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Cybersecurity & Data Privacy
Protecting Our Nation’s Data, Part 1: Cybersecurity Standardization Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems, November 1, 2023, Isaias “Cy” Alba, IV, Joseph P. Loman, Daniel Figuenick, III
New standardized cybersecurity compliance requirements are inbound. In early October 2023, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council issued a proposed rule (Proposed Rule) to standardize cybersecurity requirements across federal agencies for unclassified Federal Information Systems (FIS).  This blog, the first in a series, addresses why government contractors should familiarize themselves with these requirements as non-compliance could affect contract eligibility and payment, as well as exposure to False Claims Act (FCA) liability.  Read more here.
President Biden Issues Executive Order (EO) 14110 Regarding the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
EO 14110, dated October 30, 2023, requires executive departments and agencies to undertake numerous actions to advance and govern the development and use of AI in accordance with the following principles: (a) AI must be safe and secure; (b) promoting responsible innovation, competition, and collaboration will allow the United States to lead in AI and unlock the technology’s potential to solve some of society’s most difficult challenges; (c) the responsible development and use of AI require a commitment to supporting American workers; (d) AI policies must be consistent with the Biden Administration’s dedication to advancing equity and civil rights; (e) interests of Americans who increasingly use, interact with, or purchase AI and AI-enabled products must be protected; (f) privacy and civil liberties must be protected as AI continues advancing; (g) manage the risks from the Federal Government’s own use of AI and increase its internal capacity to regulate, govern, and support responsible use of AI to deliver better results; and (h) the Federal Government should lead the way to global societal, economic, and technological progress. EO 14110 is available here
GSA Administrator Praises Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence
On October 30, 2023, GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan and Technology Transformation Services Director Ann Lewis issued statements in support of the Executive Order signed by President Biden on Artificial Intelligence. Read more here
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Notice: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Institute Consortium
On November 2, 2023, NIST published a notice announcing that it is establishing the Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute Consortium (Consortium) to help equip and empower the collaborative establishment of a new measurement science that will enable the identification of proven, scalable, and interoperable techniques and metrics to promote development and responsible use of safe and trustworthy AI. NIST is soliciting responses from all sources of relevant technical capabilities to enter into a consortium Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to provide technical expertise and products, data, and/or models to enable safe and trustworthy AI systems. The project is in support of the AI RMF roadmap and the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence Executive Order. The Notice is available here. The full project can be viewed here.
Agencies get marching orders as White House issues AI-safety directive, Government Executive, Patrick Tucker
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is ordered to draft red-teaming requirements, the National Science Foundation to work on cryptography, and the Homeland Security Department to apply them to critical infrastructure. Read more here.
Changing AI Policy Landscape Puts Federal Contractors on Notice, Bloomberg Government, Maika Ito
Government contract spending on AI has soared, led by the Pentagon. New executive order will add standards and push development. Sales of artificial intelligence-powered tools to the federal government have resulted in nearly $2 billion in procurement annually in recent years, and vendors will have to navigate new rules and policies addressing the technology. Read more here (subscription required).
Extension of Comment Period for Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Proposed Rule on Cyber Threat and Incident Reporting and Information Sharing
DOD, GSA, and NASA issued a proposed rule on October 3, 2023, proposing to amend the FAR to implement an Executive Order on cyber threats, incident reporting, and information sharing for Federal contractors and to implement related cybersecurity policies. The deadline for submitting comments is extended from December 4, 2023, to February 2, 2024. The Extension is available here.
Extension of Comment Period for Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Proposed Rule on Standardizing Cybersecurity Requirements for Unclassified Federal Information Systems
DOD, GSA, and NASA issued a proposed rule on October 3, 2023, proposing to amend the FAR to partially implement an Executive Order to standardize cybersecurity contractual requirements across Federal agencies for unclassified Federal information systems, and a statute on improving the Nation’s cybersecurity. The deadline for submitting comments is extended from December 4, 2023, to February 2, 2024. The Extension is available here
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Issues GAO Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2023
On October 26, 2023, GAO issued its annual bid protest report to Congress, as required by the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, 31 U.S.C. § 3554(e)(2).  The report notes that there were no instances in which a federal agency did not fully implement a recommendation made by GAO during fiscal year 2023, and GAO issued final decisions within 100 days for all protests filed with GAO.  The report also provides data concerning overall protest filings for the fiscal year and includes a summary of the most prevalent grounds for sustaining protests during the preceding year.  Notably, GAO reported a significant increase in the number of bid protests filed due to the high number of protests challenging the CIO-SP4 procurement.  Read more here.
At Least $762 Billion Projected for Fiscal ’24 Contract Spending, Bloomberg Government, Billy Murphy
Fiscal 2024 federal procurement spending is estimated to be $762 billion to $870 billion, according to data from Bloomberg Government’s Market Forecast Dashboard. Read more here (subscription required).
GSA previews its plan for $919M supply chain monitoring software buy, NextGov, Ross Wilkers
The General Services Administration is putting the security and stability of government supply chains front and center in this planned procurement. The General Services Administration has given industry its first draft of a potential 10-year, $919.7 million blanket purchase agreement for acquiring supply chain risk illumination software tools and related analytic support services. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: Joint Venture and Mentor-Protege Bidding Strategies (2023), November 9, 2023, Peter B. Ford and Meghan F. Leemon. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Understanding and Avoiding Affiliation for Small Business Government Contractors, November 15, 2023, Meghan F. Leemon and Dozier L. Gardner, Jr. Read more here.