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Townsend Bourne is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. She also is Leader of the firm’s Aerospace, Defense & Government Services Team.

Per Executive Order 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum on September 14, 2022 requiring federal agencies to only use software from software producers that attest compliance with secure software development guidance issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Continue Reading Federal Government Outlines New Security and Attestation Requirements for Software

On July 19, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a Pre-Draft Call for Comments, seeking feedback on improving its Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) series of publications. The comment period currently is open and scheduled to close on September 16, 2022

Continue Reading NIST Wants Your Input – Updating NIST’s Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Guidelines

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (the “FAR Council”) currently is considering amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that would elevate the consideration of climate-related risks in Federal Government contracting.

Continue Reading ESG for Government Contractors: Climate-Related Risk Considerations in Federal Procurement

On March 8, 2022, just five months after the creation of the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) new Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative (previously discussed here), the DOJ announced its first settlement of a cyber-related fraud case. Under the settlement agreement, Comprehensive Health Services LLC (“CHS”) will pay $930,000 to resolve whistleblower allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by (among other things) failing to properly store and handle confidential information. This likely is just the start for increased cyber-related enforcement actions.


Continue Reading Well, That Didn’t Take Long – DOJ Announces its First Settlement of a Civil Cyber-Fraud Case

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) is seeking comments on its second draft of NIST SP 800-161 Rev. 1, “Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management Practices for Systems and Organizations,” published on October 28, 2021. We previously discussed the release of the first draft here. The public comment period currently is open and concludes on December 3, 2021. NIST anticipates releasing a final version during the third quarter of 2022.


Continue Reading Seeking HoNIST Opinions, Part II – NIST Invites Comments on Major Revision to Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management Practices and Software Guidelines Mandated By Cybersecurity Executive Order

On November 4, 2021, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) announced several changes to the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (“CMMC”) program – the program that DOD intends to use to enhance the security of the defense industrial base through assessments and third-party cybersecurity certifications.[1] The new version of the program – “CMMC 2.0” – is a result of DOD’s internal review of the CMMC program implemented thus far (“CMMC 1.0”), which began following the release of an interim rule in September 2020, and included review of over 850 public comments. DOD intends to engage in additional rulemaking to refine and finalize CMMC 2.0. Although the overall goal of the program remains focused on safeguarding sensitive unclassified information, CMMC 2.0 includes several important differences from the original program, as discussed in greater detail below.

Continue Reading DOD Updates Its Cybersecurity Certification Program – CMMC 2.0: What Contractors Need to Know

On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a new Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative to enforce cybersecurity standards and reporting requirements. The Initiative will use DOJ’s civil enforcement mechanisms, namely the False Claims Act, to pursue government contractors and federal grant recipients that “knowingly provid[e] deficient cybersecurity products or services, knowingly misrepresent[] their cybersecurity practices or protocols, or knowingly violat[e] obligations to monitor and report cybersecurity incidents and breaches.” DOJ will not limit enforcement to entities; individuals also can be held accountable for cybersecurity-related fraud. Under the False Claims Act, penalties for such violations could be substantial, including treble damages.

Continue Reading DOJ Announces Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative To Enforce Contractor Cybersecurity Compliance

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released its draft Federal Zero Trust Strategy under President Biden’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity (No. 14028) (discussed previously here and
Continue Reading Moving to Zero Trust – CISA and OMB Seek Comments on Zero Trust Publications and Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture under Cybersecurity Executive Order

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) is seeking comments on its draft NIST SP 800-160, Volume 2, Revision 1, “Developing Cyber-Resilient Systems: A Systems Security Engineering Approach,” and draft NIST SP 800-53A, Revision 5, “Assessing Security and Privacy Controls in Information Systems and Organizations.” The public comment periods currently are open and conclude on September 20, 2021 and October 1, 2021, respectively.

Continue Reading Double Time – NIST Seeks Comments on Major Revision to Practices for Developing Cyber-Resilient Systems (SP 800-160) and Assessing Security and Privacy Controls in Information Systems and Organizations (SP 800-53A)