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Open Security Controls Assessment Language OSCAL

Overview

NIST, in collaboration with industry, is developing the Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL), a set of hierarchical, formatted, XML- JSON- and YAML-based formats that provide a standardized representation for different categories of security information pertaining to the publication, implementation, and assessment of security controls.

The OSCAL website provides an overview of the OSCAL project, including tutorials, concepts, references, downloads, and much more.

OSCAL is organized in a series of layers that each provides a set of models

A model represents an information structure supporting a specific operational purpose or concept.

Each model is comprised of information structures that form an information model for each OSCAL model. This information model is then bound to multiple serialization formats (i.e., XML, JSON, YAML), which represent a concrete data model. Thus, a data model that defines how to represent an OSCAL information model in a serialized format. While the syntax of each format differs, all formats for a given model represent the same set of information or information model. In this way, OSCAL content expressed in one of the supported formats ( XML, JSON, or YAML) can be translated into any of the other supported formats without data loss.

The OSCAL layers and models are:

The release state of each model, along with download links for the latest versions of XML and JSON schema for each model are provided in the table, below. YAML is also supported through conversion between JSON and YAML. Since YAML is a superset of JSON, some YAML tooling allows JSON schema to be used for YAML validation. In this way, the provided JSON schema supports both JSON and YAML.

Layer Model Current State Reference Schemas
Control Catalog Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Control Profile Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Implementation Component Definition Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Implementation System Security Plan Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Assessment Assessment Plan Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Assessment Assessment Results Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML
Assessment Plan of Action and Milestones Released XML, JSON, YAML XMLJSON/YAML

The OSCAL GitHub repository holds the actual OSCAL schemas, examples, documentation source files, and other resources. The NIST team welcomes public contributions to this project. If you are interested in contributing, please review the contributor documentation for ideas and information on how to get started.

NIST also maintains several public GitHub repositories associated with the OSCAL project:

OSCAL content maintained by NIST:

https://github.com/usnistgov/oscal-content

OSCAL tools and libraries:

https://github.com/usnistgov/liboscal-java

https://github.com/usnistgov/oscal-deep-diff

OSCAL Metaschema:

https://github.com/usnistgov/metaschema


The NIST team welcomes public contributions to this project. If you are interested in contributing, please review the contributor documentation for ideas and information on how to get started.

Created April 24, 2018, Updated December 10, 2021