AFIRE Virtual Event: Focus on CFIUS

Online, December 1, 2020


Tuesday, December 1 2020, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EST

Originally established in the 1970’s, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is a United States Government committee that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations.

With rising trade tensions between the US and other countries—especially China—the reach and implications of CFIUS decisions are having a growing impact on foreign investment into the US.

This discussion highlights the current status of CFIUS policies for commercial real estate decisions, and potential implications on the future of foreign direct investment.

All attendees are invited to contribute to the discussion through this brief three-minute AFIRE CFIUS survey (closes Dec. 1, 2020).

This event is open to all members and invited guests.


Joseph Benkert is a Senior Advisor in Morrison & Foerster’s National Security practice group. He advises clients on critical national security matters pertaining to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), export controls, and various regulatory and compliance issues.

Joseph previously served as a leading civilian official in the Department of Defense (DoD) from 2003-2009 under both the Bush and Obama administrations, including as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs after being nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate.

While at the DoD, Joseph led the department’s involvement in numerous complex matters before CFIUS. He oversaw more than 400 CFIUS cases and represented DoD in CFIUS deliberations determining whether a foreign investment in a U.S. company or its operations represented a national security risk. Joseph’s responsibilities at DoD also included managing technology security policy, the reform of export control processes, numerous sensitive nonproliferation projects, and a broad range of other defense-related issues. He continues to serve as an advisor on DoD’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee.

More recently, Joseph served as a Vice President of a leading global consultancy group, under former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. During his tenure, he advised clients on transactional matters that were subject to CFIUS review.

Barry Green heads US operations for Lighthouse, including acquisitions, financing, tax strategy and asset management. Before joining Lighthouse, he was a director and co-managing partner at Goulston & Storrs, an Am Law 200 firm. There, he spent more than 25 years representing foreign investors, public REITs and institutions with complex portfolio acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures and financing needs.

Barry earned his bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and his law degree from Yale Law School. He is a member of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) and has served the association as a director, executive committee member and general counsel.

Nicholas Spiliotes is Co-Chair of the Morrison & Foerster’s National Security Practice. He has over 30 years of in-depth experience in advising clients on a wide range of U.S. national security matters in the context of cross-border investments, acquisitions, joint ventures and commercial transactions.

Mr. Spiliotes advises clients on U.S. foreign investment approvals (CFIUS); Department of Defense foreign ownership, control and influence mitigation under the National Industrial Security Program; and U.S. sanctions and embargoes (OFAC), including certain enforcement matters, relating to a broad range of industries, products and transactions.

In his more than 30 years at the firm, Mr. Spiliotes has served as Chair of Morrison & Foerster’s 520 lawyer Business Department, firm-wide Managing Partner for Operations, Co-Chair of the firm’s Finance Department and Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Spiliotes served in the US government as a junior staff member of the National Security Council at the White House, and in the US Foreign Service as a Special Assistant in the Office of the US Representative to the United Nations.

Mr. Spiliotes is ranked by Chambers USA 2020 for International Trade, as a Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) Expert.

Charles Capito is a partner in both Morrison & Foerster’s National Security and Government Contracts and Public Procurement practices.

In the national security space, he counsels clients frequently on the complex and evolving requirements of the CFIUS, as US businesses and foreign investors balance their business plans against CFIUS’s considerable role in protecting US national security. Charles also regularly advises clients on US export control regimes in the context of specific transactions and day-to-day counseling – in particular the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) – and issues that government contractors face when subject to Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI). Charles speaks and writes regularly on these and other topics in the national security space.

Charles is also a seasoned Government Contracts practitioner, where he assists government contractors with a wide variety of litigation issues. He focuses on pre- and post-award bid protests, and contracts claims and disputes. Charles has extensive experience at the Government Accountability Office, the Court of Federal Claims, the boards of contract appeals, and other judicial and administrative tribunals.

Additionally, he counsels clients on prime and subcontractor disputes, organizational conflicts of interest, small business issues, compliance with federal procurement regulations, and government contracts mergers and acquisitions.

Watch this page for updates.


Launched in early 2020 as part of AFIRE’s membership events program, AFIRE Virtual Events provide a recurring digital format for AFIRE members to stay connected beyond in-person meetings.

Other special virtual events, outside the weekly scheduled, focus on specialized and timely topics, as well as supporting ongoing education and research.

AFIRE Virtual Events are recorded and made available for members only.


Asmait Tewelde, Meeting Director 202 312 1404

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