What Are NDAA Compliant Surveillance Cameras?

The John McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricts the use, procurement, or sale of certain brands of surveillance equipment for federal agencies [1].

Not only are federal agencies banned from purchasing equipment from these brands, but they can’t do business with contractors that use surveillance technology from backlisted products.

If you’re a government agency, how can you know which cameras are NDAA compliant, and which contractors you can work with to implement this technology? Here’s what you need to know.

Camera Brands That Are Prohibited

Camera brands that the NDAA specifically bans include Dahua, Hikvision, and Huawei, but the ban also includes any brands that may function under or as part of these companies, including brands affiliated with these companies.

However, you could still have a camera that’s not one of these brands but uses equipment or components made by a prohibited brand. The act stipulates that any “substantial or essential” components of a surveillance system that are manufactured by these brands are also banned. 

So, for example, you may have a camera that’s manufactured by an approved brand, but it can contain a chip that’s made by Hikvision, which would mean the camera isn’t in compliance according to the NDAA.

Needless to say, this is challenging considering the fact that many federal institutions have already deployed cameras or equipment that are now banned, or work with contractors that provide such equipment [2].

Who Does the Ban Apply to?

The NDAA applies to all United Stated federal agencies. These agencies can include, but aren’t limited to, the FBI, national park services, and the military. Remember, IT providers also can’t sell any surveillance equipment under these brands to government agencies or their respective contractors.

According to the act, federal agencies also can’t continue to work with contractors that use or provide prohibited brands of surveillance equipment. This includes entering into a new contract as well as renewing or extending a current one. This policy applies regardless of whether the contractors use the cameras for the federal contact work [3]

While the act only applies to the primary contractor, primary contractors are required to evaluate their relationships with subcontractors who use this equipment to ensure no banned technology is being provided or used for the primary contractor’s purposes.

Examples of NDAA Compliant Surveillance Cameras

It can be challenging for federal agencies to deploy the right equipment, given that many brands use products or components by other manufacturers, and are sold under an approved brand name. However, some NDAA compliant camera manufacturers include:

  • Avigilon
  • Axis Communications [4]
  • BCD International
  • Commend
  • FLIR
  • iryx
  • Mobotix
  • Seek Thermal
  • Solink
  • WatchGuard
  • 360 Vision Technology

This is not a comprehensive list. Other surveillance camera brands, such as Bosch and Paxton, make products for the US market that are NDAA compliant but sell other products internationally that are not, so it’s important to know what you’re getting.

Are Your Cameras in Compliance With NDAA?

The best way to know if your surveillance technology is in compliance with the NDAA is to get a comprehensive audit with a company that’s experienced in identifying equipment with both approved and banned components.

Since 2006, our team at Surveillance Secure has been serving government agencies with their surveillance and compliance needs. Contact us today to learn more about our auditing services at (877) 388-1248!


  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/effect-of-the-2019-national-defense-authorization-act-on-the-video-surveillance-industry–freedonia-group-analysis-300697391.html
  2. https://www.securityinfowatch.com/video-surveillance/article/21093037/life-after-the-ndaa
  3. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2500/text 
  4. https://www.axis.com/th-th/national-defense-authorization-act-compliance

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