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Interagency Acquisitions or Interagency Agreement?

Read Time 5 mins | Written by: Patrick Shields

FAR Subpart 17.5 prescribes policies and procedures applicable to Interagency Acquisitions. We noted recently that this term does not refer to the same thing as “Interagency Agreement,” although people often do think of them as interchangeable terms – and use the acronym IAA for interagency agreements and acquisitions interchangeably – in their own minds.

The reason for this is that many are primarily familiar with the concept of Assisted Acquisition, which are a form of Interagency Acquisition that requires creation of an Interagency Agreement (IAA). On the other hand, many Interagency Acquisitions – probably the majority - do not involve the creation of any written agreement – IAA - between the 2 agencies.

Wait - what?

To sort this out, let’s look at how FAR 17.5 describe what constitutes an Interagency Acquisition – and what does not.

An Interagency Acquisition


An Interagency Acquisition


1.       When one agency needing supplies/services obtains them using another agency’s contract - Includes FSS orders valued @ $600 or more 1.       Federal Supply Schedules orders valued < $600k
2.       When one agency uses acquisition assistance provided by another agency  - for example, the other agency awards and administers a contract or a task/delivery order to obtain the needed items 2.       Interagency reimbursable work performed by Federal employees - EXCEPT acquisition assistance, Any contracts are incidental to the purpose of the activity by the efforts of the employees

As shown, Interagency Acquisitions involve 2 different situations – that are best characterized by the degree of involvement between the agency with the acquisition need (“Requesting Agency”) and the agency helping to procure the needed items (“Servicing Agency”).

Direct Acquisition – The Servicing Agency has issued an ordering vehicle, e.g., FSSs or GWACs or other vehicles that give authority to other Federal agencies (Requesting Agencies) to place their own orders to meet their acquisition needs. That is, there is no specific agreement required between the 2 agencies since the funds transaction is between the Requesting Agency and the contractor.
Assisted Acquisition – The Requesting Agency, in essence, establishes an “ordering vehicle,” an IAA, with the Servicing Agency – instead of directly with a contractor firm – to obtain and reimburse the Servicing Agency to provide assistance by processing one or more procurements on behalf of the Requesting Agency. Since acquisition assistance IAA involves funds moving between 2 separate Federal agencies – to satisfy Congressionally authorized mission needs of the one agency – there must be an agreement between the agencies – in the form of an IAA following procedures established by the Treasury Department. These procedures include establishing - up front - the acquisition assistance relationship between the parties, including roles/responsibilities for acquisition planning, execution, administration and management of each acquisition conducted under an assisted acquisition IAA. For example, FAR 17.5 defines specific constraints applicable to Interagency Acquisitions, including the fact that all Interagency Acquisitions must be authorized by statute.

Do you already understand the requirement for statutory authorization and the other constraints applicable to Interagency Acquisitions – or want to know more? “Stay tuned” for another blog with a deeper dive into the specific documentation requirements and constraints for 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) – newly updated to enable IAA management
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. 

Check out our videos that provides an overviews of FIND, CPI and SI.  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.