Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and nontraditional approaches to procurement are once again areas of legislative focus for Congress in the recently passed Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes $768.2 billion in defense spending.
On December 15, the U.S. Senate voted 88 to 11 to pass the NDAA following the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the bill (363-70) the previous week, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature. In addition to authorizing $25 billion more in defense spending than the president requested, the bill contains numerous acquisition policy changes and new initiatives that will affect companies doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
This update provides an overview of key provisions of the final bill relevant to government contractors.
Continued Focus on Cybersecurity—but No Mandatory Breach Notification Bill
As with NDAAs in recent years, cybersecurity is again a priority in this year’s bill—the word “cybersecurity” appears in the bill 223 times and there are nearly 40 cyberspace-related provisions in Title XV of the bill alone. Congress, however, notably did not include a far-reaching proposal to require contractors to report cyber breaches under strict timelines. That provision had been included in an earlier version of the NDAA approved by the House in September 2021, but was ultimately dropped from the final bill. Among other things, the final bill:
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Innovative Technology
As with the FY 2021 NDAA, the bill contains several provisions focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that underscore Congress’ ongoing support for acquiring AI solutions from commercial vendors, and a recognition of the challenges associated with that objective. The bill:
Commercial Acquisitions and Nontraditional Procurement
Several provisions in the bill highlight Congress’s continued interest in commercial technology and nontraditional acquisition methodologies that are not subject to FAR requirements. Indeed, the final bill:
Other Government Contracting Provisions
Among the other provisions in the bill related to acquisition:
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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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