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Industry and Security

John T. Masterson, Jr.
Chief Counsel
Tel: (202) 482-5301
Fax: (202) 482-0085

BIS Website

Bureau of Industry and Security


The Chief Counsel for Industry and Security and the attorneys and support staff who work with him provide legal services to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS"). BIS plays a central role in advancing the nation's security, foreign policy, and defense industrial base interests. BIS activities include:

  • Administering and enforcing U.S. export controls on dual-use items (items with both a civilian and a military or proliferation-related use)
  • Enforcing laws prohibiting U.S. persons from participation in foreign boycotts
  • Cooperating with other countries on export control and strategic trade issues
  • Assisting U.S. industry to comply with international arms control agreements
  • Monitoring the health of the U.S. defense industrial base
  • Assisting in the Department of Commerce's participation in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Office Description

Attorneys in the Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security ("OCC-IS") practice over a broad range of disciplines and responsibilities. OCC-IS activities include:

Enforcement (litigation)

  • Representing BIS in administrative enforcement cases before Administrative Law Judges
  • Assisting Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the prosecution of criminal export control cases
  • Advising BIS's criminal investigators on issues such as the use of police powers, including search and seizure, firearms, arrest, and surveillance methods
  • Working with the Department of Justice in defending court challenges relating to BIS programs.

Licensing and Policy

  • Counseling BIS on legal and policy issues relating to export licensing and antiboycott compliance issues
  • Reviewing and interpreting regulations maintained by BIS, including the Export Administration Regulations
  • Drafting and reviewing proposed legislation relating to BIS's work
  • Advising and participating in BIS's international cooperation programs
  • Providing legal support to BIS's defense industrial base programs
  • Assisting in assessments of the national security implications of foreign takeovers of U.S. companies and the effect of imports on the national security.

The Chief Counsel leads a team of approximately 16 lawyers and support staff to provide BIS legal services.