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Department of Defense Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Production, Coordination, and Optimization Center for Acquisition and Program Management Fort Belvoir, Virginia

The DAU Glossary, also referred to as the Glossary of Defense Acquisition Acronyms and Terms, reflects most acronyms, abbreviations, and terms commonly used in the systems acquisition process within the Department of Defense (DoD) and defense industries. It focuses on terms with generic DoD application but also includes some Service-unique terms. While the glossary identifies and highlights many terms, it is not all-inclusive, particularly regarding the military Services, defense agencies and other organizationally unique terms. The Glossary contains a listing of common abbreviations, acronyms and definitions of terms used throughout the DoD acquisition community, including terms that have commonality between U.S. and Allied acquisition programs. The Glossary is for use by students of DAU, and other working on defense acquisition matters, including congressional staffs, Pentagon and other headquarters (HQ) staffs, program managers and requirements managers of the DoD, and defense contractors.

Glossary Criteria

To improve communications and mutual understanding through the standardization of terminology, the following identifies guidance for inclusion as well as criteria for definition development in the DAU Glossary:

  1. Follows established procedures outlined herein 
  2. Reflects terminology used throughout the DoD acquisition community
  3. Broad DoD acquisition applicability
  4. Terms are limited to generic DoD acquisition processes
  5. Source document (e.g., DoDI 5000.75) must be approved (not a draft), identified, and cleared for public release 
  6. Written as a definition (stating a precise meaning of what it is) and not as a description (providing an account or image of how/why it works)
  7. Must appear and be used in the content of an approved document (not just in its glossary)
  8. Not self-defining (e.g., critical issue: An issue that is critical….)
  9. Approved term with similar definition does not exist
  10. Not Service- or functionality-specific unless commonly employed in DoD acquisition processes (technical terms may be included if/where policy deems term as significant to DoD acquisition and definitions are crafted using plain language)
  11. Not to consist of/contain shortened word forms (abbreviations, acronyms, or initialisms)
  12. Must be UNCLASSIFIED 
  13. Consistent with U.S. law, policies, regulations, and executive orders
  14. No separate cross-reference entries (e.g., bundling: As defined in Subpart 2.101 of the FAR)
  15. Merriam-Webster dictionary term is inadequate for DOD acquisition use
  16. Noun terms should be in singular form


Disclaimer The DAU Glossary provides an extensive list of acronyms, abbreviations and terms commonly used in the systems acquisition process within the DoD and defense industries. Many of the terms in the Glossary may be defined in other documents in a different fashion. For example, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contains upwards of 600 definitions of words and terms. Definitions that are applicable to all parts of the FAR are contained in FAR Part 2, Definitions of Words and Terms, which contains close to 250 definitions. Other words and terms may be defined for a particular part, subpart or section. Some terms, such as “United States”, have multiple definitions. “United States” is defined 11 different ways in the FAR, due to how it is defined in various pieces of legislation. Some of those definitions differ from the ones contained in the Glossary. The reader may want to use definitions that are provided in the Glossary in solicitations and resulting contracts to help clarify the government’s requirement. In doing so, keep in mind the FAR requires that all solicitations and contracts exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold incorporate the definitions in FAR 2.101 Definitions. See FAR 52.202-1, Definitions, for appropriate clause.


Preface We welcome your feedback on the DAU Glossary. Please email [email protected] regarding content issues. Include the address of the relevant page (or pages) in the body of the email for faster processing.