Control Reference


This page is still a draft. You may still find it useful, but watch for sections that have not yet been completed.

GovReady Q includes references to exposed control libraries as of v0.9.1.4. (Previous versions embedded controls within output templates.)

A “Control Catalog” is formal collection of controls, such as the NIST Risk Management Framework’s control catalog outline in NIST Special Publication 800-53.

Control catalogs are treated and accessed as Python class object in GovReady instead of models. Control catalogs–the description of controls–are distinct from implementation narratives of how controls are implemented for an individual system.

Control Look Up

Individual controls can be access via the path /controls/control_catalog/control_id.

Controls in Output Templates

Controls can also be included output templates via the {{ control_catalog }} substitution parameter.

The {{ control_catalog }} substitution parameter contains

Technical Details

First implementation only works with NIST 800-53 and uses code from GovReady project 800-53 Server project.

Controls are managed within the code in a directory controls containing a class for listing a security control catalog. Code uses XSLT transformations to extract controls from XML representation of the control catalog. (This will change to OSCAL in future.)

The class module_logic.TemplateContext manages a item called control_catalog to expose the control catalog to the output templates.

The control catalog is a dictionary of dictionaries. The ID of the controls is the index which points to a dictionary defined for the control.

    'AC-2 (3)': {
        'id': 'AC-2 (3)', 'title': 'DISABLE INACTIVE ACCOUNTS', 'family': '',
        'description': 'The information system automatically disables inactive accounts after [Assignment: organization-defined time period].',
        'control_enhancements': 'N/A', 'supplemental_guidance': ''

GovReady treats a System as a subclass of an Element. An Element is any person, process, or thing. All Elements have element_type. A System is one type of an element.

A control is just a statement that comes from an OSCAL-formatted Control Catalog.

An ElementControl represents the selected control list for a system. An ElementControl associates a control catalog id with an element. A unique “control” statement is identified by unique combination of Element, OSCAL Control Id, and OSCAL Catalog Key.

Relationships exist between ElementControl and read-only oscal.Catalog model.

Also put parser classes into separate file and with the latter * representing a standalone version of the parser classes that do not require GovReady Django models to run.

Controls can be displayed in output templates via the module_logic.TemplateContext item type called control_catalog. When control_catalog is mentioned in an output template, GovReady retrieves the entire catalog of controls in a flattened format for easy manipulation. For performance, the control_catalog is called as a static instance.

Code discussion

Output templates are Jinja templates within Django template and are rendered within guidedmodules/

Better way is back to putting in view

# special values
 if self.module_answers and self.module_answers.task:
     # Attributes that are only available if there is a task.
     if not self.is_computing_title or not self.root:
         # 'title' isn't available if we're in the process of
         # computing it
         yield "title"
     for attribute in ("task_link", "project", "organization", "control_catalog_t"):
         if attribute not in seen_keys:
             yield attribute

Control Parsers

Developers should see controls/ for useful functionality that can be imported our used with from controls.parsers import * statement in Python scripts.

The function oscalize_control_idoutputs an oscal standard control id from various common formats for control ids.


The Class CliControlImporter is a command line importer into controls from an .xlsx file and loading those files into Common Control or Control models. Note this class currently needs to be customized for the structure of importing data.

Below is a snippet of code for Django Shell leveraging CliControlImporter to import Common Controls from a spreadsheet of controls

from controls.parsers import CliControlImporter
fp = "~/Downloads/Copy of Controls_Implementation_Securit.xlsx"
cci = CliControlImporter(fp)

field_map = {'oscal_ctl_id': 'Paragraph/ReqID', 'legacy_imp_smt': 'Private Implementation'}
r = cci.rows[33]
cci.build_common_control_from_row(r, field_map)
x = cci.build_common_control_from_row(r, field_map)

r = cci.rows[37]
x = cci.create_common_control(cci.build_common_control_from_row(r, field_map), field_map)

# Loop through rows
# Rows to be imported from this spreadsheet with CommonControls have long strings in 'Private Implementation' column
field_map = {'oscal_ctl_id': 'Paragraph/ReqID', 'legacy_imp_smt': 'Private Implementation'}
for r in cci.rows:
    if len(r['Private Implementation']) < 10:
    x = cci.build_common_control_from_row(r, field_map)


The StatementParser_TaggedTextWithElementsInBrackets class is a utility to parse statements from a text file with serially listed controls where control ids and elements are enclosed in brackets.

  • Goal is to save statement of whatever length and list of system elements involved with process

  • Ignore multiple intervening lines

  • System name must be entered manually

  • Script makes one pass to build search dictionary with bracketed strings then uses dictionary to find all instances of strings in statements. This makes it unnecessary to place all instances of elements regardless of brackets.

The source text file to be parsed should be in the following format:

   system_name:  My IT System
   system_id:    id_in_my_database_if_importing


The [CloudOps ISSO] has access to the audit logs in [Kibana] however responses are based on artifacts provided
by the [LMO team].

(b) The [LMO Team] and the [ISSO] coordinates the security audit function with other organizational entities
requiring audit-related information to enhance mutual support and to help guide the selection of auditable events;

Below is a snippet of code for Django Shell leveraging StatementParser_TaggedTextWithElementsInBrackets to parse control implementatation statements from a text of controls

from controls.parsers import StatementParser_TaggedTextWithElementsInBrackets
fp = "/Users/greg/Downloads/TaggedTextWithElementsInBrackets_example.txt"
par = StatementParser_TaggedTextWithElementsInBrackets(fp)
par.statements[0]['sid'], par.statements[0]['elements']