Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) started promoting its initiative on Cyber Security reporting there have been several settlements related to cyber security noncompliance, four of which involve defense contractors.
The FAR Council submitted a proposed rule amending FAR subparts, provisions, and clauses on October 3, 2023, to implement an Executive order on cyber threats, incident reporting, and information sharing for Federal contracts. This revision is being made to strengthen and standardize contractual requirements for cybersecurity across Federal agencies. The proposed rule also implements OMB Memorandum M-21-07 Completing the Transition to internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), dated November 19, 2020.
On June 9, 2023, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued M-23-16, Update to Memorandum M-22-18, providing an extension to the deadline for software developers to submit attestation forms to Federal agencies.
On April 27, 2023, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a draft Secure Software Development Attestation Form. Software producers that sell to the government will be required to complete the self-attestation form to attest that the software they produce was developed in conformity with specified secure development practices.
DoD Issued a Final Rule amending the Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to require contracting officers to consider Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) risk assessments when evaluating a suppliers quote or offer. The final rule is effective March 22, 2023. The Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) is the authoritative source to retrieve supplier product and performance information assessments for the DoD acquisition community to use in identifying, assessing, and monitoring unclassified performance.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum dated September 14, 2022, Subject Enhancing the Security of the Software Supply Chain through Secure Software Development Practices. This is a result of the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled one of the first lawsuits related to alleged cybersecurity fraud by Aerojet Rocketdyne, a defense contractor. So how did it begin. Aerojet Rocketdyne hired an employee as the Senior Director for Cyber Security, Compliance and Controls. The employee asserts that Aerojet misrepresented its compliance with the cyber requirements in DFARS 252.204-7012 when communicating with government officials to obtain DOD and NASA contracts between 2013 and 2015. The employee later refused to sign documents stating Aerojet was compliant with the cybersecurity requirements and reported it to the company’s ethics hotline and filed an internal company report. The employee was terminated and filed a qui tam suit alleging cybersecurity fraud under the False Claims Act.
CMMC was put on hold until recently – but is rolling forward again at a high speed. DOD held a CMMC Day Conference in May 2022 stating its goal of submitting a proposed rule in July 2022 ( no proposed rule to date) and issuing two interim final rules by March 2023. If DoD is able to stay on track (which does not appear to be the case) and issue the final interim rule by March 2023, contractors could start seeing CMMC requirements in solicitations soon after.
Contractor compliance with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171 is back in the news. The Principal Director, Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC), issued a memorandum dated June 16, 2022, to the Department of Defense Departments, Subject: Contractual Remedies to Ensure Contractor Compliance with Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement Clause 252.204-7012, for contracts and orders not subject to Clause 252.204-7020; and Additional Considerations Regarding National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 Department of Defense Assessments.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in October 2021 that they are following through on the launch of the DOJ’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative. This initiative is being used to pursue cybersecurity related fraud when Government contractors and subcontractors knowingly fail to comply with cybersecurity requirements, through the use of the False Claims Act (FCA). The DOJ is asking individuals (yes that means your employees) to focus their attention on potential cyber security noncompliance under the False Claims Act. It only takes one upset employee to report that you are not complying with your reported cybersecurity practices or have an unreported cyber-attack affecting covered defense information. Contractor employees who file a qui tam suit can receive a government payment incentive of 15 to 30 percent of the recovery. There has already been one reported contractor settlement resolving a qui tam suit for a company failing to meet federal cybersecurity standards.