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What is the NDAA, and What Does It Mean For Video Surveillance?

Whenever you’re considering installing or upgrading your video surveillance systems within a U.S. government building, property, or any site receiving any kind of federal funding, system installations must be approached with a great deal of sensitivity due to matters of compliance. In the United States, some critical steps must be followed to ensure compliance with U.S. security laws because some security camera manufacturers are prohibited from government-funded properties. Not sure if this impacts you? Think again. Here’s what you need to know.


What is the NDAA?

Simply put, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act 2019 (NDAA) is a set of federal laws passed every year by Congress outlining the annual budget, expenditures, and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense. To spare you the trouble of reading all 788 pages of this act, the part that has to do with installing video surveillance is Section 889: “Prohibition On Certain Telecommunications And Video Surveillance Services Or Equipment”:


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. 


To break it down for you, the aforementioned “telecommunications equipment” refers to:

  • Any telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, (and any of its affiliate entities)
  • Any video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (and any of their affiliate entities).
  • Any telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by the companies mentioned above (or anyone using equipment manufactured by them).


In a nutshell, this means that any security camera or recorder with any major components manufactured by one of these five Chinese companies and their subsidiaries is prohibited for federal government installations.


Who Does The NDAA Impact?

As stated by the obvious, government facilities are impacted. However, the NDAA section 889 not only applies strictly to government facilities— it applies to any federally funded business, organization, or institution. For example, if you’re a school building, medical center, or municipality that has received federal grant funding, your security cameras must be NDAA-compliant. If you’re not receiving federal funding, you’re free to use any kind of security camera. However, it’s always best to play it safe by using NDAA-compliant security products, especially if you anticipate receiving federal funding in the future. 


What Does The NDAA Mean For My Property Or Business?

If you’re overseeing a property or operating a business owned or funded by the U.S. government, the NDAA applies to you. In that case, you and your security integrator must pay careful attention to the manufacturer of your surveillance equipment and its components.


Fortunately, there are plenty of video surveillance options on the market that are NDAA-compliant. As a Honeywell Platinum Certified Dealer, Associated Technical Services’ (ATS) mission is to provide solutions customized specifically to your facility’s needs, including NDAA compliance. We take the time to learn about your goals, operations, and what you are looking to get out of your video surveillance system. 


Contact us today at 414-476-4200 for a complete system evaluation or to explore your options.