National Security, Defense and Intelligence

  • Holland & Knight's National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team uses its in-depth understanding of governmental operations and political perspectives with significant knowledge of our clients' unique and evolving needs to advance their strategic objectives in Congress and with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
  • Our attorneys work with the DOD and Congress to secure funding for a wide range of projects through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the appropriations defense subcommittees in both the House and the Senate.
  • Our team consists of attorneys and professionals from across various practices, including government contracts, data security, trade regulation, public policy and regulation, white collar defense and investigations, and mergers and acquisitions. Our multidisciplinary approach ensures representation tailored to and capable of resolving each client's legal and policy needs.
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Overview

Holland & Knight's National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team focuses on achieving our clients' goals by working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress to secure funding for a wide range of projects through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the appropriations defense subcommittees in both the House and the Senate.

Our lawyers and policy professionals understand the legal and policy framework in which national security issues arise, as well as the government processes in which sensitive decisions are made. Our team includes the former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and former senior officials of both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), including a former DHS acting general counsel. In addition, our team includes two former members of Congress who have firsthand experience with the NDAA and appropriations process.

We provide experienced counsel on a breadth of statutes, regulations and policies administered by different government agencies, including export control regulations involving International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). We also advise on foreign policy sanctions and asset controls; foreign investment and foreign influence regulations, including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) and Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (FOCI); classified information rules; and myriad other national security laws, as well as cybersecurity.

In addition, we keep abreast of the latest trends and challenges to the rules governing trade, providing innovative counsel that reflects the advancing power of CFIUS and its role in cross-border M&A, customs enforcement and trade. Members of our team possess hands-on knowledge to tackle the legal needs of companies and independent firms bidding on, contesting or already holding government contracts; facing unexpected challenges regarding CFIUS and ITAR; assisting companies that sell services and equipment to the government including defense agencies; and providing services and counsel to the Intelligence Community.

Our National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team works collaboratively with the firm's more than 1,400 attorneys and policy professionals practicing in over 200 areas of law across the globe to provide comprehensive representation to help meet your legal needs.

NDAA and Defense Appropriations

Holland & Knight's National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team uses its in-depth understanding of governmental operations and political perspectives with significant knowledge of our clients' unique and evolving needs to advance their strategic objectives in Congress and with the DOD.

Our attorneys and policy advisors achieve this through a combination of policy depth, political prowess, media savvy and access to nationwide resources across a range of practices. Our team has years of experience working with members of both the U.S. House and Senate in a bipartisan manner to secure funding for clients. We've successfully advocated for our clients' priorities to be included in the NDAA and defense appropriations bills by leveraging our team's relationships and deep understanding of these processes.

Our successes related to the NDAA include:

  • advocating for a new federal defense program that would create a repair and replacement program for undersea cables; our team worked with the chair and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces to ensure that the program was included in the FY 2020 NDAA conference report; after a two-year battle to convince both authorizers and appropriators, $10 million was allocated in the 2019 Omnibus for this effort
  • securing a provision in the FY 2019 NDAA that indefinitely rolled back 2014 cuts to the DOD's per diem rates for military travelers' lodging
  • protecting a $99 million program that was eliminated in the FY 2019 Senate NDAA draft; the FY 2019 NDAA conference report restored the program in full
  • advocating for the inclusion of the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA) language in the final version of the NDAA; Congress ultimately included this provision that prohibits transit agencies in the United States from using federal funds to procure railcars from companies owned or controlled by the Chinese government to counter the growing threat from Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs)

Our successes related to defense appropriations include: 

  • obtaining a $5 million plus-up in the FY 2020 Defense Appropriations Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget on behalf of a university client for materials research
  • obtaining a $5 million plus-up in the FY 2018 DOD Air Force RDT&E for biosensors
  • obtaining a $5 million plus-up in the FY 2018 Navy and Air Force RDT&E for aircrew physiology research
  • successfully advocating four years in a row for the inclusion of mitochondrial disease research in a DOD Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program that has provided tens of millions of dollars in new competitive research grants

Legislative, White House and Cabinet-Level Connections

Holland & Knight's relationships throughout Congress, the White House and the executive branch are among our strongest resources. Our bipartisan team maintains deep professional ties with the majority and minority leadership at the federal level, and we regularly work with every appropriations committee, subcommittee and substantive authorizing committees.

Our National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team is equipped with seasoned advisors, including two former members of Congress who have firsthand experience with the NDAA and appropriations process. Our attorneys and policy advisors have strong ties and working relationships with both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House, including their leadership, caucuses and numerous committee chairs.

In addition, members of our team have a thorough insight into the policymaking process, gained through extensive experience working with the Senate and House Armed Services Committees and their defense appropriations committees.

Extensive Experience and Collaboration

Members of Holland & Knight's National Security, Defense and Intelligence Team work in tandem with other experienced attorneys at the firm in a wide range of areas to focus on the matters that are most important to our clients, including:

Government Contracts. We offer representation to government contractors of all sizes, including some of the largest aerospace and defense contractors, as well as midsize and small businesses. We help formulate a roadmap for how to ensure that our clients' objectives, programs and awarded contracts are adequately funded from year to year. This includes advising on cost and pricing issues, cost principals, defective pricing under the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA) and Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audits.

International Procurement. Our lawyers provide comprehensive legal services in the area of international procurement, including guidance on the Trade Agreements Act, Buy America Act, Berry Amendment, export controls, FOCI mitigation, foreign military sales, ITAR, EAR and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). We also work with contractors who perform in support of overseas/contingency operations and who market defense articles and services to foreign governments or who work with non-U.S. team members. This includes representing clients with DOD, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contracts.

FOCI Concerns. U.S. laws regarding FOCI generally prohibit a foreign-owned or foreign-controlled U.S. company from obtaining the facility security clearance necessary to bid on and perform classified U.S. government contracts. Holland & Knight lawyers have substantial experience in advising clients on negotiations with the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy and Justice, as well as members of the Intelligence Community and Team Telecom, to develop FOCI mitigation plans. In addition, our attorneys are well versed in how transactions might be structured to best anticipate FOCI concerns.

Security Strategies. Our lawyers work closely with the White House and Departments of Justice, State, Treasury, Defense, and Health and Human Services, as well as other agencies, to help prepare our clients for and establish counterterrorism, emergency response and federal law enforcement initiatives. We defend clients in civil and criminal investigations and enforcement actions involving national security matters. We also routinely provide preparation and representation in congressional hearings and investigations.

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