This is part of an ongoing 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 subsequent blogs described the actions taken by various government agencies to implement the Cyber EO from June 2021 through May 2024.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during June 2024.  It also describes key actions taken during May 2024 to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (the “AI EO”), particularly its provisions that impact cybersecurity, national security, and software supply chain security.

Office of Management and Budget Releases Report on Agency Cybersecurity Activities Under the Federal Infrastructure Modernization Act

On June 7, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released an annual report in connection with its obligations under the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (“FISMA”).  The report highlights the progress that the Administration has made to securing Government under the Cyber EO, including by improving the roll out of endpoint detection and response (“EDR”) and multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) across the Government.  The report also highlights the Administration’s efforts to move towards full implementation of zero trust principles across the Government by the end of FY2024.  The report assigned a composite score (out of 100) based on an evaluation of agency information security policies and practices of between 90-100 for 12 agencies, of between 80-89 for 7 agencies, and of between 70-79 for 4 agencies.  The report also indicates that agencies have largely been successful in meeting the deadlines outlined in the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan.

The FedRAMP Program Office Releases Emerging Technology Prioritization Framework

In connection with the directive in Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-24-10 on agency use of artificial intelligence, in mid-June the FedRAMP program office released a framework for prioritizing emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, for FedRAMP authorizations.  FedRAMP authorizations are generally required for agencies to use cloud services.  The process can be lengthy, and in some cases it can be difficult to obtain sponsorship or provisional authorization from the Joint Authorization Board.  Under the framework, FedRAMP will generally prioritize generative AI chat interfaces, generative AI code-generation and debugging tools, generative AI prompt-based image generators, and general purpose API offerings that facilitate the integration generative AI capabilities into new or existing systems.  There will be three offerings that will be prioritized in each of these categories, which entitles the service provider to move to the front of the line for obtain an authorization. 

NIST Issues Draft National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technology

On June 26, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) released a draft document on leveraging critical and emerging technology (“CET”).  The report is centered around four objectives:  (1) increase investment, (2) broaden participation, (3) enhance workforce, and (4) sustain integrity and inclusivity. 

The report sets forth an implementation roadmap that among other things, recommends that the U.S. Government take immediate action to identify opportunity to increase standards participation; track grants and programs that promote, foster, and remove barriers to U.S. stakeholder participation in international standards activities; and track and evaluating current USG technology cooperation agreements with other governments.  On a more long term basis, the report recommends that the U.S. Government:

  1. “enhance standards coordination across the federal government;
  2. enhance standards coordination with the private sector;
  3. enhance standards policy coordination between the USG and foreign governments;
  4. recognize and incentivize federal agency engagement in standardization;
  5. provide strong and sustained funding for CET R&D and pre-standardization coordination;
  6. engage academia as a critical partner in standards development efforts;
  7. enhance educational efforts in standards;
  8. develop and sustain communications about standards; and
  9. remove barriers to participation in standardization.”

Public comments on the report on due on July 12.

FedRAMP issues Guidance on Secure Software Development

On June 28, the FedRAMP program office issued guidance relating to the Secure Software Development Framework.  That framework, set forth under Office of Management and Budget memoranda M-22-18 (“Enhancing the Security of the Software Supply Chain through Secure Software Development Practices”) and M-23-16 (“Update to Memorandum M-22-18, Enhancing the Security of the Software Supply Chain through Secure Software Development Practices”), requires agencies to obtain attestations or other assurance from the developers of certain software that the agencies procure and use that the software is developed using secure development practices. The FedRAMP guidance recognizes, consistent with OMB guidance, that cloud service providers participating in the FedRAMP program are subject these requirements and that “critical” software attestations were due by June 8, 2024, whereas all other software attestations are due September 8, 2024.

The guidance also recognizes that agencies are responsible for informing software developers, including cloud service providers such as software-as-a-service providers, whether the software that they are offering is “critical” software.  The guidance directs cloud services providers to upload their attestations to these secure development practices to incident response folder in the FedRAMP secure repository in addition to the CISA Repository for Software Attestations and Artifacts.  The guidance further directs cloud service providers to email agency customers and the FedRAMP program office to inform them that the forms have been uploaded.  If a cloud service provider has not uploaded an attestation form or the results of a third party assessment of its development practices to the appropriate folder, then agencies are required to contact the service provider directly to request it.

Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
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 Ashden Fein Ashden Fein

Ashden Fein advises clients on cybersecurity and national security matters, including crisis management and incident response, risk management and governance, government and internal investigations, and regulatory compliance.

For cybersecurity matters, Mr. Fein counsels clients on preparing for and responding to cyber-based attacks, assessing…

Ashden Fein advises clients on cybersecurity and national security matters, including crisis management and incident response, risk management and governance, government and internal investigations, and regulatory compliance.

For cybersecurity matters, Mr. Fein counsels clients on preparing for and responding to cyber-based attacks, assessing security controls and practices for the protection of data and systems, developing and implementing cybersecurity risk management and governance programs, and complying with federal and state regulatory requirements. Mr. Fein frequently supports clients as the lead investigator and crisis manager for global cyber and data security incidents, including data breaches involving personal data, advanced persistent threats targeting intellectual property across industries, state-sponsored theft of sensitive U.S. government information, and destructive attacks.

Additionally, Mr. Fein assists clients from across industries with leading internal investigations and responding to government inquiries related to the U.S. national security. He also advises aerospace, defense, and intelligence contractors on security compliance under U.S. national security laws and regulations including, among others, the National Industrial Security Program (NISPOM), U.S. government cybersecurity regulations, and requirements related to supply chain security.

Before joining Covington, Mr. Fein served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a Military Intelligence officer and prosecutor specializing in cybercrime and national security investigations and prosecutions — to include serving as the lead trial lawyer in the prosecution of Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning for the unlawful disclosure of classified information to Wikileaks.

Mr. Fein currently serves as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve.

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.