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Federal supply chain risk assessment close to completion

The chair of a federal and industry-wide task force told a government advisory panel that an assessment mapping out a taxonomy of IT and communications sector supply chain risks is in the final stages of interagency approval.

During an Aug. 8 public briefing to the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Bob Kolasky, Director of the National Risk Management Center at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, outlined three goals the task force is working to accomplish this year: an inventory of supply chain activities, capabilities and processes across the federal government IT sector and communications sector; establishing a handful of working groups to drill down into specific problems plaguing the supply chain; and a supply chain criticality risk assessment evaluating common software, hardware and services used across the IT and communications industries, per a White House executive order issued earlier this year.

While Kolasky was reluctant to discuss the contents of the assessment, he said it pulled from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and other technical resources to create a new taxonomy of the ICT supply chain grouped into five major elements (local user access, transmission, storage, processing and system management) as well as another 100 sub-elements.

That assessment is "sitting on [Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan's] desk" and scheduled to go to the White House for review and approval this week, he said.

"I think it will help through the regulatory process the rulemaking process…to give focus in areas where we think there's likely to be higher risk" and where the private sector or government should impose further restrictions, Kolasky said.

While the task force released a recommended federal regulation around preventing procurement of counterfeit ICT original equipment manufacturers earlier this year, Kolasky told FCW after his briefing that the group plans to keep the rest of its recommendations close to the chest until after an Aug. 20 meeting and an interim report currently set to be made public later this year in September.

"We think a public report is important given the nature of this work and we want to keep pushing forward as a task force," he said.

He also said the task force is sending out a survey canvassing the 16 sector coordinating councils to ask if they have supply chain working group and what kind of issues they focus on.

A version of this article first appeared on

About the Author

Derek B. Johnson is a former senior staff writer at FCW.


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