Government

Too often people argue as though they are in front of a judge, or some other cosmic arbiter of correctness, rather than asking ourselves what might move our opponent. In this edition of OIG Shorts, the Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP Organizational Integrity Group explains that to increase our chances of moving our opponent, we need to recalibrate our goals, rethink our strategy, and reframe the discussion.
Continue Reading Organizational Integrity Shorts: The Science of Persuasion

To kick off the New Year, Sheppard Mullin’s Governmental Practice Cybersecurity & Data Protection Team has prepared a cybersecurity-focused 2023 Recap (including links to all of the resources the team has put out over the past year) and 2024 Forecast (that previews what we expect to see in 2024). This Recap & Forecast covers the following five high-interest topic areas related to cybersecurity and data protection:
Continue Reading Governmental Practice Cybersecurity and Data Protection, 2023 Recap & 2024 Forecast Alert

Investigations are stressful for an organization’s leadership. But what is often overlooked is that they are stressful for an organization’s employees as well. The need-to-know nature of internal investigations usually restricts knowledge of the investigation’s character, scope, and potential consequences to a relatively small circle of senior management. But the employees who fall within the scope of the investigation will often know little about what’s going on, which can generate anxiety, impair morale, and create tensions in the workplace, further leading to negative repercussions for the organization that persist long after the investigation has been closed.
Continue Reading The Close-Out Debrief

Since our last Bid Protest Hub article in November, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has published 37 bid protest decisions, two of which have resulted in decisions sustaining the protester’s challenge. As we enter into the new year, it remains critical for government contractors to understand what issues win at the GAO and why. Below, we cover a few important GAO decisions you should know from December 2023.
Continue Reading Bid Protest Hub – December 2023

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. This is the third article in a multi-part series on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The first article in the series addressed the criteria for determining the allowability of costs. The second addressed the allocation of direct and indirect costs. This Cost Corner focuses accounting for unallowable costs. The applicable Cost Principle is FAR 31.201-6, Accounting for Unallowable Costs. Among other requirements, FAR 31.201-6 incorporates by reference the practices
Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Accounting for Unallowable Costs

Welcome back to the Cost Corner, where we provide practical insight into the complex cost and pricing requirements that apply to Government contractors. This is the second article in a multi-part series on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Cost Principles applicable to contracts with commercial organizations. The previous Cost Corner addressed the applicability of the Cost Principles and their general criteria for determining the allowability of costs. This Cost Corner focuses on the allocation of direct and indirect costs. We will address the applicable Cost Principles (FAR 31.202 and FAR 31.203) as well as the overlapping provisions of the Cost
Continue Reading Government Contracts Cost and Pricing: Allocation of Direct and Indirect Costs

On November 30, 2023, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense (“DoD IG”) released a Special Report: Common Cybersecurity Weaknesses Related to the Protection of DoD Controlled Unclassified Information on Contractor Networks (the “Report”). Between 2018 and 2023, the DoD IG reports it conducted five audits related to DoD contractors’ protection of Controlled Unclassified Information (“CUI”), in accordance with the cybersecurity requirements in National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) Special Publication (“SP”) 800-171. Additionally, the Report states that since 2022, the DoD IG has provided support/assessments for five investigations under the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Civil Cyber Fraud
Continue Reading DoD IG Report Provides Insight Into Common Missteps When Protecting CUI

On December 12, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) issued guidance related to the process by which companies may request the United States Attorney General authorize delays of cyber incident disclosures, pursuant to a new Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rule. As a reminder, the SEC rule (which went into effect on Dec. 18, 2023) requires companies to disclose material cyber incidents via Form 8-K within four days of making a materiality determination. Our colleagues previously discussed the SEC rule and its new cyber reporting requirements here.
Continue Reading For Limited Use Only: Guidance on National Security Delay Determinations under the SEC Cyber Reporting Rule

Grants and tax credits, who doesn’t love them? The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) is full of them, and recent Department of Energy (DOE) Notification of a Proposed Interpretive Rule provides guidance on who will get to benefit from those grants and tax credits. The BIL is a historic investment in U.S. infrastructure, the breadth of which is beyond the scope of this blog. However, thankfully, the DOE Proposed Rule focuses on batteries.
Continue Reading Should You Be Concerned About Foreign Entities of Concern?

Well, the wait is over. Just as 2023 came to a close, on December 26, 2023, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) published the much-anticipated Proposed Rule for the DoD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (“CMMC”) program (the “Proposed Rule”). It has been just over two years since “CMMC 2.0” was announced in November 2021 (which we previously discussed here). And while there is nothing particularly surprising in the Proposed Rule, there certainly are several notable additions and clarifications. Below we outline the key portions of the Proposed Rule that will be of particular importance to defense contractors.
Continue Reading New Year, New Rules: The CMMC Proposed Rule is Here

On December 22, 2023, President Biden signed a new Executive Order (E.O. 14114) containing the latest round of sanctions against the Russian Federation. Shortly thereafter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will take “decisive” and “surgical” action when enforcing sanctions against financial institutions involved in transactions that support Russia’s military-industrial base. Under the new sanctions, non-U.S. financial institutions may be denied access to U.S. correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts, effectively denying access to the U.S. financial system. OFAC may also block an offending institution’s property in the United States. The sanctions build on
Continue Reading New Russia Sanctions Intensify Pressure on Banks Worldwide

On November 17, 2023, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) published a Final Rule – over five years in the making – addressing DOD policies regarding the applicability of laws to commercial products, commercial services, and commercially available off-the-shelf (“COTS”) products (DFARS Case 2017-D010). Partially implementing Section 874 of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, DOD has imposed new regulations that expressly prohibit Contracting Officers (“CO”) and prime contractors alike from incorporating regulatory requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) in prime contracts and subcontracts unless mandated by regulatory text.
Continue Reading It’s the Most Wonderful Time for New DOD Flow Down Policies: Flowing Down Too Many Clauses Will Get Prime Contractors More Than a Lump of Coal

In addition to prohibiting the flow-down of non-mandatory FAR/DFARS clauses (which we talk about here), the Department of Defense (“DOD”) Final Rule in connection with the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) Case 2017-D010 also touched on the decades-long debate as to which entities actually are subcontractors performing under a Federal prime contract. Yes, you read that correctly – there is no single definition for the terms “subcontract” or “subcontractor.” After almost 40 years of confusion, it appears the DFARS and Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Councils are trying to end the debate once and for all.
Continue Reading New Year, (Potentially) New Definition for “Subcontract”

Export controls are the manifestation of foreign, economic, and national security policy, and the implementation of policy requires dynamic adjustment, a back-and-forth, a balance. So, on December 7, 2023[1], amid the tightening of new semiconductor regulations, BIS announced it was relaxing regulations around another set of exports. This drawing back of the controls arrives in the form of a set of three rules easing license requirements and expanding license exceptions. While seemingly disparate, each of the three areas of amendments represents a consistent push to align U.S. export policy with those of its allies and trade partners,
Continue Reading Carrot and Stick Export Controls: U.S. Export Controls Give Benefits to Allies