Government Acronyms and Abbreviations List

The United States (U.S.) uses a lot of government acronyms and abbreviations to describe programs, groups, and technical terms that make up the government and allow it to function. Check out some of the most important acronyms used by the U.S. government.

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Government Agency Abbreviations and Acronyms

The U.S. government is broken down into smaller agencies that each oversee a particular sector of the country. There are a lot of them, so here are some of the most common departments. You can find an exhaustive list of U.S. government departments and agencies at USA.gov.

  • ACDA - United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • ACQWeb - Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology
  • ACS - Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management
  • ATF - Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau
  • BATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms
  • BEA - Bureau of Economic Affairs
  • BLM - Bureau of Land Management
  • BLS - Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • BOP - Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • BOR - Bureau of Reclamation
  • BPD - Bureau of the Public Debt
  • BPHC - Bureau of Primary Health Care
  • BRD - Biological Resource Division
  • BTA - Business Transformation Agency
  • CB - Children's Bureau
  • CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
  • DERT - Division of Extramural Research & Training
  • DESA - Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • DHAC - Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
  • DHS - Department of Homeland Security
  • DOE - Department of Energy
  • DOI - Department of Interior
  • DOJ - Department of Justice
  • DOL - Department of Labor
  • DOT - Department of Transportation
  • EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
  • FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • FDA - Food and Drug Administration
  • FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • FLH - Office of Federal Lands Highway
  • G/TIP - Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • HUD - Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • IRS - Internal Revenue Service
  • LM - Office of Legacy Management
  • LOC - Library of Congress
  • MDA - Missile Defense Agency
  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NIH - National Institute of Health
  • NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NSA - National Security Agency
  • OACU - Office of Animal Care and Use
  • OAG - Office of the Attorney General
  • OAHP - Office of Affordable Housing Preservation
  • OAIT - Office of American Indian Trust
  • OALJ - Office of Administrative Law Judges
  • OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • PO - Post Office
  • SG - Surgeon General
  • SSA - Social Security Administration (or Social Security Act)
  • TSA - Transportation Security Administration
  • USPS - United States Postal Service
  • VA - Department of Veterans Affairs

Government Organization Abbreviations and Acronyms

Within these agencies, or departments, there are also specific organizations and locations who help fulfill the mission of larger departments.

  • ACC - Air Combat Command
  • ACF - Administration for Children and Families
  • ACYF - Administration for Children, Youth, and Families
  • ACFR - Administrative Committee of the Federal Register
  • ACHP - Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • ACSFA - Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
  • BNL - Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • BPA - Bonneville Power Administration
  • BPC - Best Practices Committee
  • BRAC - Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission
  • BRB - Benefits Review Board
  • CAOC - Chief Acquisition Officers Council
  • CAP - Civil Air Patrol
  • CASMIRC - Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center
  • CATC - Clean Air Technology Center
  • CBCA - Civilian Board of Contract Appeals
  • CBER - Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
  • CPS - Center for Policy Studies
  • DESC - Defense Energy Support Center
  • DFEC - Division of Federal Employees' Compensation
  • EEEL - Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory
  • EEOC - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • FDIC - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • FEC - Federal Election Commission
  • FJC - Federal Judicial Center
  • FINCEN - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
  • FLC - Federal Laboratory Consortium
  • FLETC - Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • FLICC - Federal Library and Information Center Committee
  • FLRA - Federal Labor Relations Authority
  • FMC - Federal Maritime Commission
  • FTC - Federal Trade Commission
  • GPC - Grants Policy Committee
  • GPO - Government Printing Office
  • GSA - General Services Administration
  • GSFC - Goddard Space Flight Center
  • GSTC - Geospatial Service and Technology Center
  • HISPC - Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration
  • MDB - Multilateral Development Banks
  • MedPAC - Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
  • MEP - Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • HPCC - High Performance Computing and Communications
  • LOCIS - Library of Congress Information System
  • LSC - Legal Services Corporation
  • TSC - Terrorist Screening Center
  • TSI - Transportation Safety Institute
  • USA - United States Army
  • USACE - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • USAF - United States Air Force
  • USAFA - United States Air Force Academy
  • USMC - United States Marine Corp
  • USN - United States Navy
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Abbreviations for Government Programs and Initiatives

With such long names for many government programs and initiatives, they are often called by their acronym or abbreviation because it’s easier to say.

  • ACES - Active Community Environments Initiative
  • BRS - Biotechnology Regulatory Service
  • BTOP - Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
  • CAPPS II - Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System
  • CARS - Car Allowance Rebate System
  • CSRS - Civil Service Retirement System
  • DFAS - Defense Finance and Accounting Service
  • EEOICP - Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
  • EEOMBD - Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
  • HIP - Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program
  • HMI - Healthy Marriage Initiative
  • M&M - Medicare and Medicaid

Abbreviations for Important Government Acts

Government acts often have long names. So, abbreviating them makes it easier for people to talk about them on a regular basis.

  • ADA - Americans With Disabilities Act
  • CAA - Clean Air Act
  • CWA - Clean Water Act
  • ESA - Endangered Species Act of 1973
  • FLSA - Fair Labor Standards Act
  • FOIA - Freedom of Information Act
  • GPRA - Government Performance and Results Act
  • HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
  • HMDA - Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  • NCLB - No Child Left Behind Act

Abbreviations for Government Terms and Measurements

Using abbreviations for common government terms and measurements helps federal employees be more efficient.

  • ACD - Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence
  • ACE - Automated Commercial Environment
  • AF - Administrative Function
  • AFDC - Aid to Families with Dependent Children
  • AHES - Average Hourly Earnings
  • AMW - Average Monthly Wage
  • ARS - Age, Race, Sex
  • BOD - Bid Opening Date
  • BRFSS - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • BY - Budget Year
  • C/BR - Cost/Benefit Ratio, Cost/Burden Reduction
  • CD - Civil Defense
  • CPI - Consumer Price Index
  • DHRA - Defense Human Resources Activity
  • EDIE - Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator
  • EERE - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • FFY - Federal Fiscal Year
  • FIPS - Federal Information Processing Standard
  • FISA - Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court
  • FMAP - Federal Medical Assistance Percentage
  • HIFCA - High Intensity Financial Crime Area
  • IFB or IFQ - Invitation for Bids, Invitation for Quote
  • MEPS - Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
  • MeSH - Medical Subject Headings
  • RFP or RFQ - Request for Proposal or Request for Quote
  • TRI - Toxics Release Inventory
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Understanding U.S. Acronyms and Abbreviations

Journalists and government officials often use common acronyms and abbreviations in news articles, on TV appearances, and at community events. Understanding what these letters mean can help you better understand what’s being discussed.

The difference between acronyms and abbreviations is that acronyms use the first letter of each word in a name to form a new "word" that symbolizes the original phrase. Abbreviations are two or more letters used to create a shortened form of a name or phrase. Learn more about shortening words by exploring common acronyms, such as military acronyms, and common abbreviations.