Law360 published an article recently with the title, “DoD Official Says Cyber is an Allowable Contractor Cost.” The article states that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will allow defense contractors to treat the costs of bringing their cybersecurity programs in line with DoD requirements as an allowable cost and, therefore, reimbursable. Specifically, at the June 14, 2019 Professional Services Council’s Federal Acquisition Conference, DoD special assistant for cybersecurity Katie Arrington said, “security is an allowable cost.”
Further, Law360 reported that in May, DoD said it was developing a “Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification” (CMMC) program to build on the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement regulation (DFARS § 252.204-7012(b)(2)) that requires defense contractors to implement the security controls in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Special Publication (NIST SP) 800-171. The security controls are intended to protect covered defense information on nonfederal systems. DoD said the CMMC will require defense contractors to get third-party audits of their compliance with the NIST SP 800-171 controls, down through their supply chains.
Arrington told the conference attendees that the CMMC will be developed by DoD working in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. The goal is to develop one unified standard for cybersecurity. This standard will include five different levels of required cybersecurity protections, from a level one of “basic hygiene,” which will be cheap and straightforward enough that a small business could meet it, to level five for “state-of-the-art” protections. Arrington said that DoD has planned 12 related industry days across the United States in July and August to work in a collaborative manner with defense contractors to improve cybersecurity practices in the CMMC plan. Acknowledgments to Daniel Wilson and Law360 for reporting these developments.
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