The Foreign Investment Review Section proactively protects national assets, including sensitive data and communications, by assessing, mitigating, and preventing national-security and law-enforcement risks before they materialize.
FIRS conducts this work both through case-specific national-security reviews and broader work. Its case-specific work includes:
- Foreign Investment including addressing national-security risks posed by foreign investments in the United States by representing DOJ on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and those posed by U.S. investments in foreign businesses by contributing to the development of the outbound-investment program;
- Telecommunications including chairing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the U.S. Telecommunications Services Sector (informally known as Team Telecom);
- Supply-Chain Security which involves addressing national-security threats posed by foreign-sourced technology, software, services, and equipment through the interagency exercise of a range of information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply-chain authorities; and,
- Compliance and Enforcement which focuses on monitoring companies’ compliance with and enforcing measures to mitigate risk.
FIRS is also heavily involved in broader work at the intersection of technology, national security, and business, trade, and investment. This broader work includes interagency policy development; reviewing proposed regulations and legislation; congressional engagements and briefings; international engagements with foreign partners and allies; and public outreach.
Within this work, FIRS prioritizes matters that implicates DOJ’s equities in national security, law, and intelligence. First, DOJ’s national-security equities include matters that implicate its counterintelligence and law-enforcement interests, including the security and privacy of sensitive data, proprietary information, and communications; telecommunications and related services; law-enforcement and intelligence tools, techniques, facilities, and jurisdiction; technologies that can enhance those risks (such as artificial intelligence, large-language models, augmented reality, and advanced computing). Second, FIRS plays a special role in providing legal advice to other agencies and interagency bodies, given the Attorney General’s unique legal responsibilities in advising the President and the rest of the Executive Branch, serving as the chief law enforcement officer, and conducting litigation. Third, FIRS works closely with the FBI in its roles as the principal federal law-enforcement agency, lead agency for investigating domestic counterintelligence threats, and a critical member of the Intelligence Community.
FIRS work’s directly supports the Executive Branch’s national-security priorities, including:
- two of the three pillars of the National Security Strategy, including out-competing China and constraining Russia, and shaping the rules of the road for technology, cybersecurity, and trade and economics;
- several pillars of the National Cyber Strategy, including disrupting and dismantling threat actors, shaping market forces to drives security and resilience, and forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals; and
- the Department’s FY2022–2026 Strategic Plan, including objective 2.1 to protect national security and objective 2.4 to enhance cybersecurity and fight cybercrime.
The current Chief of FIRS is Devin A. DeBacker.