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National Security

Our National Security practice is one of the largest and most experienced in Washington. It is anchored by numerous former senior U.S. government officials who have decades of experience in national security legal positions, including the former General Counsels of the Central Intelligence Agency, Jeffrey Smith; the National Security Agency, Ronald D. Lee; the Army and the Air Force, Charles Blanchard; former Legal Adviser to the Department of State and the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House, John Bellinger; former Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Investigations at the CIA, Deborah Curtis; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Export Controls, John Barker; and former Counselor for National Security to the Attorney General, Amy Jeffress.

Our practice also includes former senior national security officials at the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury, and Homeland Security.

Our lawyers understand the legal and policy framework in which unique national security issues arise, and the U.S. government processes in which sensitive national security decisions are made. Our lawyers testify before Congress, speak and write regularly about national security matters, and maintain close contacts with relevant U.S. government agencies.

We advise U.S. and international companies and individuals on a wide range of statutes, regulations, and policies administered by different agencies, including export control regulations (ITAR and EAR), foreign policy sanctions and asset controls, foreign investment and foreign influence regulations (CFIUS and FOCI), classified information rules, and other national security laws. We also advise our clients on issues ranging from cyber security and privacy to the performance of highly classified programs that present challenging risk issues. Many of these programs raise unique and novel questions of law and public policy, particularly as technology rapidly outpaces existing laws and regulations. This includes such questions as the future of autonomous weapons and the balance between intelligence collection and civil liberties.

Our lawyers, who include many former federal prosecutors, have also successfully defended clients in civil and criminal investigations and enforcement actions involving national security matters brought by the Departments of Justice, Treasury, Commerce, and State. We also frequently represent our clients in congressional hearings and investigations.

Our clients benefit from a specialized national security practice that works closely with our colleagues in the related areas of government contracts, intellectual property, corporate and securities, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information security and privacy, litigation, and criminal investigations. Our comprehensive approach allows us to bring together teams from across our firm to address our clients' most pressing and complex legal needs with insight and creativity.

Our national security team counsels US and international defense-related contractors on mergers and acquisitions, structuring and negotiating teaming arrangements, technology transfers, co-production agreements, and equity joint ventures in the U.S. and abroad. Over the past decade, our attorneys have counseled on more than 100 cooperative research and development arrangements—as well as production and marketing deals—in such fields as tactical communications, electronic warfare systems, aircraft production, torpedo manufacture, missile system development and manufacture, alternative energy sources, automotive components and vehicles, tank subassemblies, and computer systems. In addition to advising government contractors on such transactions, our lawyers also advise and represent sovereign governments regarding purchases made from US defense contractors, including those made with foreign military sales funds.


  • Ambassador in his appearance before the House Committee with respect to his service as Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
  • Airbus (formerly European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V.) on general representation on issues associated with foreign ownership including in the acquisition by its subsidiary Cassidian of 75.1 percent of Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH.
  • D.C. Capital Partners LLC in the formation of Elite Training & Security, LLC, and the leveraged acquisition of Kaseman, LLC.
  • D.C. Capital Partners LLC in the formation of a leading provider of information, management, and technology services.
  • Global construction and shipbuilding company in providing anti-corruption and economic sanctions third-party due diligence advice.
  • Global consumer electronics and telecommunications company in providing economic sanctions and export controls compliance counseling, training, investigations advice, and third-party due diligence.
  • Leonardo formerly Finmeccanica SpA in obtaining approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. for client to proceed with its US$5.2 billion acquisition of a leading U.S. defense contractor.
  • In-Q-Tel, the company established by the CIA to acquire high-technology solutions for the U.S. intelligence community.
  • Harvard University on public policy and national security matters.
  • Large insurance company in conducting FCPA risk assessments and preparing an FCPA compliance program.
  • Major European defense and aerospace companies with respect to mergers and acquisitions, contracting with the U.S. government, relationships with the U.S. government, export controls, issues of foreign ownership, and the performance of highly classified contracts.
  • Major medical device manufacturer in US government-initiated, multi-continent DOJ, OFAC, and BIS investigation of potential violations of U.S. economic sanctions and US export controls.
  • Major sovereign wealth funds in providing economic sanctions advice.
  • Many major government contracts companies with respect to the unique risks presented by highly classified contracts such as establishing a system to oversee such contracts and measures to mitigate the risks.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on public policy and national security matters.
  • Members of Congress and former senior government officials in sensitive investigations, including criminal investigations and prosecutions, involving national security, security clearance matters, and pre-publications review.
  • Multinational manufacturer in ongoing Petrobras FCPA/anticorruption "Car Wash" investigation being conducted by DOJ, SEC, and Brazilian authorities.
  • Newspaper Association of America and other major media associations on "leaks" of classified information and First Amendment issues.
  • Non-US financial institution in an ongoing U.S. government-initiated investigation of potential U.S. sanctions violations being conducted by SDNY, NYAG, NYDFS, NY Fed, and OFAC.
  • Oil and gas data processing company in self-reported DOJ, OFAC, and BIS investigation of potential violations of the FCPA, U.S. economic sanctions, and U.S. export controls.
  • Private equity funds in providing anti-corruption, economic sanctions, and export controls mergers and acquisition due diligence, and CFIUS advice.
  • Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in its acquisition of intelligence community consulting firm Scitor Corp. for US$790 million.
  • Tel-Save in its acquisition of Symetrics and the subsequent spin-off of the defense electronics business of Symetrics through a management buy-out.