Jamil Jaffer

Jamil Jaffer

  • Founder & Executive Director, National Security Institute; Assistant Professor of Law & Director, National Security Law & Policy Program, George Mason University Law School.

Biography

Jamil N. Jaffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the National Security Law & Policy Program and the nation’s first Cyber, Intelligence, and National Security LL.M at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he also teaches classes on counterterrorism, intelligence, surveillance, cybersecurity, and other national security matters, as well as a summer course in Padua, Italy with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.  Jamil is also affiliated with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and previously served as a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution from 2016 – 2019.

Jamil is also an advisor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm; and serves on the advisory boards of IronNet Cybersecurity, a NYSE-listed cyber collective defense company; U.S. Strategic Metals, North America’s largest primary producer of cobalt, a critical mineral used in EV batteries, aerospace, and other national security applications; and 4iQ, a deep and dark web intelligence startup.  Jamil also serves as an advisor to Duco, a technology platform startup that connects corporations with geopolitical and international business experts and Amber, a digital authentication and verification startup.

Among other things, Jamil also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Board of Advisors for the Global Cyber Alliance, and the Advisory Board of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Center on Cyber and Tech Innovation, the Executive Committee of the Reagan Institute Strategy Group, and is a member of the Center for a New American Security’s Artificial Intelligence and National Security Task Force and the CNAS Digital Freedom Forum. Jamil is also affiliated with Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Immediately prior to his current positions, Jamil served for six-and-a-half years as a senior business leader at IronNet Cybersecurity, helping take the company from a bootstrapped first-year technology products startup through two rounds of venture capital fundraising, growing from 40 employees to over 300, and through its listing on New York Stock Exchange through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).  In his role as IronNet's Senior Vice President for Strategy, Partnerships & Corporate Development, Jamil worked directly for the co-CEOs of the company, Gen (ret.) Keith B. Alexander, the former Director of the National Security Agency and Founding Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Bill Welch, the former COO of Zscaler and Duo; in that role, Jamil led all of the company’s strategic and technology partnership efforts, including developing go-to-market and technology integration plans with some of the largest cloud platforms and cybersecurity companies in the market, evaluating potential acquisition targets, and developing overall corporate strategy and thought leadership around collective security and collaborative defense in the cyber arena.

Jamil is also a Fellow at the Academy for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Intelligence Policy, the Board of Directors of Speech First, and the Executive Committee of the International Law and National Security Practice Group of the Federalist Society, and is an advisor to the Concordia Summit.

Prior to his current positions, Jamil served on the leadership team of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor under Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), where he worked on key national security and foreign policy issues, including leading the drafting of the proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS in 2014 and 2015, the AUMF against Syria in 2013, and revisions to the 9/11 AUMF against al Qaeda.  Jamil was also the lead architect of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act and two sanctions laws against Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.

Prior to joining SFRC, Jamil served as Senior Counsel to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence under Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) where he led the committee’s oversight of NSA surveillance, NRO intelligence issues, and NGA analytic and collection matters, as well as intelligence community-wide counterterrorism issues.  Jamil was also the lead architect of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, the nation’s first cyber threat intelligence sharing legislation that was signed into law in 2015.

In the Bush Administration, Jamil served in the White House as an Associate Counsel to the President, handling Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community matters, and serving as one of the White House Counsel’s primary representatives to the National Security Council Deputies Committee.

Prior to the White House, Jamil served on the leadership team of the Justice Department’s National Security Division as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, where he focused on counterterrorism and intelligence matters. At NSD, Jamil was helped lead the division’s work on In re: Directives, the first ever two-party litigated matter in the FISA Court and only the second case before the FISA Court of Review in its 30-year history.  Jamil also led NSD’s efforts on the President’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), including the drafting of NSPD-54/HSPD-23, and related classified matters, and advised the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command’s predecessor organization, the Joint Function Component Command for Network Warfare (JFCC-NW), on matters related to cyber intelligence collection and offensive cyber activities.  For his work on these matters, Jamil was awarded the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Special Initiative and was among the group of lawyers awarded the Director of National Intelligence’s 2008 Legal Award (Team of the Year – Cyber Legal).

Jamil also served in other positions in the Justice Department, including in the Office of Legal Policy, where he worked on the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the United States Supreme Court.

Jamil has also served as a lawyer in private practice at Kellogg Huber, a Washington, DC-based litigation boutique, as a policy advisor to Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and as a staff member or senior advisor on a number of political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns and a presidential transition team.  While in law school, Jamil was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review, managing editor of the Chicago Journal of International Law, and National Symposium Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.  Following law school, Jamil served as a law clerk to Judge Edith H. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and, later in his career, as a law clerk to then-Judge Neil M. Gorsuch when he first joined the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit as well as a law clerk to Justice Neil Gorsuch when he joined the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jamil has published multiple op-eds and academic articles on national security, foreign policy, cybersecurity, counterterrorism, encryption, and intelligence matters, and is the co-author of a book chapter with former NSA Director Gen. (Ret.) Keith B. Alexander on national security and the press in National Security, Leaks, and the Freedom of the Press:  The Pentagon Papers Fifty Years On (2021) and a book chapter with former CIA Director Gen. (ret.) Mike Hayden on ISIS, al Qaeda, and other international terrorist groups in Choosing to Lead: American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World (2015).  Jamil has also written book chapters on cybersecurity and surveillance, as well as op-eds and policy papers with former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen, and Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL), among others.

Jamil has previously taught graduate-level courses in intelligence law and policy at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and the National Intelligence University, was an outside advisor to the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and has recently testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and other national security matters. Jamil has recently appeared on a range of national television and radio outlets including CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, MSNBC, Bloomberg, PBS, Voice of America, and National Public Radio, and in various print and online publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post on a range of national security matters including cybersecurity, counterterrorism, surveillance, encryption, privacy, and foreign policy issues.

Jamil holds degrees from UCLA (B.A., cum laude), the University of Chicago Law School (J.D., with honors), and the United States Naval War College (M.A., with distinction).

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