Category Management and Strategic Sourcing Defined

Category management is an approach the Federal Government is applying to buy smarter and more like a single enterprise. Category management enables the government to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver more value and savings from the government’s acquisition programs. It involves:

  • Identifying core areas of spend;
  • Collectively developing heightened levels of expertise;
  • Leveraging shared best practices; and,
  • Providing acquisition, supply and demand management solutions.

Strategic Sourcing is a key practice within the Category Management framework. It is the collaborative and structured process of critically analyzing an organization’s spending and using this information to make business decisions. Strategic Sourcing involves the establishment or modification of acquisition vehicles to better address Federal Government procurement needs and/or more effectively leverage spend, market position, market knowledge (e.g., price benchmarks), and capabilities (e.g., IT integration) in contract terms and conditions. This process helps agencies optimize performance, minimize price, increase achievement of socio-economic acquisition goals, evaluate total life cycle management costs, improve vendor access to business opportunities, and otherwise increase the value of each dollar spent.

For additional information, please visit the Government-wide Category Management Guidance Document ̶ Version 1.0 at:

Federal Category Management Governance Structure


Government-wide Category Structure


Government-wide Category Management Policy

Office of Federal Procurement Policy Memoranda:

  • Category Management Policy 16-2: Providing Comprehensive Identity Protection Services, Identity Monitoring, and Data Breach Response (July 1, 2016)
  • Category Management Policy 16-1: Improving the Acquisition and Management of Common Information Technology: Software Licensing (June 2, 2016)
  • M-16-02, Category Management Policy 15-1: Improving the Acquisition and Management of Common Information Technology: Laptops and Desktops (October 16, 2015)
  • Transforming the Marketplace: Simplifying Federal Procurement to Improve Performance, Drive Innovation, and Increase Savings (December 4, 2014)

Department of Defense Links to Government-wide Category Management

The Department of Defense engages in the Government-wide Category Management structure via five representatives on the Category Management Leadership Council. These representatives, from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, and Office of the Secretary of Defense, oversee DoD category management equities, promote acquisition innovation, and support collaborative efforts to increase buying power. Underpinning the Department’s contribution is the products and services portfolio taxonomy outlined in Director, Defense Pricing Memorandum of August 27, 2012. This taxonomy, while unique to DoD, closely aligns with the Government-wide Category Management portfolios noted above. In addition, the Department has placed added emphasis on Category Management and Strategic Sourcing in the acquisition of services as discussed in DoDI 5000.74 – Defense Acquisition of Services.

Federal Category Management Links

Office of Federal Procurement Policy: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) within the Office of Management and Budget plays a central role in shaping the policies and practices federal agencies use to acquire the goods and services they need to carry out their responsibilities. OFPP provides overall direction for government-wide procurement policies, regulations and procedures as well as promotes economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in acquisition processes. For additional information, please visit:

Acquisition Gateway: The Acquisition Gateway, built by the General Services Administration, helps federal government buyers from all agencies act as one acquisition community. The Gateway has both public access and restricted content. To access the Gateway, please visit: For information on accessing the Gateway’s restricted content, please visit:

Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal--Category Management: CAP goals address the longstanding challenge of tackling horizontal problems across vertical organizational silos within the Federal government. 15 Cross-Agency Priority Goals, announced in the 2015 Budget, include seven mission-oriented and eight management-focused goals with a 4-year time horizon. Designed to maximize value of Federal spending, Category Management is a designed CAP with the following goal statement:

Expand the use of high-quality, high-value strategic sourcing solutions in order to improve the government’s buying power and reduce contract duplication

For additional information and quarterly progress updates, please visit:

Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI): Strategic sourcing is the structured and collaborative process of critically analyzing an organization’s spending patterns to better leverage its purchasing power, reduce costs, and improve overall performance. The primary goals of FSSI are to:

  • Strategically source across federal agencies;
  • Establish mechanisms to increase total cost savings, value, and socioeconomic participation;
  • Collaborate with industry to develop optimal solutions;
  • Share best practices; and
  • Create a strategic sourcing community of practice.

For additional information, please visit:

Prices Paid Tool: The Prices Paid Tool is an effort to provide greater visibility on the prices paid by government agencies for commonly purchased goods and services and related purchasing behaviors to the acquisition community, in order to support efforts to reduce total cost of ownership for these goods and services.

For additional information, please visit: