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Brian Williams

Brian Williams advises on the U.S. national security review process administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), as well as related reviews conducted by the informal interagency working group known as Team Telecom.

Brian, a non-lawyer, draws on over 20 years of public and private sector experience advising on issues at the intersection of national security, technology, and law. He is the principal architect of the risk framework that has become the de facto standard for all risk assessments conducted by CFIUS and Team Telecom, and has counseled the most senior officials of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security on how to assess and address potential national security risks posed by foreign investment.

Brian led multi-agency analyst teams which authored the majority of CFIUS risk assessments between 2005 and 2017, while providing the U.S. Government due diligence, assessment, and, where necessary, mitigation strategy development support on over 1,600 CFIUS transactions and 1,000 Federal Communications Commission license applications before Team Telecom.

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted an order formalizing the referral and review process associated with “Team Telecom”—the group of national security and law enforcement agencies responsible for assessing foreign investment in U.S. telecommunications, submarine cable licensees, and broadcast licensees. The order adopts rules and procedures that will govern what has long been an informal process at the agency, both in connection with the issuance of such licenses and with respect to transfers of control.

The FCC’s action is consistent with the agency’s increased focus on, and involvement in, questions around national security and foreign investment in the telecommunications and media sectors. This attention to national security at the FCC is likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the election in November, given that both Republicans and Democrats at the agency have supported the agency’s heightened role in national security matters under its jurisdiction.

Continue Reading FCC Formalizes Foreign Investment Reviews; More National Security Actions Likely to Follow