, to gain additional opportunities to bid in limited competition environments.
- Keep in mind that the purpose of any federal agency is to carry out its Mission. Therefore, set aside status alone is insufficient in winning a contract – technical competence, understanding of requirement, industry experience, and ability to perform the technical and business functions are all essential elements of a successful bidder.
- Facility Security Clearances (FCL) Frequently Asked Questions
- Office of the Procurement Executive (OPE)
- Brochure: Doing Business with the U.S. Department of State (Accessible) [233 KB]
- Brochure: Doing Business with the U.S. Department of State [1 MB]
- Office of Global Partnerships
- Doing Business Abroad
- Doing Business With U.S. Embassies & Consulates Around the World
- Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts
Need help or information regarding the contracting process with Department of State and OSDBU?
Check out the following links that will help you stay up to date and keep you informed.
As the Bureau of Administration, Office of the Procurement Executive (A/OPE) continues modernization, we have recently published the Department of State Acquisition Priorities.
These five overarching focus areas represent the most pressing issues requiring dedicated emphasis in our pursuit of having the best Acquisition Program for the Department. A successful Acquisition Program equates to mission success for everyone, and we are committed to elevating our line of business to meet the unique service needs of our customers.
We look forward to sharing more about the things we are doing in A/OPE to transform our operating model and organizational structure, in conjunction with our strategic framework, and how they align to these priorities. We also welcome the opportunity to discuss ideas about how we can collaborate to elevate the Acquisition Experience for Department of State customers, practitioners, and stakeholders that all have a vested interest in the business of government and how it impacts foreign policy outcomes.
General inquiries and messages to OPE may be submitted using the email below. Please visit the following pages, which provide information on common inquiries.
View our Work with US page for information on how to partner with OPE.
Visit our Resources page to learn about how to utilize opportunities with OPE.
Visit our Business Forecast page to learn about yearly contractor spend data with OPE.
Office of the Procurement Executive
1200 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209
U.S. Department of State
OSDBU, SA-6, Room L500
Washington, DC 20522
Phone: (703) 875-6822
Did you know that the Department of State met our Small Business Goals since 2010 and achieved an “A” grade on the SBA Federal Scorecard.
Types of Awards
Did you know that the Department of State awards $12B worth of awards each year? In FY22, Department of State awarded $3B to small businesses.
Top 5 most awarded NAICS codes in FY22 were (236220) Commercial and Institutional Building Construction, (928120) International Affairs, and (561612) Security Guards and Patrol Services, (541512) Computer Systems Design Services, (541330) Engineering Services.
Did you know that we host a series of events including Industry Days? Learn more about upcoming events.