Glossary of Defense Contracting Terms (P)

This Glossary provides you with the most frequently used terms in government and military base contracting. Familiarity with the language of government contracting is essential for doing business with the Department of Defense (DoD) and working with contracting offices at military bases and DoD agencies.  You may also find it helpful to use our master list of Acronyms frequently used in DoD contracting.


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View ACRONYMS used in Defense Contracting


PAST PERFORMANCE INFORMATION    Relevant information, for future source selection purposes, regarding a contractor's actions under previously awarded contracts. It includes, for example, the contractor's record of conforming to contract requirements and to standards of good workmanship; the contractor's record of forecasting and controlling costs; the contractor's adherence to contract schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; the contractor's history of reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction; and generally, the contractor's business-like concern for the interest of the customer.

PRE-AWARD SURVEY    An evaluation of a prospective contractor's capability to perform a proposed contract.

PRIME CONTRACT     A contract or contractual action entered into by the United States for the purpose of obtaining supplies, materials, equipment, or services of any kind.

PROCUREMENT   The procedures for obtaining goods and/or services including all activities from the planning steps and preparation and processing of a requisition, through receipt and acceptance of delivering and processing of a final invoice for payment.

PROJECT    An undertaking, composed of one or more elements of work, planned and executed in a fixed time period.

PROJECT MANAGER    A third-party consultant or employee of the owner who coordinates the activities of the project. Assists with the development of specific strategies of the project, establishes time frames and benchmarks for the project, assists the owner in hiring other professional services, reviews plans and drawings and makes recommendations to the owner, monitors the budget of all phases of the project, assists the owner in closeout and prepares for occupancy.

PROJECT MANUAL     The manual prepared for a project, including the bidding requirements, conditions of the contract and the technical specifications.

PROPOSAL    A document used by the owner to evaluate the professional capabilities of a business, agency or individual against a set of pre-established criteria that may be weighted on a numerical scale using a set of questions that allows the owner to determine the best business or agency to hire for the specific job. Normally does not include the cost of services. Designed to evaluate such criteria as previous work experience, the qualifications of the lead professional.

PROPRIETARY SPECIFICATION    A restriction to one manufacturer or vendor for acceptable products or services. Example: a specification by brand name that excludes consideration of proposed “equals." Although all sole source specifications are proprietary, all proprietary specifications are not sole source- proprietary items may be available from several vendors through competitive bidding.

PROTEST    A written complaint about an administrative action or decision brought by a bidder or offeror to the appropriate administrative section with the intention of receiving a remedial result.

PURCHASE ORDER     An order by the government to buy supplies or services, including construction and research/development upon specified acquisition procedures. 


Pentagon Spokesman Department of Defense (DoD)

Guidance for Doing Business with Military Bases