The Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) program, implemented in 2010, standardizes the way all U.S. government agencies and military entities handle unclassified information that requires safeguarding. It clarifies and limits what kinds of information to protect, reinforces existing legislation and regulations, and promotes authorized information-sharing.
NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-171, implemented in 2017, requires all current U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contractors to be compliant with DFARS Part 252.204-7012. Other executive branch agencies may also require nonfederal entities, including contractors, to follow NIST SP 800-171 when sharing CUI through contracts, memorandums of understanding, or acquisition rules. NIST SP 800-171 provides a standardized set of requirements for all CUI security needs, tailored to nonfederal systems.
The main difference between the CUI Program and NIST SP 800-171 is that the CUI Program established a standardized CUI framework for the military and government only, while NIST SP 800-171 was implemented later, and is specific to contractors and other nonfederal entities.
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