This is the fourteenth in a series of Covington blogs on implementation of Executive Order 14028, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” issued by President Biden on May 12, 2021 (the “Cyber EO”).  The first blog summarized the Cyber EO’s key provisions and timelines, and the subsequent blogs described the actions taken by various Government agencies to implement the Cyber EO from June 2021 through May 2022.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO during June 2022.

NIST Issues Final Draft Guidance on Engineering Secure Systems

On June 7, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a final draft of its Special Publication (SP) 800-160, Volume 1, Revision 1, titled “Engineering Trustworthy Secure Systems.”  According to NIST, the updated draft publication provides a “renewed emphasis on the importance of systems engineering and viewing systems security engineering as a critical sub-discipline necessary to achieving trustworthy secure systems.”  The draft provides systems engineers with design principles and a methodology for developing trustworthy secure systems, it clarifies key systems engineering and systems security engineering terminology, and provides additional references to international standards and technical guidance to support the security aspects of the systems engineering process.

CISA Releases Version 2.0 of Its Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the second version of its Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) guidance on June 22, 2022.  Section 3(c)(ii) of the Cyber EO provides that the purpose of the Cloud Security TRA is to outline recommended approaches to cloud migration and data protection and to provide guidance for agencies’ secure migration to the cloud..  Contributing authors were CISA, the United States Digital Service and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management (FedRAMP) program.  The TRA reflects a number of changes from the prior draft published in September 2021 in response to more than 300 comments that CISA received on the prior draft.  

NIST Issues Guidance and Discussion Paper Regarding its Cybersecurity  Internet of Things (IoT) Program, Hosts a Workshop, and Awards CRADAs to Partners For Solutions for Secure Network-Layer Onboarding of IoT Devices

NIST took several steps in June 2022 in furtherance of its IoT Cybersecurity Program.  First, NIST issued draft guidance for public comment on the baseline criteria for consumer IoT product labelling that it developed pursuant to the Cyber EO. Second, NIST issued for public comment a draft Discussion Essay titled “Ideas for the Future of IoT Cybersecurity at NIST: IoT Risk Identification Complexity”, which sets forth various considerations and approaches for identifying and addressing risks for IoT devices.  Third, NIST held a virtual workshop on June 22, 2022, during which NIST officials, industry representatives, and other stakeholders discussed the results of NIST’s cybersecurity labelling initiative for IoT devices and issues related to IoT device cybersecurity generally.  Finally, on June 27, 2022, NIST entered into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with fourteen different organizations to develop solutions to ensure the security credentials of IoT devices that are attempting to connect to a network.. 

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Photo of Robert Huffman Robert Huffman

Bob Huffman counsels government contractors on emerging technology issues, including artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and software supply chain security, that are currently affecting federal and state procurement. His areas of expertise include the Department of Defense (DOD) and other agency acquisition regulations governing…

Bob Huffman counsels government contractors on emerging technology issues, including artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and software supply chain security, that are currently affecting federal and state procurement. His areas of expertise include the Department of Defense (DOD) and other agency acquisition regulations governing information security and the reporting of cyber incidents, the proposed Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program, the requirements for secure software development self-attestations and bills of materials (SBOMs) emanating from the May 2021 Executive Order on Cybersecurity, and the various requirements for responsible AI procurement, safety, and testing currently being implemented under the October 2023 AI Executive Order. 

Bob also represents contractors in False Claims Act (FCA) litigation and investigations involving cybersecurity and other technology compliance issues, as well more traditional government contracting costs, quality, and regulatory compliance issues. These investigations include significant parallel civil/criminal proceedings growing out of the Department of Justice’s Cyber Fraud Initiative. They also include investigations resulting from False Claims Act qui tam lawsuits and other enforcement proceedings. Bob has represented clients in over a dozen FCA qui tam suits.

Bob also regularly counsels clients on government contracting supply chain compliance issues, including those arising under the Buy American Act/Trade Agreements Act and Section 889 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act. In addition, Bob advises government contractors on rules relating to IP, including government patent rights, technical data rights, rights in computer software, and the rules applicable to IP in the acquisition of commercial products, services, and software. He focuses this aspect of his practice on the overlap of these traditional government contracts IP rules with the IP issues associated with the acquisition of AI services and the data needed to train the large learning models on which those services are based. 

Bob writes extensively in the areas of procurement-related AI, cybersecurity, software security, and supply chain regulation. He also teaches a course at Georgetown Law School that focuses on the technology, supply chain, and national security issues associated with energy and climate change.

Photo of Susan B. Cassidy Susan B. Cassidy

Ms. Cassidy represents clients in the defense, intelligence, and information technologies sectors.  She works with clients to navigate the complex rules and regulations that govern federal procurement and her practice includes both counseling and litigation components.  Ms. Cassidy conducts internal investigations for government…

Ms. Cassidy represents clients in the defense, intelligence, and information technologies sectors.  She works with clients to navigate the complex rules and regulations that govern federal procurement and her practice includes both counseling and litigation components.  Ms. Cassidy conducts internal investigations for government contractors and represents her clients before the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA), Inspectors General (IG), and the Department of Justice with regard to those investigations.  From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Cassidy served as in-house counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, supporting both defense and intelligence programs. Previously, Ms. Cassidy held an in-house position with Motorola Inc., leading a team of lawyers supporting sales of commercial communications products and services to US government defense and civilian agencies. Prior to going in-house, Ms. Cassidy was a litigation and government contracts partner in an international law firm headquartered in Washington, DC.

Photo of Michael Wagner Michael Wagner

Mike Wagner helps government contractors navigate high-stakes enforcement matters and complex regulatory regimes.

Combining deep regulatory knowledge with extensive investigations experience, Mr. Wagner works closely with contractors across a range of industries to achieve the efficient resolution of regulatory enforcement actions and government…

Mike Wagner helps government contractors navigate high-stakes enforcement matters and complex regulatory regimes.

Combining deep regulatory knowledge with extensive investigations experience, Mr. Wagner works closely with contractors across a range of industries to achieve the efficient resolution of regulatory enforcement actions and government investigations, including False Claims Act cases. He has particular expertise representing individuals and companies in suspension and debarment proceedings, and he has successfully resolved numerous such matters at both the agency and district court level. He also routinely conducts internal investigations of potential compliance issues and advises clients on voluntary and mandatory disclosures to federal agencies.

In his contract disputes and advisory work, Mr. Wagner helps government contractors resolve complex issues arising at all stages of the public procurement process. As lead counsel, he has successfully litigated disputes at the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, and he regularly assists contractors in preparing and pursuing contract claims. In his counseling practice, Mr. Wagner advises clients on best practices for managing a host of compliance obligations, including domestic sourcing requirements under the Buy American Act and Trade Agreements Act, safeguarding and reporting requirements under cybersecurity regulations, and pricing obligations under the GSA Schedules program. And he routinely assists contractors in navigating issues and disputes that arise during negotiations over teaming agreements and subcontracts.

Photo of Ryan Burnette Ryan Burnette

Ryan Burnette advises defense and civilian contractors on federal contracting compliance and on civil and internal investigations that stem from these obligations. Ryan has particular experience with clients that hold defense and intelligence community contracts and subcontracts, and has recognized expertise in national…

Ryan Burnette advises defense and civilian contractors on federal contracting compliance and on civil and internal investigations that stem from these obligations. Ryan has particular experience with clients that hold defense and intelligence community contracts and subcontracts, and has recognized expertise in national security related matters, including those matters that relate to federal cybersecurity and federal supply chain security. Ryan also advises on government cost accounting, FAR and DFARS compliance, public policy matters, and agency disputes. He speaks and writes regularly on government contracts and cybersecurity topics, drawing significantly on his prior experience in government to provide insight on the practical implications of regulations.

Emma Merrill

Emma Merrill is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. She advises clients on a broad range of issues related to government contracting, including both regulatory and transactional matters. She maintains an active pro bono practice.