NDAA Compliance

Complete Guide to NDAA Compliance: Which Security Cameras Can You Install on U.S. Government Properties?

As with any job taking place on government property, security professionals must approach government surveillance system installations with great sensitivity. In the United States, there are steps that must be followed to ensure compliance with U.S. law. Not every security camera can be installed on government property. So which cameras are approved for federal government scenarios?

In order for video surveillance equipment to be installed on U.S. government properties, it must comply with section 889 of the 2019 NDAA. In short, none of its components can be constructed by any of these companies:

  • Huawei Technologies Company
  • ZTE Corporation
  • Hytera Communications Corporation
  • Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company
  • Dahua Technology Company

So what does that mean for you? What do you need to know before installing security equipment on U.S. government properties? Which brands can you use and which brands can’t you use? We’re going to talk about all of that and more throughout the rest of this blog post.

If you’re in a hurry and you just need to know which products you can install on government properties, click here to view all of our NDAA-compliant products.

What is the NDAA and What Does It Mean For Security Installers?

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is simply a set of federal laws passed every year by Congress to lay out the annual budget for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Wait a minute. I’m just a security installer. What does Congress’s financial ramblings have anything to do with me?

The answer is found in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. If you’re so inclined, you can give the whole thing a read here. It’s a great cure for insomnia. But just in case you don’t have a few hours to spend poring over that document, here it is in a nutshell.

Under the section labeled “Other Matters,” you’ll find Section 889: Prohibition on certain telecommunications and video surveillance services or equipment.

Do you provide video surveillance services? Do you sell video surveillance equipment? Do you currently or could you potentially supply your services to a U.S. government agency? If so, the 2019 NDAA very much applies to you and your business.

Here’s the specific paragraph that we’re concerned with in this blog post.

The head of an executive agency may not— (A) procure or obtain or extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substan-tial or essential component of any system, or as critical tech-nology as part of any system; or (B) enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system. (2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to— (A) prohibit the head of an executive agency from procuring with an entity to provide a service that connects to the facilities of a third-party, such as backhaul, roaming, or interconnection arrangements; or (B) cover telecommunications equipment that cannot route or redirect user data traffic or permit visibility into any user data or packets that such equipment transmits or otherwise handles.

So… what does that mean?

What Is Covered By This Law?

In the context of this particular law, the covered foreign country in question refers specifically to the People’s Republic of China. The covered telecommunications equipment refers to…

  • Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, or any of its affiliate entities.
  • Video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company, or any of their affiliate entities.
  • Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by the companies listed above or anyone using equipment manufactured by the companies listed above.

That’s a lot of words. But here’s the bottom line. If you’re going to be installing security equipment on government properties or selling security equipment to government officials to be used on government properties, you need to pay careful attention to the manufacturer of your camera and your camera’s components.

It should also be noted that the NDAA section 889 not only applies strictly to government facilities, but it also applies to any federally funded job. What does this mean? Take a school for instance. If you’re installing security cameras on a school building or municipality that has received federal grant funding, your security cameras have to be compliant with the NDAA. If the school or municipality has not received federal funding, you’re free to use any security camera. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to play it safe. If you’re doing a job for any type of city, state, or federal government facility, it’s a good idea to quote NDAA-compliant products.

So Which Security Products Are Banned On US Government Properties?

You might notice in the definitions above that there are two types of bans here. First, the law bans telecommunications equipment in general produced by two companies: Huawei and ZTE. Second, it specifically bans video surveillance equipment produced by the remaining three companies: Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua. For our purposes, there isn’t much of a difference here, because video surveillance technology is telecommunication technology. That means any security camera or recorder with any major components manufactured by one of these five companies is a no go for federal government projects.

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