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Bureau of Industry & Security

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Friday, February 9, 2024 | Media Contact: [email protected]

Readout of Disruptive Technology Strike Force One-Year Summit

PHOENIX, AZ – Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod traveled to Phoenix, Arizona from February 7-8 to mark the one-year anniversary since the Disruptive Technology Strike Force was launched.  The Disruptive Technology Strike Force is an interagency law enforcement effort aimed at preventing critical technologies from being acquired by authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states Assistant Secretary Axelrod co-leads the Strike Force with Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and they were joined in Phoenix by Gary Restaino, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.  Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, who first announced the creation of the Strike Force on February 16, 2023, delivered virtual remarks to commemorate the one-year anniversary.

The two-day event began with a law enforcement-only day focused on case studies, best investigative practices, briefings on cutting-edge technologies, and one-year reports from all fifteen of the local cells throughout the country.  On the second day, the Strike Force was joined by representatives from the private sector and academia from across the country for sessions describing the work of the Strike Force across multiple subject areas, corporate compliance, best practices for building trade compliance programs, and law enforcement outreach efforts.  Along with U.S. government officials, the summit consisted of presenters from the private sector and academia, including officials from Arizona State University, which hosted the event at its Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. 

Representatives of the Ukrainian government attended the summit as honored guests to present on the use of advanced technology by Russia in support of its unlawful and full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine and on how the work of the Strike Force can assist Ukraine’s war efforts.  The Ukrainian delegation consisted of Yuriy Bielousov, the Head of the War Crimes Department in the Office of the Prosecutor General; Dr. Nataliia Nestor, the Deputy Director of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise in the Ministry of Justice; and Vladyslav Vlasiuk, an advisor on sanctions in the Office of the President of Ukraine.  The three were among the Ukrainian officials with whom Assistant Secretary Axelrod and AAG Olsen met during their trip to Kyiv in late 2023.  The Strike Force is grateful for its close partnership with the Ukrainian government.

During the event, Assistant Secretary Axelrod and AAG Olsen announced the expansion of the Strike Force to three new metropolitan areas and formally recognized the Defense Department’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) as a partner in the Strike Force.  All five agencies that make up the Strike Force—the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and DCIS—were represented at the one-year summit.  


Axelrod at Disruptive Technology Strike Force One-Year Summit

Caption: Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matt Axelrod of the Commerce Department (right) speaks on panel with Assistant Attorney General Olsen (middle), moderated by U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino for the District of Arizona (left).

In addition to the co-leads of the Strike Force, attendees included Ryan Buchanan, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Jill Steinberg, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia; Markenzy Lapointe, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Alamdar Hamdani, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas; Ismail Ramsey, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California; Joshua Levy, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Raj Parekh, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Grant Fleming, the Deputy Director for Investigative Operations at DCIS; and James Mancuso, the Assistant Director for HSI.

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