Addressing Compliance Hurdles in the Defense Supply Chain

The defense industry operates within a tightly regulated framework governed by agencies like the Department of Defense (DoD), presenting formidable compliance challenges for contractors. This blog post delves into the common hurdles faced by defense contractors and offers actionable solutions derived from industry insights.

Compliance Challenges

  1. Regulatory Interpretation: Understanding and applying regulations like the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-171 (NIST SP 800-171) pose significant challenges due to their intricate nature.
  2. Supply Chain Complexity: The defense supply chain is intricate, involving multiple subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors. Ensuring compliance across this network is complex and demands rigorous oversight.4 18 CMMC Cybersecurity Risks
  3. Cybersecurity Risks: The rise in cyber threats adds to the pressure, with defense contractors tasked with safeguarding sensitive information while adhering to cybersecurity regulations such as NIST SP 800-171.
  4. Resource Constraints: Resource limitations, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), hinder the implementation of robust compliance measures, given budgetary constraints and expertise shortages.


  1. Education and Training: Comprehensive education and training initiatives empower employees and stakeholders with the knowledge to understand and comply with regulatory requirements effectively.
  2. Collaboration and Communication: Facilitating collaboration and communication within the supply chain fosters a culture of compliance, allowing stakeholders to share best practices and address challenges collectively.
  3. Technology and Automation: Leveraging technology and automation streamlines compliance processes, enhancing efficiency and mitigating resource constraints. Investing in compliance management software and cybersecurity solutions is crucial.4 18 CMMC Technology and Automation
  4. Third-Party Assistance: Engaging third-party compliance experts offers invaluable support in navigating complex regulations, conducting assessments, and providing ongoing guidance to maintain compliance.


  1. How can defense contractors ensure compliance with DFARS and NIST SP 800-171? Conducting thorough assessments, implementing necessary controls, providing employee training, and seeking assistance from compliance experts are key steps.
  2. What are the consequences of non-compliance in the defense supply chain? Non-compliance can lead to contract loss, financial penalties, reputational damage, and exclusion from future DoD opportunities.
  3. How can SMEs address resource constraints in compliance efforts? Prioritizing compliance activities, leveraging technology, seeking third-party assistance, and collaborating with industry partners are effective strategies.


Overcoming compliance hurdles demands a proactive and collaborative approach. By embracing education, collaboration, technology, and third-party assistance, defense contractors can navigate challenges, enhance compliance posture, and stay resilient in the dynamic defense landscape.

Backed by an award-winning cyber security and IT management team, On Call Compliance Solutions is the #1 source for CMMC, NIST SP 800-171 Compliance, DFARS and ITAR consulting. Give us a call now to schedule a free phone call with one of our compliance experts to see how we can help.

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