Bidding On U.S. Defence Contracts

Bidding on U.S. defence contracts involves a series of registrations and certifications to ensure that a business is eligible and compliant with federal requirements.

Here are the essential registrations and steps typically required:

1. Register with the System for Award Management (SAM)

Register your business on the System for Award Management (SAM) at All entities wishing to do business with the federal government must register on SAM. SAM is the primary source for federal government procurement opportunities over $25 000. On SAM, you can search and receive notifications for federal business opportunities.

2. NAICS Codes

Identify the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that best describe the products or services your business provides. You need NAICS codes when registering on SAM. The codes assist contracting officers in identifying potential vendors.

3. Small Business Administration (SBA) Certifications (If Applicable)

Depending on the nature of your business, you may qualify for various small business programmes and certifications such as:

  • 8(a) Business Development Programme
  • HUBZone Programme
  • Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Programme
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Programme

These certifications provide advantages in bidding on certain contracts.

4. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Registration (If Applicable)

If your business deals with defence-related articles and services listed on the United States Munitions List (USML), you need to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).

Other Industry-Specific Certifications

Depending on the specific defence contract requirements, additional certifications or registrations may be necessary (cybersecurity certifications such as CMMC, facility clearances, etc.).

Important To Note

DUNS Number

On April 4, 2022, the federal government stopped using the DUNS Number as a unique identifier for entities and switched to a Unique Entity ID generated by The new Unique Entity ID was assigned to all active and inactive registrations in prior to the switch. In addition, entities with DUNS Numbers, but no registration have been able to obtain Unique Entity IDs without registering in since October, 2021.

The DUNS Number is no longer used in, eSRS, FSRS, FPDS, CPARS, or FAPIIS. 


Effective February 10, 2023, some entities registering in for the purpose of financial assistance will not be assigned a CAGE code during the registration process.

When you register your new entity in you will no longer need a CAGE (or NCAGE) code if you meet both of the following criteria:

  • Your purpose of registration is financial assistance awards only, and
  • You indicate during registration that you are not seeking financial assistance from the Department of Defense (DoD).

If you are a new entity in you will still need a CAGE (or NCAGE) code if you meet either of the following criteria:

  • You are registering for all awards (both contracts and grants) as your purpose of registration, or
  • You are seeking financial assistance from the DoD.

By completing these registrations, your business will be prepared to bid on U.S. defence contracts and ensure compliance with federal procurement regulations.

Book A Consultation to discuss how we can assist you in bidding for U.S. defence contracts.

Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin