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Partner Rich Gross Discusses the AUMF Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

July 25, 2017

FH+H Partner Rich Gross testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 26 regarding the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against terrorists.

Mr. Gross said he hoped to offer a military legal practitioner's view on the AUMF to the committee.

"I continue to believe the 2001 AUMF contains adequate legal authority for the use of military force against [ISIS] ... I recognize, however, that reasonable minds disagree on this point, with some voicing criticism of the decision to rely on the 2001 AUMF as the domestic legal authority to conduct military operations against ISIS."

He continued to say he believes "it would be prudent for Congress to enact a new AUMF to specifically address the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups, for a variety of reasons."

To learn more about Mr. Gross' opinion on the AUMF, view his testimony here by skipping to the 45 minute mark, or read his full statement here.

Other witnesses included former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Mathhew Olson, and their testimonies can also be found on the Foreign Affairs Committee's website.

Above photo via the Foreign Affairs Committee's video of the hearing.

Partner Jack White Teaches in CLE Seminar on Corporate Governance

July 25, 2017

FH+H Partner Jack White will teach a section of a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar called "A Primer on Advising Directors and Officers on Corporate Governance" on Sept. 14.

The one-day digital seminar will examine the duties and obligations of directors and officers and the liabilities associated with their roles.

The basic-to-intermediate level program is designed for attorneys, but directors, officers, managers, presidents and vice presidents, accountants, and paralegals can also benefit.

To register, call (800) 930-6182, visit the National Business Institute website, or email Jack White directly.

Air and Missile Defense Must Be Top Priority for Lawmakers

July 19, 2017

FH+H Of Counsel Dean Popps wrote the following article for The Hill about laws concerning air and missile defense. Read the original article here.

Air and Missile Defense Must Be Top Priority for Lawmakers

By Dean Popps, Opinion Contributor - 7.18.17

The more North Korea launches intercontinental ballistic missiles, the more obvious the obvious becomes — now is not the time for congressional defense committees to do anything that would impede America’s advancements in air and missile defense.

This fact is not lost on President Trump or our allies, as the U.S. and Poland have agreed to put PATRIOT defense systems in Poland, a country that still bears the scars of how vulnerable a nation can be when it has inadequate air defenses. 

And it’s a harsh reality that is certainly not lost on our allies who have lost forces to friendly fire, primarily‎ because command-and-control technology developed in the 1980s are still in use.

The world has come to yet another perilous crossroads — and it is critical that our policy and budget experts stay focused and committed to upgrades within the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD) program. 

America’s men and women who comprise the world’s most dominant ground forces on frontlines around the world must have the capability to destroy any missile or airborne threat that our enemies might launch against our troops. What global hotspots like Iran, Eastern Europe and of course North Korea have taught us is that those threats are only increasing in volume and complexity.

The threats are real. The ability to respond must be just as real.

The current fast-changing threat environment — in which technology and cyberwarfare advance almost daily — often require the Army to revise program requirements in the middle of program development. I’ve seen first-hand challenges posed by rapid technology changes within major Army programs.

New demands often push cutting-edge delivery timelines to the right and changing program requirements and re-baselining is sometime necessary to ensure that a desired capability is not dated when it is fielded. Such is the case with a key element of AIAMD, a new command-and-control system, a system of systems, known as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).

These processes should be viewed — and supported — by Congress as our best hopes for maintaining our national defense and keeping the American people safe from a new generation of existential threats. 

As Barry J. Pike, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space, recently testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces: “The IBCS remains the Army’s number one air and missile developmental priority and serves as the foundation for Army [air and missile defense] modernization.”

The Army is restructuring the AIAMD program and extending the schedule to ensure the program includes significant new capabilities and to ensure emerging requirements are satisfied before IBCS enters Low Rate Initial Production or "LRIP.‎" 

This includes aligning the program with, and including, PATRIOT software upgrades, functionality and hardware updates. Aligning these capabilities and requirements will ensure a more robust IBCS capability that will incorporate the latest software and functionality.

Warfighters need to be able to better see the entire battlespace, and as Pike noted in his congressional testimony, this program will help them do that. Besides, Army’s pledge to its soldiers is to never allow them to wage merely a “fair fight” but to have overwhelming capabilities in any combat scenario.   

“The program will field Engagement Operation Centers and an Integrated Fire Control Network to integrate Army AMD sensors and shooters through a common battle command system,” Pike testified. “When fielded, IBCS will enable a tailorable, flexible, task-organized Army AMD force, breaking the current stove-piped system construct.” 

Lawmakers should recognize that seeing IBCS through production and deployment will give the Defense Department the better buying power it so urgently seeks. That’s because unlike the outdated systems IBCS will replace — this technology will be wholly owned by the government, with the Army being the key system integrator. In a changing environment, taking advantage of the open nature of the AIAMD enterprise architecture allows for the addition of new capabilities, at a vastly reduced cost. 

Gone will be the days of managing seven siloed, legacy command and control systems, each requiring maintenance and modernization budgets. That can be extremely cumbersome and costly, including paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single line of code.

Lawmakers might keep this in mind as they consider the budget needs of today’s Army. While I sympathize with lawmakers who are forced to choose between modernization and growing the force, the continued support of AIAMD is not a choice. Our enemies won’t allow it.  

In these dangerous times, modernized air and missile defense is not a luxury that can be delayed or gutted on a whim. It is, quite simply, a matter of life, death and common sense.

Let’s hope for the future security of our nation and her allies that the latter wins the day. 

Dean Popps is the former Army Acquisition Executive and Acting United States assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology from 2008 to 2010. 


Counsel David Delaney Successfully Advises Government Contractor Working with Cyber Forensics Company

June 28, 2017

Working with a cyber forensics company, FH+H Counsel David Delaney helped a mid-sized government contractor assess and respond to an unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information. Specifically, he was uniquely capable of identifying the legal and regulatory requirements of the company in reporting and responding to an invasive ransomware attack.

Mr. Delaney focuses his practice on clients’ cyberspace needs and advises on a wide range of business issues arising under international, federal, and state law, including data security, privacy, breach response, product development, contracts, internal policies, and regulatory compliance.

Mr. Delaney can also advise officers and directors on strategic risk management, corporate governance, and leadership programs.

To read about our government contracts practice group, click here.



Kevin Byrnes Joins FH+H as a Partner

June 22, 2017

FH+H is pleased to welcome Partner Kevin E. Byrnes to our team of professionals. Mr. Byrnes is an experienced civil litigator and a current member of the Virginia and District of Columbia Bar. His practice areas include business litigation, employment law and estate litigation.

Mr. Byrnes has an active federal employment practice, often representing senior employees, federal law enforcement agents and licensed professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, who face allegations of misconduct, security and background investigations, fitness for duty issues, or who claim they are whistleblowers or face discrimination. Mr. Byrnes, himself a veteran and former judge advocate, also represents active duty and reservist personnel, who face discrimination due to their current or prior military service.

Another area of practice includes the representation of medical professionals. On areas ranging from developing, selling, or purchasing a practice to compliance with state and federal law and ethics codes, Mr. Byrnes offers a full range of business and litigation services, including practice before boards of licensure.

Mr. Byrnes has litigated extensively at the administrative, district court, and appellate level. In his career, Mr. Byrnes has participated in more than 150 jury trials and has also argued before the MSPB, the EEOC, DOHA, the 4th and 5th Circuits, the D.C. Circuit, and in various state and federal courts.

Mr. Byrnes is a graduate of the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and he is admitted before the District of Columbia and Virginia bars. Mr. Byrnes previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia. He has been in private practice since 2001 in both small and large firm settings and most recently successfully ran a solo practice before deciding to join our firm.

FH+H's newest Partner's experience goes far beyond what is described above. Click here for a full profile on Mr. Byrnes.

Partner Jack White Earns NOVA Chamber Citizenship Award

June 15, 2017

FH+H Partner Jack White was honored at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards on June 14 for extraordinary dedication and leadership.

The Chamber’s chairman presented White with the award, saying he earned the distinction from his commitment to counseling many companies, board of directors, municipalities, and a variety of individual and corporate clients on a wide array of matters.

At FH+H, White’s expertise spans the range of state and federal venues in several states through the United States Supreme Court. His extensive experience coupled with a strong dedication to clients makes White more than deserving of the Chamber’s award.

FH+H Successfully Defends Client Award of $100 Million SOCOM Contract

June 14, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Partners Tom Craig and Rich Gross, along with Associate Marlena Ewald, successfully defended a bid protest on behalf of a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) client. 

The bid protest, filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), involved a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) contract, with a total award value in excess of $100M, for knowledge-based services. An unsuccessful bidder protested the award at the GAO, challenging SOCOM’s evaluation of the proposals and its source selection decision. As counsel for the intervenor, Craig, Gross, and Ewald preserved the award for the client, while also ensuring the client’s other interests were protected, to include successfully arguing for the redaction of the client’s sensitive and proprietary information from the publicly-released version of the GAO decision. GAO’s denial of the protest cleared the way for the client to begin its work for SOCOM. 

For more information on FH+H’s Government Contracts Practice, visit our website.



FH+H Attorney Appointed to Military Affairs Committee of the Florida Bar

June 13, 2017

Tampa, Florida – FH+H Partner Kate Cooper was recently appointed to serve on the Military Affairs Committee of the Florida Bar effective July 1, 2017. Cooper was appointed to this position by The Florida Bar President-Elect, Michael J. Higer.

The committee serves to gather and disseminate information, share expertise, and advise the members of the Bar on all matters relating to the practice of military law in Florida, and to have general jurisdiction regarding any problem that may arise relative to the provision of legal services to, for, or by members of the military establishment. The committee considers all possible means of enhancing or increasing the cooperation and communication between the local bar, the legal offices, and the judge advocates of the various military installations within the state.


FH+H Partner Rich Gross Helps New Administration Nominees Navigate Confirmation

June 12, 2017

Washington, D.C. – One of the more interesting parts of Partner Rich Gross’ practice is Senate confirmation prep. As the new Administration works through the process of nominating appointees for senior government service, several have turned to Gross for assistance, to include one cabinet-level official. Given Gross’ 30+ years in the federal government, most of it as a legal advisor to senior executives, he is uniquely suited to help.

“While on active duty, I helped several senior flag officers prepare their packets for Senate confirmation,” noted Gross. “I’m all too familiar with the paperwork required, and I’ve even participated in mock Senate hearings to prepare them for the confirmation process. It made sense to add it to my portfolio here at FH+H.”

Gross added the most challenging part of the process is often completing two forms: the “Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report” (Office of Government Ethics [OGE] Form 278) and the “Questionnaire for National Security Positions” (Standard Form [SF] 86). Both forms involve disclosing significant amounts of personal data, often going back years. 

“In particular, the financial disclosure form can be the most challenging because the Office of Government Ethics can be quite meticulous in their review process,” Gross said. “The Senate gets the OGE 278, and the public can request copies via a FOIA request, so it’s important to get the form right.”

In one case, Gross even acted as the spokesperson for a client when a media outlet inquired about some of the entries on the client’s form.

“Frankly, as several commentators have mentioned, it’s becoming almost too difficult to serve in the highest levels of our government,” Gross said. “But I’d like to think we make it a little easier on our clients who choose to serve.”


FH+H Recovers More Than $18,000 for an Active Duty Military Service Member

June 07, 2017

FH+H Partner Rich Gross, Associate Marzia Momen, and Paralegal Abby Cannon recently won an appeal at the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), helping an active duty military service member recover more than $18,000.

The service member, through no fault of his own, had been overpaid in basic allowance for housing (BAH) funds over a three-year period because of an accounting error (an erroneous zip code for his duty location in the Defense Financing and Accounting Service, or DFAS, pay system). The service member had inquired about the zip code several times, and each time was assured the BAH was correct; however, DFAS went back and collected almost three years-worth of overpayments. 

The service member sought a forgiveness of the debt on equitable grounds but was denied relief by both DFAS and DOHA. He retained FH+H to make his final appeal and won. Given that FH+H is a veteran-owned law firm, nothing is more gratifying than successfully assisting military service members and their families.