The organization employs assessors or assessment teams with [Assignment: organization-defined level of independence] to conduct security control assessments.
Independent assessors or assessment teams are individuals or groups who conduct impartial assessments of organizational information systems. Impartiality implies that assessors are free from any perceived or actual conflicts of interest with regard to the development, operation, or management of the organizational information systems under assessment or to the determination of security control effectiveness. To achieve impartiality, assessors should not: (i) create a mutual or conflicting interest with the organizations where the assessments are being conducted; (ii) assess their own work; (iii) act as management or employees of the organizations they are serving; or (iv) place themselves in positions of advocacy for the organizations acquiring their services. Independent assessments can be obtained from elements within organizations or can be contracted to public or private sector entities outside of organizations. Authorizing officials determine the required level of independence based on the security categories of information systems and/or the ultimate risk to organizational operations, organizational assets, or individuals. Authorizing officials also determine if the level of assessor independence provides sufficient assurance that the results are sound and can be used to make credible, risk-based decisions. This includes determining whether contracted security assessment services have sufficient independence, for example, when information system owners are not directly involved in contracting processes or cannot unduly influence the impartiality of assessors conducting assessments. In special situations, for example, when organizations that own the information systems are small or organizational structures require that assessments are conducted by individuals that are in the developmental, operational, or management chain of system owners, independence in assessment processes can be achieved by ensuring that assessment results are carefully reviewed and analyzed by independent teams of experts to validate the completeness, accuracy, integrity, and reliability of the results. Organizations recognize that assessments performed for purposes other than direct support to authorization decisions are, when performed by assessors with sufficient independence, more likely to be useable for such decisions, thereby reducing the need to repeat assessments.