Section 508 Background
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794d) requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use information and communication technology (ICT), Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.
DoD CIO Section 508 Responsibilities
The Section 508 Office of the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer (DoD CIO) ensures comprehensive Section 508 management, implementation, and governance infrastructure so that DoD Components will effect ICT accessibility in compliance with Section 508 policies, procedures, and performance measures. The DoD 508 Coordinator represents the Department of Defense on Federal-wide boards and committees.
ICT Solicitation Assessments
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 39.2 requires that acquisition of ICT supplies and services must meet the applicable accessibility standards at 36 CFR Part 1194 (Section 508 Standards). The General Services Administration (GSA), in an effort to enforce accessibility of federally procured products and services, randomly select federal contracts for review. Guidance is given to DoD Components to review existing procurement and information technology policies and procedures to confirm that the Section 508 standards are appropriately considered and clearly stated when preparing requirements and solicitation documents.
For DoD, Section 508 is not just the law; it's the right thing to do!