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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.

On May 12, 2021, the Biden Administration issued its much anticipated “Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.” Below are provisions we believe will be of most interest to contractors, as well as any company that provides information technology (“IT”) and operational technology (“OT”) services, cloud computing, software, or internet of things (“IoT”) technology, as the new regulations and standards called for in the Order are likely to have an impact beyond government contractors.
Continue Reading Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order

On February 24, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14017, “Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains,” requiring a review of global supply chains that support key U.S. industries in an attempt to improve supply chain security for the U.S. government and U.S. companies. The new Executive Order appears to be an initial step focused on information gathering. Comprehensive reforms and supply chain strategies are likely to follow once the White House has collected key information.
Continue Reading Finding the Weak Links – President Biden Executive Order Demands Review of Critical U.S. Supply Chains

On December 21, 2020, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) published a final rule in the Federal Register that codifies the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (“NISPOM”) in the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) at 32 CFR part 117. The rule will become effective on February 24, 2021, giving contractors six months from the effective date to comply with the changes. Comments on the proposed change are due by February 19, 2021.[1]
Continue Reading The NISPOM is Becoming a Regulation & Contractors Have Six Months to Comply

Legislation directing the National Institute of Standards and technology (“NIST”) to create standards and guidelines for securing Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices used by Federal agencies and their contractors recently passed the Senate and is heading to the President’s desk. We have been following this legislation closely for the past two years, here and here.  The bill passed in the Senate without amendment by unanimous consent.
Continue Reading IoT Legislation Passes Congress

After many years of being in draft form, NIST recently released its final version of Revision 5 of Special Publication 800-53, Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations to address a need for a more proactive and systematic approach to cybersecurity. With the release of Revision 5, NIST hopes to provide updated security and privacy controls that will make information systems more penetration resistant, limit damages from cyber-attacks, make systems more cyber-resilient, and protect individuals’ privacy. NIST intends this update to be usable by a more diverse set of consumer groups than previous iterations of the document permitted.
Continue Reading NIST Issues Long-Awaited Final Guidance on Security and Privacy Controls – SP 800-53

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

On September 10, 2020, the General Services Administration (“GSA”) hosted a webinar related to its implementation of Section 889 of the 2019 NDAA – the ban relating to certain Chinese telecom companies – and associated updated FAR clauses.  (We previously have written about Section 889 here, here, here, and here).  Below we provide highlights from the meeting.  Slides presented at the meeting also are available here.
Continue Reading GSA’s Take on Implementation of Section 889

Congress recently advanced legislation that directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create standards and guidelines for securing Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices used by Federal agencies and their contractors. We previously reported on this legislation in April of 2019 when it was introduced in the House (H.R. 1668) and the Senate (S. 734). On September 14, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the legislation on a voice vote.
Continue Reading IoT Legislation Advances in Congress

NIST’s news draft guidance, Special Publication 800-53B, Control Baselines for Information Systems and Organizations, provides important information on selecting both security and privacy control baselines for the Federal Government. These control baselines are from NIST Special Publication 800-53 and have been moved to this separate publication “so the SP 800-53 [can] serve as a consolidated catalog of security and privacy controls regardless of how those controls [are] used by different communities of interest.”   The new guidance addresses federal information systems and is applicable to information systems used or operated by an agency, a contractor on behalf of an agency, or another organization on behalf of an agency.
Continue Reading NIST Issues Draft Guidance on Security and Privacy Control Baselines – SP 800-53B