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Maritime Law & Defense Security Policy

We represent clients engaged in all aspects of defense- and maritime policy-related matters, including domestic and international shipping activities and marine resource issues.

We have industry-leading regulatory and Public Policy practices, with a presence in industrial centers around the globe and an unparalleled presence in Washington DC. Our expertise across the full range of legal disciplines, along with our intimate familiarity with how federal legislation, regulations and public policies are formulated and executed, gives us the unmatched ability to provide legal advice, solve problems and advance our clients’ interests with the US Executive Branch, as well as in Congress.

We have deep experience, for example, in the authorization and appropriations processes that determine spending levels, acquisition policy, Buy America requirements, government contracts, export controls and foreign military sales, as well as a broad range of other capabilities to help you advance your business objectives.

Why Choose Us

  • Our team has extensive experience dealing with the highest levels of the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection), Department of Transportation (US Maritime Administration), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other relevant federal agencies.
  • Many of our team members previously served as active duty military or civilian staff in these agencies. The group also includes the former US Senate Majority Leader, who was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the second-most senior Republican Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and a Senator who served on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
  • The practice is supported by the legal expertise of our global firm, which ensures that the solutions we advocate for on behalf of our clients are grounded in sound defense and national security policies, as well as consistent with existing and emerging domestic and international law.

Authorization and Appropriations Process

In the national security budget process, established requirements for an item or system drive the programming and budgeting process. The President’s Budget is then subject to congressional authorization and appropriations, which are necessary to execute an acquisition strategy. Our team has experience in the Planning, Programming and Budgeting System and, for decades, we have worked with the congressional defense, homeland security, intelligence, and foreign affairs authorization and appropriations committees. We help guide clients through the process to make sure their programs are supported throughout the authorization and appropriation cycle.

Acquisition Policy

How a federal agency such as the Department of Defense buys a product or services determines who will have an opportunity to participate in the process. We have assisted clients of all sizes and in many industry sectors in advocating for or against a particular acquisition method in order for the client to have a fair chance to compete. We have knowledge of where and how such decisions are made and, as practicing lawyers, have detailed knowledge of federal acquisition laws and agency regulations.

We have also assisted clients in manufacturing, IT, government services, financial accounting, telecommunications, energy and construction sectors with crafting legislation to make it easier to do business with the federal government. In other cases, we have successfully advocated against proposed legislation included in a House or Senate bill that would adversely affect a client’s business model. Our years of experience in dealing with national security legislation give our clients extraordinary insight into the legislative process and the opportunity to craft a strategy to achieve their goals.

Buy America

Federal procurement statutes can often impose restrictions on a federal agency’s ability to buy non-US made goods and services in the marketplace. This is especially true in defense procurements. Statutes, such as Buy America, weight bids of US manufactured goods more favorably in the selection process, while provisions like the Berry Amendment strictly prohibit the acquisition of certain types of non-US goods and materials. Further complicating this field are riders contained in defense appropriations acts that single out certain defense articles for special treatment designed to favor US manufacturers. These statutes are implemented by regulations amplified by policy guidance and contain a complexity of exceptions and waivers. We have counseled many US and non-US clients on how to comply with these laws and do business successfully with the Department of Defense.

US Investigations and Oversight Hearings

We regularly advise defense sector clients on complex investigations initiated by multiple government entities. Regulatory inquiries can quickly become criminal problems, and some of the most prominent criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice began with congressional hearings.

We approach business challenges based on long relationships with the US government. Many of our lawyers came to private practice from US attorney offices, the Justice Department, agencies with robust civil enforcement responsibilities, the US military, Inspector General offices and congressional committees. We understand how investigations work, how strategic responses will benefit our clients and how to avoid or limit the consequences of serious investigations.

Our depth of experience from the government side of investigations gives us a strong understanding of how government investigations develop and proceed, and our contacts in key prosecuting offices help us see enforcement trends as they evolve – sometimes before they actually do. Our investigations team has been involved in many of the largest and most significant investigations in the US, including government contracting matters.

Export Control and Industrial Security

We provide advice about applications of the Export Administration Regulations (including the antiboycott regulations), sanctions, the Foreign Asset Control Regulations and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. We routinely counsel exporters on the scope and substance of US export controls that impact their bottom line. We also represent non-US companies doing business in the US.

Our clients range from small companies based in the US to large multinationals that produce and export products ranging from food to medical devices to the world’s fastest supercomputers. Often, we assist these clients in the preparation and submission of requests for commodity classifications and applications for export licenses.

We also advise clients on amendments to applicable regulations, helping them to understand the practical impact of these amendments on their continuing business. When a client discovers past violations, we often help them to prepare and submit an initial voluntary disclosure, then conduct or assist with the following internal investigation and the preparation of the longer narrative “follow-on” disclosure that results. We have also represented clients under criminal investigation or criminal indictment for alleged violations of US export controls. In these cases, our export lawyers collaborate with our criminal defense lawyers to ensure careful and comprehensive representation.

International Security Issues

More and more companies are expanding internationally in search of business opportunities. While the prospect of increased revenues from foreign markets is exciting, internationally-minded companies recognize that doing business in countries outside of their own can lead to problems arising from unforeseen developments involving international security issues.

Through the combination of our broad international legal practice and representation of sovereigns, we help defense sector companies maximize their success in foreign markets by providing strategic advice on security issues involving countries where they do business while minimizing risk.

Similarly, we combine substantive legal expertise and sophisticated policy acumen to advise sovereign governments on bilateral and multilateral security issues. Our practitioners include retired diplomats, as well as officials from the US Departments of State and Defense who analyze US foreign policy and that of other nations on behalf of clients.

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)

We have represented communities and private real estate and development companies in the past rounds of the Department of Defense base closure process. We have also supported community efforts to redevelop closed bases such as Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida; Kelly Air Logistics Center (now Port San Antonio, Texas); Army Medical Center, Denver, Colorado; and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC.

We have represented states, municipalities and private entities throughout the BRAC process, from the Commission hearing and approval process to the transfer and redevelopment phase. We combine our knowledge of the base closure laws, regulations and process with our Environmental, Safety & Health, Real Estate and Public & Infrastructure Finance Practices to provide comprehensive advice and representation throughout the entire process.

Environmental and Land Use

The Department of Defense is the largest operator of federal lands in the US. These operations have off-base impacts on the use and value of nearby private and public lands. We take a multidisciplinary approach to these unique issues, providing expert counsel and representation to clients across a range of issues. We have represented public clients, private developers and insurance companies in pursuing complex environmental actions against the military services involving contamination at base closure sites and formerly used defense sites (some dating to World War II).

We have also negotiated the successful rezoning of private property impacted by a military airfield under the Department of Defense Aviation Installation Compatible Use Zone regulations. We have counseled companies seeking to use military lands for offshore oil extraction, obtaining access to privately-owned mineral rights beneath a military reservation and looking to locate cell towers on a naval installation.

In another case, we obtained legislation authorizing the transfer of a federal riverfront property to a city, which was able to then transfer it to a company to expand its manufacturing facility.

Foreign Military Sales

We have represented several governments in connection with military procurement matters and defense cooperation agreements with the US. This work has included negotiating and administering bilateral military access agreements; legal issues concerning the transfer of weapons, US military aid and the funding of joint-use military infrastructure; US export control issues; renegotiation of foreign military sales debt; legal issues arising under Status of Forces Agreements; and a wide variety of procurement issues related to purchases, leases, and other transfers of goods and services acquired by sovereign states.

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