Joseph A. Benkert

Senior Advisor, National Security | Washington, D.C. | (202) 778-1608
(202) 778-1608

Joseph Benkert is a senior advisor in Morrison & Foerster’s National Security practice group. He advises clients on critical national security matters pertaining to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), export controls, and various regulatory and compliance issues.

Mr. Benkert previously served as a leading civilian official in the Department of Defense (DoD) from 2003-2009 under both the Bush and Obama administrations, including as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs after being nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate.

While at the DoD, Mr. Benkert led the department’s involvement in numerous complex matters before CFIUS. He oversaw more than 400 CFIUS cases and represented DoD in CFIUS deliberations determining whether a foreign investment in a U.S. company or its operations represented a national security risk. Mr. Benkert’s responsibilities at DoD also included managing technology security policy, the reform of export control processes, numerous sensitive nonproliferation projects, and a broad range of other defense-related issues. He continues to serve as an advisor on DoD’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee.

More recently, Mr. Benkert served as a Vice President of a leading global consultancy group, under former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. During his tenure, he advised clients on transactional matters that were subject to CFIUS review.

Mr. Benkert was a career Navy officer with extensive experience both in operational command and in national security policy formulation and implementation. He was the Executive Director of the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, an advisory group for the Navy’s senior uniformed leader, and served in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy both as a senior military assistant and as the Director of European Policy. His commands included a frigate, a guided missile cruiser, two destroyer squadrons, and operational groups.

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