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DoD Given Power to Secretly Ban Contractors Deemed Risks

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According to new authorities granted to top Defense Department leaders, the Pentagon can ban government contractors if DoD deems them a security risk.

DoD is not required to inform companies they are blocked, and firms cannot appeal the decision, according to a Bloomberg News report.

The contractor-security provision is part of the Defense Authorization Act, the defense appropriations and policy bill passed by Congress late last month.

Under the bill’s provisions, only the defense secretary and the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force would be able to block companies for such breaches as malicious software code or counterfeit parts, Bloomberg reports.

The bill specifically focuses on contractors working in intelligence, cryptology and weapons systems.

Despite the severity of the proposal, it has appeared to garner at least modest support from industry.

Executive vice president of the industry group the Professional Services Council, Alan Chvotkin, said the bill’s strong measures are balanced by the fact that only top defense officials will be able to block contractors.

“The provision makes it clear that exclusion is the last action to be taken if other means of addressing the risk to the supply chain cannot be used,” he explained.

DoD would have to keep Congress updated on contractor bans, but it would be allowed to do so using confidential means if DoD perceives a threat to national security.

The bill, which will apply to existing and new contracts, will take effect six months after it is officially enacted, Bloomberg reports. It is currently waiting to be approved by the president.

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