Aerospace procurement is subject to a lot of external factors. From shifts in the economy to manufacturing challenges, the nature of aerospace procurement is constantly changing. One of the key influencers of aerospace procurement is prime government contractors. 

As forces of industry, prime government contractors' output affects supply and demand in aerospace procurement and defines roles for subcontractors. As an established federal prime contractor and subcontractor, Greenwood Aerospace has first-hand experience in the role contractors play in aerospace procurement. In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. A Brief History of Prime Government Contracting
  2. Supply Chains and Prime Government Contractors
  3. Prime Government Contractors + Greenwood Aerospace

Prime government contractors have a significant influence over the government supply chain and the overall supplier network. However, it wasn’t always like this. Prime government contractors have continuously developed their role throughout history to become the industry leaders we know today. Let’s begin by diving deeper into the origins of prime government contracting. 

A Brief History of Prime Government Contracting

At present, finding opportunities to work with prime contractors of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is highly attractive, particularly for new businesses trying to break into the market as subcontractors. But how did the process of contracting companies for government agencies begin? Establishing the systems we know for prime government contractors today has taken centuries to develop, and continues to evolve.

The origins of prime government contracting go all the way back to the settlement of the United States and the wars that followed which shaped our country’s history. The timeframe we’ll focus on in the history of prime government contracting includes:

  • Pre-World War America
  • World War I and II
  • Post-World War II

While federal prime contractors have a long-established history in the U.S., it’s important to note that prime government contracting started from much humbler roots. During America’s establishment, prime government contractors started out by paving the way (literally) for the future of government contracting and procurement.

Pre-World War America and Federal Prime Contracting

In the early colonial period, government contracting primarily involved the construction and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and buildings. Contracts were awarded to individuals or companies based on personal relationships or political connections, not the competitive bidding processes that we know today.

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress faced supply problems in procuring essential items for the military, including weapons, ammunition, and clothing. Despite Congress’ efforts to establish procurement committees, the end of the Revolutionary War saw the government facing challenges in stabilizing the contracting system and paying off war debt.

By the Civil War, however, the federal government reached a significant turning point in contracting. The scale and complexity of the war effort made establishing new procurement processes essential. The government implemented the first large-scale competitive bidding system for contracts, enabling prime government contractors to come in at the lowest responsible bid. 

Following the Civil War, the U.S. experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, leading to an expansion in government contracting. The government increasingly relied on federal prime contractors for various projects, covering everything from railroad construction to weapons production. By the late 19th century, government contracting further evolved with the expansion of federal agencies and the rise of professional procurement officers. 

World War I and II

When the United States entered World War I, there was a critical need for mobilization of resources and supplies. Competitive bidding continued to be the primary method for awarding contracts, with a focus on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

After World War I, the United States experienced a period of demobilization and economic recession. As a result, government procurement activities were significantly reduced. During this time, the government worked to enhance cost-control measures and promote fair competition in the contracting process. This later played an important role in standardizing procedures and developing more practical parts procurement systems.

With the outbreak of World War II, the U.S. government quickly ramped up its procurement efforts to support the war. The government entered into massive contracts with private industry to produce weapons, ammunition, and other war-related supplies. For government aircraft procurement, in particular, WWII necessitated critical developments in aerospace parts distribution, MIL-SPEC packaging standards, and inventory management practices.

The developments in contracting and procurement during the World Wars marked a significant growth in the government's capabilities for coordinating large-scale procurement. The lessons learned and the frameworks established during these wars laid the groundwork for subsequent developments in government contracting solutions and government procurement.

Post-World War II and Prime Government Contractors

After World War II, the government faced the challenge of transitioning to a peacetime economy. The Department of Defense (DOD) established the Armed Services Procurement Regulation (ASPR) in 1947, which was later disbanded in 1978, to provide a standardized framework for procurement practices across military services. The ASPR aimed to improve efficiency, promote fair competition, and ensure the proper use of taxpayer funds in government contracting.

The Cold War and the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union led to increased defense spending and an expansion in defense procurement. The DOD played a crucial role in defense contracting, emphasizing technological advancements and extending opportunities to the DOD prime contractors list.

The government increasingly relied on prime federal contractors to manage large-scale defense projects and coordinate subcontractors. The General Services Administration (GSA) was established in 1949 to centralize procurement efforts and implement policies to streamline processes, including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

In the 1990s, there was a push for procurement reforms to enhance efficiency, competition, and integrity in government contracting. Moving into the 2000s, and beyond, there has been a focus on promoting accountability and sustainability in government contracting. 

The use of technology and procurement intelligence has expanded, enabling electronic submissions of bids and further streamlining processes. Social and environmental considerations have risen, with agencies incorporating sustainability requirements and social responsibility criteria in their procurement decisions.

Since the end of the Second World War, the role of prime government contractors has been further established and regulated. Stringent policies and regulatory bodies have been introduced to ensure prime government contractors and subcontractors meet standards that focus on transparency, environmental impact, safety, and cost-efficiency. 

Three Beechcraft T-44A US Navy sit on the tarmac
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Supply Chains and Prime Government Contractors

Supply chains rely on prime government contractors in order to function effectively. The economic success of the U.S. as a resource for the global defense supply chain hinges on federal prime contractors’ ability to deliver exceptional resources. The United State’s position as a leader in defense depends on a government supply chain that can keep up with the cost of demand.

In 2022, General Dynamics reported revenue of $8.2 billion in deliverables of aerospace technology equipment alone. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin reported revenue of $59.8 billion for 2019, making the U.S. home to one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world.  But who is responsible for regulating prime government contractors that create this level of revenue? And how do those regulations affect aerospace procurement?

 In this section, we’ll cover:

  1. Regulators of prime government contracting
  2. Supply chain demand and government prime contractors
  3. Prime government contractors and aerospace procurement 

To understand the relationship between supply and demand in aerospace procurement, we must first identify the authorities that regulate prime government contractors. Let’s dive into the roles of the regulators in prime government contracting. 

Regulators of Prime Government Contracting

Regulators play critical roles in overseeing prime government contractors and ensuring they’re staying compliant. Their responsibility ranges from conducting audits and inspections, monitoring performance, and addressing any non-compliance or misconduct. Their authority helps maintain the transparency, fairness, and accountability of prime contractors for the federal government.

The five entities we’ll briefly focus on in this section include:

  1. Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council)
  2. Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)
  3. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  4. System for Award Management (SAM)
  5. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council)

The FAR Council is responsible for maintaining and updating the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which governs the acquisition process for most federal agencies. The FAR Council is made up of representatives from various government agencies and has the authority to establish policies and regulations related to prime contracting, including procurement procedures, contract lifecycle management, and ethical standards. 

Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA)

The DCMA is an agency within the DOD responsible for contract management and oversight. They ensure that prime contractors and subcontractors meet contractual requirements, including quality standards, delivery schedules, and cost control. The DCMA conducts audits, inspections, and surveillance to monitor contractor performance and compliance.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

The OFCCP is part of the Department of Labor and is responsible for enforcing federal affirmative action and non-discrimination regulations for federal contractors, including prime government contractors. Their role is to ensure that contractors provide equal employment opportunities and maintain non-discriminatory practices in their hiring and employment practices.

System for Award Management (SAM)

The SAM is a web-based system used by the federal government to collect, validate, and store information about organizations seeking to do business with the government. SAM consolidates several previously separate databases, such as the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), into a single platform. Similar to how USA Spending facilitates transparency in prime government contractors' awards and earnings, SAM provides transparency in opportunities to work with a list of prime contractors or government agencies.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

The ITAR is a set of regulations administered by the Department of State which controls the export and import of defense items, services, and technical data. ITAR is crucial for safeguarding national security interests by controlling the export and transfer of defense-related items. Compliance with ITAR is essential for DOD prime contractors, as violations can result in severe legal and reputational consequences.

While all of these entities serve a clear purpose in regulating prime government contractors to ensure responsible procurement procedures and standards are met, this is by no means the full extent of prime government contractor regulators. The DOD, State Department, and more operate an extensive range of authorities to ensure prime government contractors are held accountable and meet supply chain demands.

Supply Chain Demand and Government Prime Contractors

A prime government contractor's role in the supply chain process is integral to the overall success and efficiency of government procurement. As prime contractors for federal government are awarded major contracts to provide goods or services, their role often also encompasses optimizing the government supply chain

Prime government contractors often have the authority to select and manage subcontractors and suppliers within the supply chain. Evaluating potential suppliers, negotiating contracts, and making decisions regarding the sourcing of materials and components. These choices can profoundly impact the overall performance and effectiveness of the supply chain and inform procurement practices.

At Greenwood Aerospace, we analyze historical data, market trends, and future requirements to anticipate demand fluctuations and adjust procurement accordingly. By doing so, we help balance supply and demand, minimizing disruptions and optimizing the efficiency of the supply chain, particularly when it comes to aerospace equipment and services.

Prime Government Contractors and Aerospace Procurement 

As a prime government contractor and subcontractor in aerospace procurement, Greenwood Aerospace delivers extensive services that assist government agencies in all manner of contracting needs. From ensuring readiness to contractor logistics support, we use our expertise and our qualifications to deliver exceptional, rapid, procurement services.

Foreign Military Sales

Our team has a proven record of working with Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Programs from start to finish. We work closely with the U.S. government, leveraging our knowledge of available aircraft and related technologies to propose suitable options that align with purchasing requirements.

Government Contracting

We provide expertise in understanding the technical specifications, performance criteria, and operational needs necessary to meet the government agency contract objectives. Our services in logistics offer assistance for aviation logistics, ground support, and the aerospace supply chain.

Aircraft Leasing and Sustainment

For the last 25 years, Greenwood Aerospace has worked with various U.S. government and defense customers on special mission aviation leasing solutions. We also provide comprehensive aircraft sustainment services for:

  1. Beechcraft Aircraft
  2. Distinguished Transport Aircraft
  3. ISR Aircraft
  4. Single Engine Aircraft
  5. Special Purpose Aircraft

Greenwood Aerospace’s expertise, technological capabilities, and extensive industry knowledge are instrumental in aerospace procurement. Our collaboration with agencies ensures the delivery of high-quality aerospace and aircraft systems that meet the government's needs and objectives from prime government contractors.

Articles you’ll find useful that further cover our aircraft expertise include:

A U.S. Air Force Beechcraft T-1A Jayhawk flying during a training mission
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Prime Government Contractors + Greenwood Aerospace

Greenwood Aerospace is a leading aerospace supplier with extensive industry knowledge and an expansive network. We offer supply chain solutions that maximize operational readiness for U.S. government agencies, private contractors, and more. 

Our forty-one years of experience make us an innovative and agile aerospace supplier supporting government agencies and prime contractors for the federal government. Get to know our services in procurement and storage and distribution, and see how we can assist your program’s contracting needs.


At Greenwood Aerospace, our procurement services assist government agencies, branches of the military, and private defense contractors in mission readiness. 

Our extensive stock in proprietary and aftermarket aviation parts allows us to mitigate supply chain pressures and deliver essential equipment fast. As aircraft parts suppliers, we prioritize cost-effective solutions that utilize our existing network, allowing us to source off-site parts rapidly through our connections. Greenwood Aerospace’s procurement services specialize in:

From advanced military packaging solutions to supporting aircraft inventory management, our procurement services offer in-depth industry knowledge and quality assurance. 

Storage and Distribution

From our 42,000 sq ft warehouse in Ponca City, Oklahoma, we distribute essential aerospace parts and equipment to both coasts with ease and offer shorter shipping routes thanks to our central location. We overcome obstacles in aircraft part distribution and focus on fast and innovative problem-solving to provide you with support.

We alleviate the stress of managing inventory on-site and dealing with storage issues by offering aerospace part storage solutions for our customers. Whether you’re looking for an aircraft parts supplier, aerospace parts distributor, or expert on MIL-SPEC packaging, Greenwood Aerospace has got you covered. 

A Beechcraft RC-12P sits on the runway
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Work with Greenwood Aerospace for your Prime Government Contracting Needs

Contact us today to assist with your prime government contractor needs. Reach out to us at or 580-762-2580. For large sales inquiries, contact us at

Looking to expand your operation? Work with a leader in the aerospace industry. Learn more about how to become a supplier with us. 

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