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    Where can I find the definition of the following 3 terms and how do I explain the difference between the 3 terms? 1) Quality Assurance (QA) 2) Quality Control (QC) 3) Quality Surveillance (QS) While complimentary (if not intertwined), the 3 terms are different with slightly different aims. E.G., to the best of my knowledge a QC plan a Contractor generated and used plan while both the QA & QS are government plans. Any information or direction that you could provide will be appreciated.


    The FAR, DFARS or PGI does not contain definitions of these terms. However, it does list the actions that describe the governments performance of quality assurance at FAR 46.103 and 46.104, and the contractors responsibilites at FAR 46.105.   

    The American Society for Quality ( decribes quality assurance as an umbrella term covering all activities and responsibilites of the quality system, while quality control is a subset of quality assurance.

      Quality assurance can be defined as "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled." The confidence provided by quality assurance is twofold—internally to management and externally to customers, government agencies, regulators, certifiers, and third parties. An alternate definition is "all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality." 

    "Quality control" can be defined as "part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements." While quality assurance relates to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control is more the inspection aspect of quality management. 

    "Quality surveillance" is a government term similar to quality control. A  government quality assurance surveillance plan, for example, identifies the work needing surveillance, and the method of surveillance, or inspection (FAR 46.401(a).   

    The many different types of inspections (i.e. pre-production inspection) and inspection methods (i.e. visual, x-ray, ultrasonic, etc)  can be found with a google search for "methods of inspection".

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