On September 29, 2020, the Department of Defense (DoD) released an interim rule that industry hoped would provide clear guidance with regard to DoD’s implementation of its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) framework. The vast majority of the rule focuses on DoD’s increased requirements for confirming that contractors are currently in compliance with all 110 security controls in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171 (NIST 800-171). The interim rule also includes a clause for adding CMMC as a requirement in a DoD contract, but the clause fails to address many of the questions that industry has with regard to implementation of the CMMC program. The rule becomes effective November 30, 2020. We have written previously on NIST 800-171 and the CMMC here and here respectively.
DoD has been focused on improving the cyber resiliency and security of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) sector for over a decade. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. The interim rule is one of multiple efforts by DoD focused on the broader supply chain security and resiliency of the DIB and builds on existing FAR and DFARS clause cybersecurity requirements. Increasing security concerns coupled with recent high-profile data breaches have led DoD to move beyond self-certification to auditable verification systems when it comes to protecting sensitive Government information.