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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 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.

On October 3, 2023, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council released two new proposed cybersecurity rules. The first of the two, covered in a separate blog, is titled “Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing,” and adds new requirements to the cybersecurity incident reporting obligations of federal contractors. The second rule, titled “Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems,” covers cybersecurity contractual requirements for unclassified Federal information systems.

Both rules arise from Executive Order 14028, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” issued by President Biden on May 12, 2021 (the “Cyber EO”). We have covered developments under this Executive Order as part of a series of monthly posts. 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 November 2023. This blog describes key requirements imposed by the proposed “Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems” rule (the “Proposed Standardizing Rule”)

Proposed Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems

As directed by the Cyber EO, the Proposed Standardizing Rule would establish cybersecurity policies, procedures, and requirements for contractors that develop, implement, operate, or maintain Federal Information Systems (“FIS”). Under the rule, a FIS is defined as “an information system used or operated by an agency, by a contractor of an agency, or by another organization on behalf of an agency.”Continue Reading Proposed FAR Rule: “Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems”

This is the thirty first 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 actions taken by various government agencies to implement the Cyber EO from June 2021 through October 2023.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during November 2023.  It also describes key actions taken during November 2023 to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (the “AI EO”), particularly its provisions that impact cybersecurity, secure software, and federal government contractors.Continue Reading November 2023 Developments Under President Biden’s Cybersecurity andArtificial Intelligence Executive Orders and National Cybersecurity Strategy

This is the thirtieth 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

Echoing the Obama Administration’s Better Buying Initiative, the Biden Administration announced the Better Contracting Initiative (“BCI”), a four-pronged initiative designed to ensure the Federal Government gets better, and more consistent, terms and prices when purchasing commercial goods and services, while enhancing support for small and disadvantaged businesses.  The Initiative’s four prongs include:Continue Reading More Bang for the Government’s Buck: The Biden Administration Announces the Better Contracting Initiative

This is the twenty-ninth 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 August 2023.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during September 2023. Continue Reading September 2023 Developments Under President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order and National Cybersecurity Strategy

On October 5, 2023, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) issued an interim Federal Acquisition Regulation rule (FAR rule) that implements the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act (FASCSA).  This FAR rule implements the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act of 2018 and the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) final rule for complying with exclusion or removal orders. The FAR rule represents yet another step by the Government to mitigate the security risks that the Government perceives with the use of information technology that may be produced or provided by countries considered to be foreign adversaries.  Like similar supply chain prohibitions, the rule requires contractors to conduct diligence to ensure that articles and sources covered by a FASCA exclusion or removal order are not provided to the Government, to make an affirmative representation to the Government that such articles and sources will not be provided, and to promptly report if any are identified.  The FAR rule will become effective on December 4, 2023, and will apply to new contracts and contracts subject to extension or renewal.  The rule instructs that existing IDIQ contracts should be modified by the Government within six months of December 4, 2023 to apply the requirements to future orders.

Additional information about the rule and its relationship to existing FASCSA regulations is outlined below.Continue Reading FAR Council Issues Interim Rule Outlining Procedures Relating to Excluded Covered Articles and Sources

On October 3, 2023, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council released two new proposed cybersecurity rules. The first of the two, titled “Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing,” adds new requirements to the cybersecurity incident reporting obligations of federal contractors. The second rule, which we will cover in a separate blog post, is titled “Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems” and covers cybersecurity contractual requirements for unclassified Federal information systems.

Both rules arise from Executive Order 14028, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity,” issued by President Biden on May 12, 2021 (the “Cyber EO”). We have covered developments under this Executive Order as part of a series of monthly posts. 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 September 2023. This blog describes key requirements imposed by the proposed “Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing” rule.Continue Reading FAR Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing Rule

Following our recent overview of topics to watch in the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2024, available here, we continue our coverage with a “deep dive” into NDAA provisions related to cybersecurity and software security in each of the Senate and House bills.  For the past three years, the NDAA has dedicated a separate Title to cyber and cybersecurity, reflecting the increased importance of these issues in Department of Defense (“DoD”) operations.  As expected, both the Senate and House versions of the NDAA bill continue this tradition.  Many of the cyberspace related provisions in both chambers’ bills would have direct or indirect impacts on DoD contractors and other members of the Defense Industrial Base (“DIB”).  We summarize below the cyber-related provisions that are most likely to impact the DIB. Continue Reading Key Cyber Security and Software Security Provisions of the House and Senate Versions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

This is the twenty-eighth 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 July 2023.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during August 2023. Continue Reading August 2023 Developments Under President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order and National Cybersecurity Strategy

This is the twenty-seventh 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 June 2023.  This blog describes key actions taken to implement the Cyber EO, as well as the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy, during July 2023. Continue Reading July 2023 Developments Under President Biden’s Cybersecurity Executive Order and National Cybersecurity Strategy