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
A lot has happened since the Department of Defense (“DOD”) released its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) v. 1.0 back in February (see our prior discussion here). In addition to developments with the CMMC Accreditation Body (“CMMC AB”), DOD has clarified applicability of the program to Commercially available off-the-shelf (“COTS”) providers and the impact of COVID-19 on program implementation.
Continue Reading DOD CMMC Update – Third Party Auditors Gear Up and COTS Providers Get a Pass
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
The Department of Defense (“DoD”) recently proposed to make specified costs allowable that are associated with discovering and correcting counterfeit or suspect counterfeit electronic parts. DoD’s proposed rule would amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) to implement the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for Fiscal Year 2016.
Continue Reading DoD Proposes Cost Allowability Rule for Correcting Counterfeit Electronic Parts
If you are a contractor that interacts with both the Department of Defense and “electronic parts,” it is time to grab the caffeinated beverage of your choice, crack open 79 FR 26,092, and begin the bone-tingling read that is sure to keep many supply chain managers up at night. Implementing the requirements found in the National Defense Authorization Acts for FY2012 and FY2013, the DoD’s counterfeit parts rule was finalized and published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2012. Effective immediately, the new series of regulations apply to defense contractors using, relying on, or selling to the DoD an “electronic part,” as that term is now newly defined. Although it may spoil the ending and break the cardinal rule of reading any thriller, we provide here the “Cliffs Notes” version of the regulations’ lengthy preamble and the key takeaways of the new Rule and its proposed application.
Continue Reading “They’re Here” – What You Need to Know Now About the Chilling New DoD Counterfeit Parts Rule … and its NASA “Spinoff”
Every now and then, the FAR Councils issue a Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) – an update to the Federal Acquisition Regulation implementing a number of changes. Often these changes are rather pro forma. But occasionally, you get a Circular with many different (and interesting) issues. FAC 2005-67, issued in late-June 2013, with rules becoming effective in June and July 2013, is one such circular. We thought it would be helpful to highlight five of these rules that raise interesting and timely issues, especially where they may signal additional changes yet to come.
Continue Reading Lots of Little Things – FAR Updates from the Federal Acquisition Circular
Earlier this month, we wrote about a new proposed rule from the Department of Energy imposing new and onerous requirements relating to compliance with the U.S. export control laws. DOE claimed that this proposed rule was modeled on a prior rule included in the Department of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) at DFARS Subpart 204.73 and DFARS 252.204-7008, promulgated originally in 2008 (and discussed here). But be aware that those DFARS rules were recently removed. Kind of. In case you were not paying attention, the DFARS export restrictions were recently moved to DFARS Subpart 225.79 and DFARS 252.225-7048. See 78 Fed. Reg. 36108. So, even though the citations may have changed, the song remains the same.Continue Reading “The Song Remains the Same” – DFARS Removes and Replaces Restrictions on Export Controls
By Mark Jensen
Each month, we try to review the Federal Register and post an update summarizing some of the more interesting developments. This month, two of the topics – a proposed rule from the Department of Energy relating to onerous export requirements, and a final rule from the Small Business Administration relating to increased risks for contractors – are reported separately. But beyond these updates, there were several other interesting developments published in the Federal Register this month, showing hopeful signs of simplified and improved governance. And we all like improvements.Continue Reading What’s New Out There? A Regulatory Update (“Promising Improvements” Edition)