National and Homeland Security

The broad implications of homeland security laws, regulations, and policies increasingly require companies and governments to have detailed understandings of the relevant rules, practices and political dynamics.  Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s National and Homeland Security group is well-versed on the homeland security mission, including international trade facilitation, immigration, cybersecurity and infrastructure protection, emergency preparedness, and counterterrorism.

Complementing and drawing on the expertise of the firm’s existing marquee practices, such as international trade, export controls, economic sanctions, government affairs, immigration, customs, telecommunications and internet, and transportation, our practice includes former senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Our in-depth understanding of the applicable regulatory frameworks, legal requirements and industry practices provides clients with a team of professionals who are knowledgeable in the trends and nuances of the industries particularly impacted by DHS regulations including commercial aviation, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, as well as sovereign governments.

In addition, our team of lawyers and professionals has extensive experience developing laws and policies in conjunction with DHS and its sub agencies – Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration Customs Enforcement, as well as other federal departments including Justice, Defense, State, Treasury, and various members of the intelligence community.

Steptoe’s National and Homeland Security team advises clients on a broad range of compliance-related issues, including:

CFIUS Review

When foreign-owned companies seek to invest in the United States, the national security implications of their investments can be subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  Steptoe has substantial experience assisting clients with the intricacies of the foreign investment review process through CFIUS as well as under several other statutes applicable to foreign investment in the United States.  The members of our Homeland Security practice and other Steptoe attorneys provide our clients with a sophisticated insider’s understanding of the process by which the US government reviews the national security implications of foreign investments.

Compliance and Enforcement of Export Controls and Economic Sanctions

Steptoe offers a full range of counseling, compliance, and advocacy services for companies involved in international transactions that implicate US or international regulatory requirements.  We have assisted many corporate, professional service, government-related, and individual clients on matters involving export controls for dual-use goods, technology, and defense articles; economic sanctions, which encompass every US and UN embargo and sanction program in place; anti-boycott compliance under both the Commerce Department and Treasury Department regimes; and international regulatory issues associated with cross-border joint ventures, mergers, or licensing agreements.


Our lawyers provide advice to a broad range of industries, including financial services and technology companies on applicable US and international laws and regulations related to cybersecurity.  We regularly assist clients with navigating the best practices associated with minimizing the risk of a data security breach as well as responding in the event of a breach, as well as how to comply with applicable laws regarding breaches.

Aviation, Maritime, and Surface Transportation Security

Airlines, cruise lines, cargo shippers, subways, bus companies, rail systems, and pipeline companies are all affected by DHS regulations and policies.  Steptoe’s Homeland Security team helps clients in a broad spectrum of industries navigate regulations and policies set and administered by DHS and its operating agencies including:

  • Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).  C-TPAT reduces delays at US ports for importers adhering to US government security standards; shipping interests should understand entry and compliance processes and the significance of “mutual recognition” of C-TPAT foreign analogs.
  • Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  The VWP enables citizens of member countries to travel securely and efficiently to the United States without a visa; foreign governments seeking VWP entry and those seeking to maintain VWP status must understand the operative laws and related political dynamics.
  • Registered Traveler Programs (e.g., Global Entry, Privium, FLUX). Registered traveler programs enable vetted participants to move through expedited entry lines at participating ports; companies and associations involved in frequent travel should understand how these programs can be expanded.
  • Travel Delays.  Travel delays associated with visa screening, watchlisting problems, and other security and immigration issues are common; companies, associations, and individuals involved in frequent travel should understand how delays can be addressed either with programmatic solutions or case-by-case.