Clete D. Johnson, Partner

Clete provides advice and advocacy to clients navigating the complex terrain at the intersection of technology and security. Having served in a wide variety of national security and cybersecurity leadership roles on Capitol Hill, in the national security and intelligence communities, in the regulatory arena, and in the Executive Branch, Clete focuses in particular on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government-industry collaboration.  

Clete was Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Senior Adviser for Cybersecurity and Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he coordinated the Department’s cybersecurity initiatives and the Department’s support for the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He was also the Department’s representative for National Security Council staff deliberations on cybersecurity, encryption, and other policy issues at the intersection of technology and security.  

Previously, Clete was appointed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler as the FCC’s first Chief Counsel for Cybersecurity. In this position, he helped develop the FCC’s cybersecurity mission, focusing on creating new legal mechanisms for government collaboration with private sector stakeholders to improve the security and reliability of communications infrastructure. He was also the primary drafter of the charter for the Cybersecurity Forum for Independent and Executive Branch Regulators, a coordinating body of regulatory agencies which is presently chaired by the FCC.  

Prior to his time at the FCC, Clete was Senator John D. Rockefeller IV’s  designated counsel on the Senate Intelligence Committee and counsel for defense, foreign policy, and international trade. In these roles, he was a leading staffer on bipartisan Senate cybersecurity initiatives and the primary staff drafter of the legislation that codified the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s collaborative process to work with industry to develop and update the widely-praised Cybersecurity Framework.  

Before his government service, Clete worked for a major Washington-based law firm, where he practiced in the areas of international trade, defense, and security. Earlier, he served as an Army officer in Germany, Korea, and the Balkans. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, and he received a master of science degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard, where he graduated cum laude, cross-enrolled at MIT for service as Executive Officer of its Army ROTC Paul Revere Battalion, and played varsity football. 

Clete lives in Alexandria, Va., with his wife, Sheila, and their three children.


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District of Columbia, 2006
Georgia, 2004


J.D. cum laude, University of Georgia School of Law, 2004
Fulbright Fellow, M.Sc. International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2001
B.A. cum laude, History, Harvard University, 1996


Broadband & IP-Enabled Services
Energy Regulation
FTC & Consumer Protection
International & Satellite Communications
Internet of Things
Privacy, Data Protection & Cybersecurity
State Regulation
Unmanned Aircraft/Drones (UAS)
Wired Communications
Wireless Communications
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