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What is an IAA?

Read Time 3 mins | Written by: Patrick Shields

Most will instantly recognize that this familiar acronym stands for Interagency Agreement (IAA). But have you noticed that this same acronym sometimes is used a bit differently? For example, FAR Subpart 17.5 addresses policies for a “Special Contracting Method” called “Interagency Acquisition” (a different IAA?).

An acronym will often have very different meanings when used in different contexts. But, what about 1 acronym having different specific meanings in very similar contexts? Let’s look briefly at 3 sometimes encountered but importantly different situations that can be termed IAAs – all within the context of managing and expending Federal appropriated funds.

  • Interagency Agreement – An agreement between 2 Federal agencies by which a “Requesting Agency” seeks to satisfy its needs via services or materials that are best available from – or with assistance of - another agency, called the “Servicing Agency.” This may be due to the Servicing Agency’s mission-related capability or expertise that is not available within the Requesting Agency or for reasons of efficiency or economy, e.g., leveraging Government purchasing power.
  • Interagency Acquisition – The common type of Interagency Agreement covered by FAR 17.5, under which the Requesting Agency meets its own acquisition needs via some level of assistance from the Servicing Agency.
  • Intra-Agency Agreement – A special type of Interagency Agreement under which the Requesting and Servicing Agency are organizational components of a larger agency that receive separate appropriations.

Overarching policies and rules for Interagency Agreements are established by the Office of Management and Budget, with the Treasury Department in charge of managing procedures, including development of the forms and required procedures because, in the end, all types of IAAs result in one agency expending funds that were appropriated by Congress or otherwise in the control of a different agency.

Want to know more? “Stay tuned” for another blog with a deeper dive into Interagency Acquisitions under FAR 17.5.

In the meantime, if you are new to working on an acquisition requirement where an IAA is being considered or you have been assigned to an Acquisition Team at either the Requesting or the Servicing Agency and need to get a handle on the IAA historical activity and status? One source of assistance is the video tutorials available in our suite of acquisition support products:

  • Acquisition planning: Facilitated Intelligent Needs Development (FIND).
  • Post-award performance management: Contractor Performance Intelligence (CPI)
  • Funds planning, management and tracking: Spend Intelligence (SI)

These short tutorials help you to understand what you need to know to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of your role and those of your agency as a whole, with respect to the IAA based on your own objectives and acquisition circumstances. The FIND, CPI and SI libraries also have tailorable Templates, Formats, Guidance documents and automated processing capabilities to assist you in ensuring the IAA-related activities are documented and tracked to ensure you are able to meet your agency’s needs. 

Or better yet, request a demo at or contact us at (301) 392-1895 or   

Make it an enlightened day, 

Pat Shields 

Director – Acquisition Practice 

Seventh Sense Consulting 


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Patrick Shields

Mr. Patrick Shields has over 45 years of experience as an acquisition and contracting professional and innovative leader. Since 2016 Mr. Shields has served as the Seventh Sense Consulting LLC (SSC) Director of Acquisition Practice in which his extensive knowledge pf Federal Government acquisition and contracting, plus his passion for innovation and enlightened efficiency enable him to serve SSC’s clients, both directly through consulting engagements and indirectly, both as a “reachback” resource for all SSC personnel and by providing subject matter expertise (SME) for the development and support of SSC’s suite of Enlightened Solutions intelligent products. Prior to joining SSC, Mr. Shields was the Senior Manager for Research Services for ASI Government (ASI) (2012-2016), where he led a team of acquisition experts within ASI’s Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO) who researched and developed responses to inquiries on acquisition/ contracting topics that spanned the acquisition lifecycle plus various acquisition organization and policy-related topics. Also, Mr. Shields authored, co-authored or contributed content to dozens of VAO educational/advisory publications. Inquiry responses and VAO’s publications were provided to over 25,000 acquisition professionals within the numerous VAO subscriber agencies. Prior to joining the VAO, Mr. Shields served as a senior subject matter expert within ASI’s consulting division, providing expertise to various clients, including DoD and Intelligence Community agencies, GSA, and numerous other civilian agencies. Mr. Shields’ consulting efforts included development of acquisition-specific documents, agency-specific policies, and requested topical training materials and presentations. While at ASI, he earned ASI’s Masters Certificate in Performance Based Acquisition and was selected as an ASI Research Fellow. After a short time as a high school and collegiate level mathematics teacher, Mr. Shields began his acquisition and contracting career at the Naval Air Systems Command (1987-2004), advancing to serve in various Division Head level assignments for over 10 years before retiring from civil service. During this tenure, he executed and/or oversaw over $10B in contracts spanning the full major systems acquisition cycle for some of the most consequential major weapon systems programs in Naval Aviation. Mr. Shields earned numerous certifications, awards and recognitions, including DAWIA Level III in both Contracting and Program Management, was a Charter Member of the Navy Acquisition Corps, and a Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. Mr. Shields holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Virginia Tech, plus master’s degrees in Mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University, and in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.