Link Search Menu Expand Document

NIST Special Publication 800-37

Revision 2

Risk Management Framework for Information Systems and Organizations

A System Life Cycle Approach for Security and Privacy


This publication is available free of charge from:

December 2018

This publication contains comprehensive updates to the Risk Management Framework. The updates include an alignment with the constructs in the NIST Cybersecurity Framework; the integration of privacy risk management processes; an alignment with system life cycle security engineering processes; and the incorporation of supply chain risk management processes. Organizations can use the frameworks and processes in a complementary manner within the RMF to effectively manage security and privacy risks to organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation. Revision 2 includes a set of organization-wide RMF tasks that are designed to prepare information system owners to conduct system-level risk management activities. The intent is to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of the RMF by establishing a closer connection to the organization’s missions and business functions and improving the communications among senior leaders, managers, and operational personnel.

U.S. Department of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Secretary

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Walter Copan, NIST Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology


This publication has been developed by NIST to further its statutory responsibilities under the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), 44 U.S.C. § 3551 et seq. , Public Law (P.L.) 113-283. NIST is responsible for developing information security standards and guidelines, including minimum requirements for federal information systems, but such standards and guidelines shall not apply to national security systems without the express approval of the appropriate federal officials exercising policy authority over such systems. This guideline is consistent with requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-130.

Nothing in this publication should be taken to contradict the standards and guidelines made mandatory and binding on federal agencies by the Secretary of Commerce under statutory authority. Nor should these guidelines be interpreted as altering or superseding the existing authorities of the Secretary of Commerce, OMB Director, or any other federal official. This publication may be used by nongovernmental organizations on a voluntary basis and is not subject to copyright in the United States. Attribution would, however, be appreciated by NIST.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53, Revision 5 Natl. Inst. Stand. Technol. Spec. Publ. 800-53, Rev. 5, 483 pages (September 2020 )


This publication is available free of charge from:

Certain commercial entities, equipment, or materials may be identified in this document to describe an experimental procedure or concept adequately. Such identification is not intended to imply recommendation or endorsement by NIST, nor is it intended to imply that the entities, materials, or equipment are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

There may be references in this publication to other publications currently under development by NIST in accordance with its assigned statutory responsibilities. The information in this publication, including concepts, practices, and methodologies, may be used by federal agencies even before the completion of such companion publications. Thus, until each publication is completed, current requirements, guidelines, and procedures, where they exist, remain operative. For planning and transition purposes, federal agencies may wish to closely follow the development of these new publications by NIST.

Organizations are encouraged to review draft publications during the designated public comment periods and provide feedback to NIST. Many NIST publications, other than the ones noted above, are available at

Comments on this publication may be submitted to:

National Institute of Standards and Technology Attn: Computer Security Division, Information Technology Laboratory 100 Bureau Drive (Mail Stop 8930) Gaithersburg, MD 20899- Email: [email protected]

All comments are subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [FOIA96].

Reports on Computer Systems Technology

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) promotes the U.S. economy and public welfare by providing technical leadership for the Nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure. ITL develops tests, test methods, reference data, proof of concept implementations, and technical analyses to advance the development and productive use of information technology (IT). ITL’s responsibilities include the development of management, administrative, technical, and physical standards and guidelines for the cost- effective security of other than national security-related information in federal information systems. The Special Publication 800-series reports on ITL’s research, guidelines, and outreach efforts in information systems security and privacy and its collaborative activities with industry, government, and academic organizations.


This publication describes the Risk Management Framework (RMF) and provides guidelines for applying the RMF to information systems and organizations. The RMF provides a disciplined, structured, and flexible process for managing security and privacy risk that includes information security categorization; control selection, implementation, and assessment; system and common control authorizations; and continuous monitoring. The RMF includes activities to prepare organizations to execute the framework at appropriate risk management levels. The RMF also promotes near real-time risk management and ongoing information system and common control authorization through the implementation of continuous monitoring processes; provides senior leaders and executives with the necessary information to make efficient, cost-effective, risk management decisions about the systems supporting their missions and business functions; and incorporates security and privacy into the system development life cycle. Executing the RMF tasks links essential risk management processes at the system level to risk management processes at the organization level. In addition, it establishes responsibility and accountability for the controls implemented within an organization’s information systems and inherited by those systems.


assess; authorization to operate; authorization to use; authorizing official; categorize; common control; common control authorization; common control provider; continuous monitoring; control assessor; control baseline; cybersecurity framework profile; hybrid control; information owner or steward; information security; monitor; ongoing authorization; plan of action and milestones; privacy; privacy assessment report; privacy control; privacy plan; privacy risk; risk assessment; risk executive function; risk management; risk management framework; security; security assessment report; security control; security engineering; security plan; security risk; senior agency information security officer; senior agency official for privacy; supply chain risk management; system development life cycle; system owner; system privacy officer; system security officer; system-specific control.


This publication was developed by the Joint Task Force Interagency Working Group. The group includes representatives from the Civil, Defense, and Intelligence Communities. The National Institute of Standards and Technology wishes to acknowledge and thank the senior leaders from the Departments of Commerce and Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Committee on National Security Systems, and the members of the interagency working group whose dedicated efforts contributed significantly to the publication.

Department of Defense

Dana Deasy
Chief Information Officer

Essye B. Miller
Principal Deputy CIO and DoD Senior Information Security Officer

Thomas P. Michelli
Acting Deputy Chief Information Officer for Cybersecurity

Vicki Michetti
Director, Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy, International, and Defense Industrial Base Directorate

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

John Sherman
Chief Information Officer

Deputy Chief Information Officer

Susan Dorr
Director, Cybersecurity Division and Chief Information Security Officer

Wallace Coggins
Director, Security Coordination Center

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Charles H. Romine
Director, Information Technology Laboratory

Donna Dodson
Cybersecurity Advisor, Information Technology Laboratory

Matt Scholl
Chief, Computer Security Division

Kevin Stine
Chief, Applied Cybersecurity Division

Ron Ross
FISMA Implementation Project Leader

Committee on National Security Systems

Thomas Michelli
Chair—Defense Community

Susan Dorr—Intelligence Community

Vicki Michetti
Tri-Chair—Defense Community

Chris Johnson
Tri-Chair—Intelligence Community

Paul Cunningham
Tri-Chair—Civil Agencies

Joint Task Force Working Group

Ron Ross
NIST, JTF Leader

Taylor Roberts

Jordan Burris

Jeff Marron

Dorian Pappas

Daniel Faigin
The Aerospace Corporation

Kevin Dulany

Ellen Nadeau

Charles Cutshall

Kaitlin Boeckl

Dominic Cussatt
Veterans Affairs

Christina Sames
The MITRE Corporation

Peter Duspiva
Intelligence Community

Victoria Pillitteri

Kevin Herms

Kirsten Moncada

Esten Porter
The MITRE Corporation

Julie Snyder
The MITRE Corporation

Kelley Dempsey

Naomi Lefkovitz

Carol Bales

Jon Boyens

Celia Paulsen

Martin Stanley
Homeland Security

The authors also wish to recognize Matt Barrett, Kathleen Coupe, Jeff Eisensmith, Chris Enloe, Ned Goren, Matthew Halstead, Jody Jacobs, Ralph Jones, Martin Kihiko, Raquel Leone, and the scientists, engineers, and research staff from the Computer Security Division and the Applied Cybersecurity Division for their exceptional contributions in helping to improve the content of the publication. A special note of thanks to Jim Foti and the NIST web team for their outstanding administrative support.

In addition, the authors wish to acknowledge the United States Air Force and the “RMF Next” initiative, facilitated by Air Force CyberWorx, that provided the inspiration for some of the new ideas in this update to the RMF. The working group, led by Lauren Knausenberger, Bill Bryant, and Venice Goodwine, included government and industry representatives Jake Ames, Chris Bailey, James Barnett, Steve Bogue, Wes Chiu, Kurt Danis, Shane Deichman; Joe Erskine, Terence Goodman, Jason Howe, Brandon Howell, Todd Jacobs, Peter Klabe, William Kramer, Bryon Kroger, Kevin LaSalle, Dinh Le, Noam Liran, Sam Miles, Michael Morrison, Raymond Tom Nagley, Wendy Nather, Jasmine Neal, Ryan Perry, Eugene Peterson, Lawrence Rampaul, Jessica Rheinschmidt, Greg Roman, Susanna Scarveles, Justin Schoenthal, Christian Sorenson, Stacy Studstill, Charles Wade, Shawn Whitney, David Wilcox, and Thomas Woodring.

Finally, the authors also gratefully acknowledge the significant contributions from individuals and organizations in both the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally, whose thoughtful and constructive comments improved the overall quality, thoroughness, and usefulness of this publication.

The authors acknowledge the many individuals who contributed to previous versions of Special Publication 800-37 since its inception in 2005. They include Marshall Abrams, William Barker, Beckie Koonge, Roger Caslow, John Gilligan, Peter Gouldmann, Richard Graubart, John Grimes, Gus Guissanie, Priscilla Guthrie, Jennifer Fabius, Cita Furlani, Richard Hale, Peggy Himes, William Hunteman, Arnold Johnson, Donald Jones, Stuart Katzke, Eustace King, Mark Morrison, Sherrill Nicely, Karen Quigg, George Rogers, Cheryl Roby, Gary Stoneburner, Marianne Swanson, Glenda Turner, and Peter Williams.