DOD proposes new cybersecurity requirements for contractors

Changes to acquisition regulation include notifying DOD of cyber breaches

Federal contractors whose information systems contain unclassified Defense Department information would have to safeguard that information from unauthorized access and notify DOD of any breaches under a proposed rule published today.

DOD wants to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to add new clauses that deal with handling unclassified information, a Federal Register notice states. Public comments are due by Aug. 29.


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The proposed rule stipulates basic requirements for security that apply to information that is designated as critical program information, subject to export controls, exempt from mandatory public disclosure, bearing a designation of controlled access and dissemination, or personally identifiable, the notice states.

DOD officials believe the proposed rule could have an economic impact on more than 48,000 small businesses, but the extent would be less than 1 percent of revenue for each business, they said.

The rule would require contractors and subcontractors to provide adequate information security for unclassified DOD information held on their systems or moving through their systems.

Contractors must also report cyber incidents that affect the unclassified information, but those reports will not be taken as proof of failure to provide adequate security, the notice states.

“A cyber incident that is properly reported by the contractor shall not, by itself, be interpreted as evidence that the contractor has failed to provide adequate information safeguards for DOD unclassified information or has otherwise failed to meet the requirements of the clause,” the notice states.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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