J&A Postings Explained–and How You Can Leverage Them

August 3, 2022 | Business Development, Government

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J&A Postings Explained–and How You Can Leverage Them

Federal government contracts are usually quite competitive, with several factors evening the playing field for bidders. One exception, however, is “Justification and Approval” (J & A) announcements made on By definition, a J & A limits competition due to one of these circumstances:

  • National security, where the disclosure of the opportunity might compromise national security;
  • Industrial mobilization, used in the case of a national emergency; 
  • Public interest, where the Secretary of the Agency determines competition is not in the public interest;
  • When there is “only one responsible source”–generally because contract startup activities like renting space, procuring equipment, and setting up specific processes to perform the work have already taken place. In these cases, it’s not practical or cost efficient for the government to develop and administer a short-term contract to bridge between the current agreement and a follow-on RFP. 
  • “Unusual and compelling urgency,” which may occur when an existing contract is about to expire and a follow-on procurement or RFP has yet to be released or awarded.

J & A opportunities are often so limiting that they preclude most contractors from pursuing them. However, the information in J&A postings can be incredibly valuable even when you can’t pursue the contract in question. Here’s why:

  • J & A postings often include the total price of the bridge contract, the incumbent, names of contracting personnel, the contract term, and a statement of work. This information can be incredibly valuable in helping you compete for contracts in the future.
  • J & A postings also often precede follow-on procurement, so it’s worth reaching out to the contracting officer and expressing interest in future competitive opportunities. Even if you don’t win subsequent bids, face time and relationship building can set you for success down the line.

In short, while J & A opportunities may seem like a closed door, they often open up tremendous opportunities–if you’re patient. Just like so many things in business, winning government contracts is a long game. Understanding J & A opportunities–and leveraging them–can be a first step toward reaching your strategic goals.


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MYTH: Companies cannot do business with the federal government if they aren’t connected politically to the party in power.

FACT: The federal government’s procurement process is designed to be one of the most objective, transparent processes in the world of business. Contracting officers are forbidden to award federal contracts based on politics. Furthermore, elected officials are forbidden to interfere with the agency’s contracting process.