Top 6 Gov’t Contracts Policies to Watch: Midyear Report
The U.S. Department of Defense is expected to finalize a major overhaul of cybersecurity requirements for contractors in the second half of 2021, while contractors will also be keeping a close watch on proposed False Claims Act changes.
Here are six government enforcement priorities and pending policy moves that federal contractors should be watching during the rest of the year:
Like with CMMC, the overall cost of complying with Part B has been estimated in the billions of dollars, and the interim rule has drawn heavy criticism from contractors and their attorneys over a lack of clarity around key terms in the rule, like the extent of the “reasonable inquiry” needed to look for banned equipment in a supply chain, or what “use” of a covered piece of equipment or service actually means.
While there have been some temporary waivers granted, the interim rule affords effectively no exceptions, applying broadly to equipment used by federal contractors and suppliers across all parts of their business, said Blank Rome LLP partner Merle DeLancey.
“Everybody’s trying to tie 889 to some sort of nexus to a government contract,” he said. “Sorry, Part B doesn’t require a nexus. You used it, period.”
In addition to clarity regarding key definitions, other open questions that need to be addressed in the now-overdue final rule, originally expected around May, include how it will apply to personal equipment used by contractors’ employees working from home, a much bigger issue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeLancey noted.
“They could be easy, or they could really turn things upside down,” he said.
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“Top 6 Gov’t Contracts Policies to Watch: Midyear Report,” by Daniel Wilson was published in Law360 on July 28, 2021.