People

Stephen W. Preston

Partner

Chair, Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice

Preston_Stephen

Stephen Preston heads WilmerHale's Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice. His work includes investigations, litigation, federal procurement, civil fraud, foreign investment in the United States, cybersecurity, strategic counseling and crisis management.

From 2009 to 2015, Mr. Preston served as General Counsel of the Department of Defense and, before that, as General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is the only person to have held both of these Senate-confirmed positions. During his six years in the administration, he played a leading role in ensuring that the United States' intelligence activities and military operations fully complied with domestic and international law. He was a key legal advisor on many of the country's most challenging and consequential national security endeavors, including the operation against Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Mr. Preston previously served in positions at the Pentagon and the US Department of Justice between 1993 and 2000, including as General Counsel of the Navy from 1998 to 2000. When not in government, he has practiced law at WilmerHale, initially from 1986 to 1993, then from 2001 to 2009, and now since 2015.

For his contributions while in office, Mr. Preston has received the highest awards presented to civilians by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as the Department of State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of the Navy.

Mr. Preston serves on the Board of Directors of the National Defense Industrial Association and, as counselor, on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he has been active with the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security and with the Intelligence and National Security Alliance's Legal Affairs Roundtable.

In 2015, Mr. Preston received an adjunct faculty appointment to teach at Yale Law School as the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in International Conflict and Security Law. He was appointed to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board in 2016.

Honors & Awards

  • United States Intelligence Community Seal Medallion (2016)
  • President's Intelligence Advisory Board Medal (2016)
  • National Security Agency Intelligence Under Law Award (2016)
  • Department of State Distinguished Honor Award (2015)
  • Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal (1995, 2000, 2015)
  • National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (2012, 2013)
  • Central Intelligence Agency Distinguished Intelligence Medal (2012)
  • Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award (2000)

Publications & News

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January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report.

November 1, 2016

Department of Defense Issues Final Version of Key Cybersecurity Rule

On October 21, 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued its final rule on Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services, amending an interim version issued on August 26, 2015, and revised on December 30, 2015. This WilmerHale Client Alert was also published by Bloomberg BNA's Privacy and Security Law Report on December 19, 2016.

September 16, 2016

WilmerHale Named Industry's Most Impressive Investigations Practice by GIR

WilmerHale has been named the Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year by Global Investigations Review for its cross-border work in both high-profile internal and government-led investigations.

June 8, 2016

Stephen Preston Receives National Security Agency Intelligence Under Law Award

The Intelligence Under Law Award is presented annually in recognition of an individual's “commitment to the conduct of intelligence activities under the rule of law.”

June 3, 2016

CFIUS Actions Highlight Focus on Critical Technologies and Infrastructure

In its latest report to Congress, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the US government's interagency body that vets foreign investment with national security implications, reported that it reviewed a record 147 notices in 2014, a 52% increase from 2013. This WilmerHale Client Alert was republished by Wolters Kluwer.

May 17, 2016

Final Government Contractor Basic Data Security Rule Issued

On May 16, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Council published the final FAR rule on Basic Safeguarding of Contractor Information Systems. The rule is intended to prescribe “the most basic level” of safeguards, “reflective of actions a prudent business person would employ.”

April 8, 2016

Stephen Preston Appointed to President's Intelligence Advisory Board

On April 8, the White House announced the appointment of Partner Stephen Preston to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB).

January 12, 2016

False Claims Act: 2015 Year-in-Review

In 2015, the Justice Department continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations, bringing in nearly $3.6 billion in settlements and judgments.

December 9, 2015

Former Top Defense Department Lawyer Stephen Preston Rejoins WilmerHale

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that former Department of Defense General Counsel Stephen W. Preston has rejoined the firm.

June 10, 2009

WilmerHale Attorneys Transition to High-Ranking Government Positions

Professional Activities

Mr. Preston has written and spoken widely on topics relating to law and national security, and he has testified before Congress on several occasions.

Mr. Preston serves on the Board of Directors of the National Defense Industrial Association and, as counselor, on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he has been active with the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security and with the Intelligence and National Security Alliance's Legal Affairs Roundtable.

In 2015, Mr. Preston received an adjunct faculty appointment to teach at Yale Law School as the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in International Conflict and Security Law. He was appointed to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board in 2016.

Practices

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Education

JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1983, Editor, Harvard Law Review

BA, summa cum laude, Yale University, 1979, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Clerkships

The Hon. Phyllis A. Kravitch, US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1983 - 1984

Government Experience

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