February 06, 2013

Former FCC Public Safety/Homeland Security Chief Jamie Barnett Joins Venable to Lead Firm’s Cybersecurity Initiatives

6 min

Rear Admiral Barnett created FCC’s Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division; joins Venable as companies and organizations grapple with increasing data security breaches and cyber attacks

WASHINGTON, DC (February 6, 2013) – Enhancing its leadership in communications and cybersecurity law, Venable LLP announced that James Arden Barnett, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN (Retired), has joined the firm as a partner in Washington, DC. Jamie Barnett is the former Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for the Federal Communications Commission.  He becomes co-chair of the Telecommunications Group and a partner in the firm’s cybersecurity practice.

With a distinguished career in the Navy and his success at the FCC, Admiral Barnett is a recognized authority on national security policy, public safety communications and cybersecurity policy. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of National Security Policy at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, one of the country’s premier science and technology think tanks.

At the FCC, Admiral Barnett created the Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division, which was responsible for working with industry to establish three major voluntary cybersecurity measures for Internet service providers. The first measure created a new ISP code of conduct to reduce “botnets,” which are legions of malware infected computers that can launch devastating attacks against industry and government networks. The second initiative took significant strides to secure the Domain Name System from illegal web spoofing. And the third measure established protocols to reduce the risk of Internet route hijacking, a growing threat in which Internet traffic is redirected through foreign countries, including China and Pakistan.  By working closely with industry, Admiral Barnett and the FCC obtained voluntary implementation by the ISP to cover nearly 90% of all U.S. Internet users.

As Chief of the Bureau, Admiral Barnett was a leader in advocating for a national, interoperable public safety broadband network.  Additionally, he led efforts to lay the groundwork for a Next Generation 911 system and improve location accuracy for wireless 911 calls.  Admiral Barnett proposed the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, which was conducted on November 9, 2011.

“Jamie Barnett is a leader on communications security and cyber-protection issues. His leadership has provided innovative means for companies, individuals and organizations to defend against the continuous dangers posed by those prepared to attack America’s communications infrastructure and other critical infrastructures from cyber criminals, terrorists, hacktivists and state sponsored espionage,” said Brock Landry, chair of Venable’s Government Division. “At a time when many people were talking about ways to respond to cyber assaults, Jamie was implementing protocols at the FCC that have fortified our collective ability to protect the nation’s networks, whether government, business or industry.”

“Jamie is a huge addition to our group and brings an incredible combination of experience, knowledge and relationships on communications security matters,” added Frederick Joyce, Venable’s other Communications Group co-chair. “I am thrilled that he’s agreed to join and take a leadership role in our cybersecurity efforts.”

At Venable, Admiral Barnett joins a communications practice well advanced on security and privacy issues. The firm was one of the nation’s first to create a formal Homeland Security group following 9/11, led at the time by former U.S. Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson. Venable boasts a preeminent privacy group – which has won the Chambers Award for Excellence. Venable attorneys have worked on every piece of federal privacy-related legislation and rulemaking issued in recent years, and also wrote the first comprehensive desktop reference on homeland security laws.

“Cybersecurity issues are not merely an IT problem – we’ve repeatedly seen that cyber threats endanger the entirety of the country’s critical infrastructures,” Admiral Barnett said. “Our transportation, energy, communications, manufacturing and financial services sectors are all expending tremendous energy and resources on protecting themselves from cyber threats. Venable has long been a leader in Internet and communications security and was a pioneer in formulating homeland security strategies for clients. I’m thrilled to join the firm and to be given a leadership role on cybersecurity matters.”

At the Potomac Institute, Admiral Barnett focused closely on policy issues related to national defense, cybersecurity, supply chain threats and public safety broadband communications. In 2012, he authored a highly regarded report on the challenges facing the establishment of congressionally funded $7 billion nationwide public safety broadband network entitled, “What Should FirstNet Do First?”

Prior to his tenure at the FCC, Admiral Barnett served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve for 32 years, including several assignments as commanding officer.  As a Rear Admiral, he served as Director of Education and Training in the Pentagon during a crucial overhaul of the Navy’s education structure. He led a task force for developing a Navy Education Strategy and served on the Board of Advisors for the Naval Postgraduate School. His assignments also included Acting Deputy Director of Expeditionary Warfare and Acting Deputy Director of Surface Warfare of the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. His last active duty was Deputy Commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command in Little Creek, Virginia, which had over 8,000 specially trained Sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan at the height of the wars.

After 9/11, Admiral Barnett was recalled to active duty to help lead the Navy’s Revolution in Training, designed to overhaul naval training systems.  He proposed the Navy’s Center for Personal Development and was subsequently selected for command of this center with responsibility for delivering college-level education to Navy members worldwide as well as training in ethics, diversity, finance and fitness.

Much of Admiral Barnett’s naval career was spent in the Middle East and Africa, beginning with a deployment on the USS JONAS INGRAM in 1977. He served as an Executive Officer of the Military Sealift Command Unit in Ad Dammam, Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm and later commanded sealift command units supporting naval operations in the Persian Gulf.

From 1984-2001, Admiral Barnett was a senior partner at a law firm in Tupelo, Mississippi, focusing on government law issues for municipalities, counties, law enforcement agencies, schools and local officials.

Admiral Barnett received his J.D. from the University Of Mississippi School of Law (1984), where he was Chairman of the Moot Court and received the Dean Parham Williams Outstanding Student Award. He received his B.A. from the University of Mississippi (1976), where he was President of the Associated Student Body and selected for the Hall of Fame.

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Note: An American Lawyer 100 law firm, Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia, Venable LLP lawyers and legislative advisors serve the needs of our domestic and global clients in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property, regulatory, and government affairs.