Class Deviation Prohibits DoD from Requiring Contractors to Disclose Emissions

Over the past two years, the FAR Council has been working to develop a rule that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) to require contractors to inventory and report their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and climate-related financial risk in order to be eligible for Federal awards. (Prior posts are available here and here.)Continue Reading Updates on GHG Emissions Disclosure Requirements

To kick off the New Year, Sheppard Mullin’s Governmental Practice Cybersecurity & Data Protection Team has prepared a cybersecurity-focused 2023 Recap (including links to all of the resources the team has put out over the past year) and 2024 Forecast (that previews what we expect to see in 2024). This Recap & Forecast covers the following five high-interest topic areas related to cybersecurity and data protection:Continue Reading Governmental Practice Cybersecurity and Data Protection, 2023 Recap & 2024 Forecast Alert

In addition to prohibiting the flow-down of non-mandatory FAR/DFARS clauses (which we talk about here), the Department of Defense (“DOD”) Final Rule in connection with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) Case 2017-D010 also touched on the decades-long debate as to which entities actually are subcontractors performing under a Federal prime contract. Yes, you read that correctly – there is no single definition for the terms “subcontract” or “subcontractor.” After almost 40 years of confusion, it appears the DFARS and Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Councils are trying to end the debate once and for all.Continue Reading New Year, (Potentially) New Definition for “Subcontract”

On November 17, 2023, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) published a Final Ruleover five years in the making – addressing DOD policies regarding the applicability of laws to commercial products, commercial services, and commercially available off-the-shelf (“COTS”) products (DFARS Case 2017-D010). Partially implementing Section 874 of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD has imposed new regulations that expressly prohibit Contracting Officers (“CO”) and prime contractors alike from incorporating regulatory requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) in prime contracts and subcontracts unless mandated by regulatory text.Continue Reading It’s the Most Wonderful Time for New DOD Flow Down Policies: Flowing Down Too Many Clauses Will Get Prime Contractors More Than a Lump of Coal

In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in news of cyber-related False Claims Act (“FCA”) activity. For example, on September 1, 2023, the court unsealed a qui tam lawsuit against Penn State University relating to allegations of non-compliance with Department of Defense (“DoD”) cybersecurity obligations. Separately, on September 5, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a multi-million dollar FCA settlement with Verizon under its Civil-Cyber Fraud Initiative (which focuses on leveraging the FCA to pursue cybersecurity related fraud by government contractors and grant recipients, as we previously discussed here). These and other cases suggest—as many had been speculating—that the number of enforcement actions and publicity associated with previously-sealed qui tam cases will continue to increase. They also signal that contractors and universities should brace for additional scrutiny and potential whistleblower claims in this area.Continue Reading Recent Cyber-Related False Claims Act Activity Signals Contractors and Universities Should Examine Their Cybersecurity Practices and Brace for an Uptick in Enforcement

On March 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”) adopted, without change, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) Case No. 2022-D010, Employment Transparency Regarding Individuals Who Perform Work in the People’s Republic of China (88 Fed. Reg. 12861), updating provisions at DFARS 225.7021 and adding contract clauses at 252.225-7057 and 252.225-7058. This latest DFARS rule reflects a shifting regulatory landscape aimed at increasing transparency and oversight of U.S. transactions involving China.Continue Reading Continuing Skepticism on China: Final Rule Requires Disclosure of Defense Contractor Personnel in China

Effective August 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”) has issued two new changes to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) reinforcing national defense priorities that limit DoD

Continue Reading In the Interest of National Security – Two New DFARS Rules Reinforce Increased Scrutiny For Chinese-Origin Supply Chains

On March 18, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) issued its long-awaited Final Rule implementing Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (“NDAA FY 2018”), and formally codifying defense contractors’ rights to post-award enhanced debriefings. Contractors have been bound by a Class Deviation implementing these requirements since March 2018, with DOD only issuing its proposed rule in May 2021. Though the Final Rule largely tracks the proposed rule, it does include several important clarifications, and, of course, directly impacts timeliness rules for filing post-award protests of DOD awards at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”).
Continue Reading The Impact of DOD’s Enhanced Debriefings Rule on Bid Protest Timeliness

At long last, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) has provided its interim rule, published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2020, amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) to set forth requirements for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (“CMMC”) program, as well as new requirements for a “NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment Methodology.”  The interim rule is effective November 30, 2020, and comments to the interim rule should be submitted by November 30 as well.  Continue reading for our breakdown of key provisions.
Continue Reading DoD’s Long Awaited Rule on CMMC – Plus a New Cybersecurity Assessment Methodology for Contractors to Start Right Now

To further assist the contractor community with the effects of the unprecedented Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued on April 8, 2020 a Class Deviation authorizing contracting officers to use a new clause – DFARS 231.205-79, CARES Act Section 3610 Implementation – to address contractor reimbursement under Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116-136).  Section 3610 allows agencies to reimburse paid leave, including sick leave, that a contractor provides to keep its employees or subcontractors in a ready state, including to protect the life and safety of Government and contractor personnel, during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Paid leave is reimbursable at the contractor’s minimum billing rates under its contracts, and may be allowed for up to an average of 40 hours per week.
Continue Reading DoD Issues Class Deviation to Address Contractor Reimbursement for Paid Leave Required to Maintain a Mission-Ready Workforce During the COVID-19 Outbreak Pursuant to Section 3610 of the CARES Act

On August 2, 2016, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) rolled out new requirements for defense contractors that provide electronic parts and assemblies containing electronic parts. The new rules impose significant risks on DOD contractors.  One clause mandates a specific purchasing hierarchy, with requirements to purchase from the original manufacturer or authorized suppliers thereof when available.  When an original source is not available, contractors are now required essentially to “vouch” for their suppliers, assuming all the risks if a vendor delivers a counterfeit or suspect counterfeit part. Simultaneously, DOD issued a second clause, which requires certain covered contractors in the DOD supply chain to establish and maintain an acceptable electronic part detection and avoidance system. Failure to implement an effective plan may disqualify a vendor from providing products to the DOD. These new rules come very close to imposing a near “strict liability” standard on DOD contractors, asking them to essentially guarantee the supply chain.  Cross your heart and hope to die.
Continue Reading Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die – New DFARS Clauses Target Counterfeit Electronic Parts