Supply Chain

On May 16, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) published Notice 2024-41 (the “2024 Guidance”), which provides new guidance for securing the domestic content bonus credit established by the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”).  As described in more detail below, the 2024 Guidance builds on the existing framework contained in Notice 2023-38 (the “2023 Guidance”), which was released last May.  Most notably, the 2024 Guidance expands the range of applicable projects subject to the safe harbor in the 2023 Guidance and adds a “New Elective Safe Harbor” to determine cost percentages for the domestic content calculation in solar, onshore wind, and battery storage projects.Continue Reading Treasury and IRS Release New Guidance on Inflation Reduction Act Domestic Content Bonus Credit

Today, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (“FAR Council”) released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “ANPRM”) describing the agencies’ plan to implement Section 5949 of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for FY 23 (Pub. L. 117-263).

Section 5949 prohibits the Federal Government from procuring certain semiconductor parts, products, or services traceable to named Chinese companies and potentially other foreign countries of concern.  To that end, the ANPRM invites public comment on the proposed contents of an implementing FAR clause, to take effect December 23, 2027.

As discussed below, the FAR Council proposed applying the regulations broadly to all solicitations and contracts, including commercial item and commercially available off-the-shelf (“COTS”) contracts, subject only to a limited waiver.  Although not set out in the statute, the clause would require contractors to conduct a “reasonable inquiry” into their supply chain to detect potential violations.  It would also require both disclosure and the taking of corrective action in the event that nonconforming products or services are discovered. 

More details are below, and our previous coverage of Section 5949 is available here.Continue Reading Chips on the Table: FAR Council Releases Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Implement Prohibition on Purchase and Use of Certain Semiconductors

On March 11, 2024 the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), released the much anticipated final version of its common Secure Software Development Attestation Form.  Finalization of the form is a notable development for developers of software that is sold to the U.S. Government for two reasons.  First, the form is expected to be used widely by Government agencies to fulfill requirements set forth in recent OMB memoranda for those agencies to ensure that the software they procure or use is secure by requiring attestations from software developers.  Second, as set forth under OMB guidance, final approval of the form by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) triggers a countdown wherein agencies need to begin collection of the forms within three months for “critical software” and within six months for all other software.Continue Reading OMB Approves Final CISA Secure Software Attestation Common Form, Triggering Clock for Collection

On March 7, 2024, the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) announced a proposed rule to rescind a longstanding general waiver of Buy America requirements for manufactured products (the “Manufactured Products Waiver”).  If finalized, this would be a major change for the agency, reversing a policy that has been in place for more than 40 years.

FHWA has imposed Buy America requirements for domestic iron and steel on its projects since 1978 (see 23 U.S.C. § 313; 23 CFR § 635.410), but in 1983, the agency determined that it was in the public interest to waive the requirement as to manufactured products based on the agency’s belief that manufactured products were not used in federal highway projects in sufficient quantities to have an effect on the overall cost of a project and therefore did not require Buy America protections.  That general waiver has been in place ever since.

This change in policy comes in the wake of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Build America, Buy America (“BABA”) provisions, which expanded Buy America coverage broadly in federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure.  BABA requires that all steel, iron, construction materials, and manufactured products used in such products be “produced in the United States.”  BABA also discourages the use of general applicability waivers like FHWA’s Manufactured Products Waiver and required review of existing waivers. 

FHWA sought comments on its longstanding manufactured products waiver in March 2023 and received over 9,400 comments from the public.  Commenters included manufacturers, labor organizations, construction contractors, industry associations, State departments of transportation, and even members of Congress.  Based on a consideration of this feedback and in recognition of other domestic content policies, including Executive Order 14005, “Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers,” FHWA is proposing to discontinue its Manufactured Products Waiver and modify its regulations to include domestic content requirements for manufactured products.Continue Reading Federal Highway Administration Announces Proposed Rule Ending Longstanding Buy America Waiver for Manufactured Products

On January 4, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced that it has filed criminal wire fraud and false statement charges against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company that knowingly sold certain surveillance and security cameras to prosecutors’ offices, sheriffs’ offices, and police departments in the state of

This post continues our ongoing coverage of the FY 2024 NDAA. 

The FY 2024 NDAA includes numerous supply chain and stockpile management provisions aimed at addressing a host of perceived vulnerabilities and weaknesses in Department of Defense (“DoD”) supply chain networks used to secure goods and services for our national defense.  Of particular note, this year’s NDAA seeks to address China’s and Russia’s continued dominance in the global supply chain for many critical materials and rare earth elements.  Supply chain- and stockpile-related measures in the NDAA could present significant opportunities for contractors poised to support the U.S. Government’s efforts to on-shore and friend-shore U.S. and DoD sourcing and manufacturing, but Congress’s focus on increasing supply chain visibility could also herald new rounds of compliance and reporting requirements attached to federal procurements.Continue Reading Key Supply Chain Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2024

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

Following our recent overview of key 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 the People’s Republic of China (“China” or “PRC”) in each of the House and Senate bills.  DoD’s focus on strengthening U.S. deterrence and competitive positioning vis-à-vis China features prominently in the 2022 National Defense Strategy (“NDS”) and in recent national security discourse.  This focus is shared by the Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (“Select Committee”), led by Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). 

It is no surprise, then, that House and Senate versions of the NDAA include hundreds of provisions—leveraging all elements of national power—intended to address what the NDS brands as China’s “pacing” challenge, including many grounded in Select Committee policy recommendations.  Because the NDAA is viewed as “must-pass” legislation, it has served in past years as a vehicle through which other bills not directly related to DoD are enacted in law.  In one respect, this year is no different—the Senate version of the NDAA incorporates both the Department of State and Intelligence 2024 Authorization bills, each of which includes provisions related to China. Continue Reading Not to Be Outpaced: NDAA Presents Measures Addressing China

It’s that time of year again: the House and Senate have each passed their respective version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024 (“NDAA”) (H.R. 2670, S. 2226).  The NDAA is a “must pass” set of policy programs and discretionary authorizations to fund Department of Defense (“DoD”) operations.  Lawmakers are currently undertaking the arduous process of reconciling these bills, while jockeying to include topics of importance in the final legislation.  The engrossed bills contain a number of significant provisions for defense contractors, technology providers, life science companies and commercial-item contractors – many of which we discuss briefly below and others that we will analyze in more depth in our NDAA series in the coming weeks.  Subscribe to our blog here so that you do not miss these updates.Continue Reading Key Topics to Watch as Congress Works to Fund Next Year’s DoD Budget

This is the twenty-sixth 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