What is a CAGE code?

CAGE stands for “Commercial and Government Entity”. It is a unique five-character alphanumeric identifier that is required for a company to do business with the government. International use is performed through the NATO Codification System, or NCS, and those are NCAGE codes.

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The CAGE code is an acronym for Commercial and Government Entity Code. It is a system created by the United States government designed to promote the ease of finding companies and corporations that work for the US government, particularly the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Agency (NASA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Every company and corporation must have a designated CAGE code before it can do business with the government and NATO.

All military contractors and suppliers have CAGE codes. Due to the nature of the industry, most subcontractors are required to have them. Each entity is assigned a code that consists of five characters that identify them. It is similar to a license that is allocated to businesses for the sole purpose of easily locating information about them in a federal database search engine. It lists information such as plant, office or facility and their exact location in the US and abroad. For example, if you are doing a search for a military contractor, all you have to do is type the contractor's name. A list will appear on the screen with that company's CAGE code, address, city, state, zip code, country, status code and type code.

The Status Code

The CAGE code list contains a status code. It is represented by different alphabetical letters that signify a particular information about the company. Each letter has a context and definition. For example, the letter 'a' means that the company is currently operating. The letter 'e' means that the company has been suspended or has a legal citation. It will note if it's back in good standing. F and 'h' are for defunct while 'w' identifies the company as having employed an individual to do contract work at a different location from the company but using the company name. T classifies the entity as a collaboration between two companies or corporation with equal partnership. There are more letters that represent different status codes. If not for the Cage code, these details are not easy to obtain.

The Type Code

The type code is listed next to the status code. The main function of the type code is to identify whether a vendor, manufacturer, supplier or non-manufacturer is a member of the U.S. or NATO. The letter works the same as the status code. Here are a few of the delineations of the letters: A stands for an American or Canadian manufacturer. F stands for a non-manufacturer, for example, a distributor or a middleman. If the contractor follows the military standard, it is assigned the letter 'm'. For the complete listing, go to the government CAGE code website.

Additional Information

Once a company or supplier is assigned a CAGE code, that contractor is automatically cataloged and classified in the CAGE code government website. The first and fifth characters are always letters from the alphabet while the characters between them, which are the second, third and fourth placements could be a combination of numbers and letters but with the omission of the letters I and O. The placement of the characters has no significance or importance.

The United States operates federal and international CAGE code databases. The Cage code that is used in conjunction with NATO is called NCAGE code. The NCAGE code and the US CAGE code operate in the same way with the exception of a few names or categorical changes such as the use of the National Stock Number which is utilized by the NCAGE code.

Aside from providing an efficient, mechanized and concise way to research information on private companies that work for the government and NATO, the CAGE code is very useful in procuring the appropriate facility and government clearance for federal officials or representatives, agents and special contractors. Government clearance ranges from low-level, mid-level to high-level security clearance. The Cage code is used to identify a facility's security sensitivity. The CAGE code website has an advantageous feature called the electronic Bidders List. This enables companies to bid for military or NATO projects, including bidding to be the suppliers of materials, machines, food, transportation and other services where vendors are needed by the Department of Defense.

The CAGE code has simplified an extensive list of information that would otherwise be difficult to collect with limited resources. The database saves time and money and assists in decision-making. Registration is free for any company that wants government work. There is no charge for using the database for research.