Government Contracting Tip: Meet the U.S. Defense Commissary Agency

Beth White Government Contracting Specialist
Beth White
Government Contracting Specialist

It’s called the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), and it buys a lot more than food and beverages for families. The DeCA is considered an “Other Defense Agency,” and manages a worldwide chain of stores that provides groceries and supplies to families (military, retirees and other authorized patrons) at cost plus a small surcharge fee.

But you don’t sell food products? Remember, I said they buy many other items/services, including:

  • Services: Shelf Stocking, Custodial, Receiving/Stocking management, Armored Car, Inventory, Linen/Laundry, Pest Control, Trash Removal
  • Supplies: Packaging products, paper bags, plastic bags, labels
  • Construction/A/E Services: Design, New construction, Renovations, Remodeling
  • Food/Resale Items: This category includes the food products, non-alcoholic beverages, pet foods, detergent, health/beauty products etc.• IT/Software
  • Equipment: Copiers, Balers, Pallet Jacks, Safes etc.

How does it work?

  • As a Federal agency, they are bound to the competition requirements of the FAR, and all procurements valued over $25,000.00 are posted to To see some of the current requirements please check out:
  • With this there will be opportunities for limited/flexible competition if not required to be on FBO. Marketing will help build awareness of those opportunities (see below).
  • Food/Resale items are purchased under slightly different rules known as the Grocery Items Special Rule in 10 United States Code 2486.
  • Name brand items with a UPC that have been sold in supermarkets/commercially, will be purchased on a non-competitive basis and from the manufacturer or an authorized representative.
  • Other-than-brand name consumable or household items such as meats, vegetables, firewood etc. will be purchased on a competitive, best value basis always on
  • You can read more at the Business Guide for DeCA

How do you market DeCA to determine if your product/service can/will be purchased?

  • defense-commissary-agency-engraved-medalions-smIf you are selling brand name products for resale (above), there are some very specific things the agency will ask of vendors (see all on page 9 of the business guide), but some include knowing your distribution/stocking methods, pricing structure, providing samples for evaluation, similarities/differences to other products that are being sold.
  • Contact the small business office, and make initial/follow up contact to market, develop relationships and build visibilities to increase potential opportunities with the agency. The small business office is located at
  • Ensure you have done more research on the agency and locations within your geographic area
  • Research past, current and future opportunities for the supplies/services you sell. DeCA provides information on previous pricing and awarded contracts here.

So what do they have going on in the future?

For more information on how DeCA may be a good target customer for your company, or any other government contracting related questions,  let a CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist know!

Email Beth at or  join our LinkedIn discussion at