Robert “Al” Broadbent represents clients in international trade and national security matters and government investigations in the commercial and defense sectors. He is a trusted advisor to clients in many areas of international trade and national security, including: 

  • Export Controls (ITAR/EAR/DOE/NRC, and EU Dual-Use Controls)
  • Economic/Trade Sanctions Programs (OFAC)
  • Foreign Direct Investment/National Security Reviews and Investigations (CFIUS)
  • Space, Aerospace, and Autonomous Systems Development Strategies
  • Trade Agreements and Foreign Market Access Strategies
  • Defense and Intelligence Project Strategies

Al uses his unique prior experience within the government to help clients solve problems and “get to yes” to achieve results. He served for more than three decades in the federal government, providing sound legal advice to senior national and military leaders. 

Most recently, Al served as Acting Associate General Counsel for the Mission and International Law Division of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Office of General Counsel (OGC), where he supervised ten civilian attorneys and five active-duty judge advocates dispersed globally. As the senior attorney in mission compliance and international law, Al advised NGA senior officials on a range of legal issues related to Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) support for national security and foreign policy purposes. His team managed GEOINT support to federal litigation, exports of GEOINT data and services, CFIUS reviews for NGA equities, and building GEOINT resiliency through international partnerships.

Earlier in his tenure at the NGA, Al served as Assistant General Counsel in the Mission and International Law Division. In that role, he provided legal analysis and counsel on national security and international law issues relating to GEOINT support for U.S. and international partners, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community. He focused on legal matters pertaining to expanding international partnerships, operational use of open-source intelligence and crowdsourced data and acquiring and enabling operational use of emerging geospatial technologies.

Between his roles at the NGA, Al worked for the Department of Defense as Special Advisor to the then Acting Secretary of Defense, successfully concluding numerous complex actions for the Acting Secretary.

In addition to serving in senior legal roles at the NGA and Department of Defense, Al served for 23 years as an active-duty U.S. Army Judge Advocate, where he provided legal support to a variety of Army units, including Special Operations Forces, the 82nd Airborne Division, and a Special Mission Unit. He served as the sole unit legal advisor on multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to retiring from active duty in 2016, he was hand selected to serve as the first active-duty Army Judge Advocate to serve as an Assistant General Counsel at NGA.  

As an active member of the military veterans’ community, Al recently led a team of volunteers to enable the award of the Medal of Honor to Retired Colonel Paris Davis, one of the first African American Special Forces Officers whose gallantry in Vietnam in 1965 went unrecognized due to his race for over 55 years. Prior to that, the team enabled 43 soldiers to be awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in the 2020 Iranian missile attack on Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. Al also founded Themis Development Group, a non-profit organization that planned and managed development projects providing civics education to over 6,000 high school girls in Eastern Afghanistan (a prerequisite for college attendance not previously offered to females in the region). 

Representative Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

  • Served as the legal advisor to National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) senior leadership for national security, international, and intelligence law issues related to Geospatial Intelligence support to domestic and international partners, the Department of Defense, intelligence community, and other government agencies and departments.
  • Supervised the international agreements practice ensuring compliance with U.S. and international partner laws to enable bilateral and multilateral sharing of geospatial information, training, and tradecraft.
  • Advised on hundreds of legal issues pertaining to national security law, intelligence law, constitutional law, domestic support to federal law enforcement, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), and intelligence oversight and compliance.
  • Negotiated international Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) sharing agreements with United Arab Emirates and other key strategic partners throughout the Middle East.
  • Provided legal advice on licensing, copyright, and privacy issues for Agency analytical products.
  • Negotiated data service agreements with chief executive officers of global geospatial data, digital imagery, and crowdsourced data companies ensuring compliance with privacy, oversight, and other regulations.
  • Represented NGA during senior-level interagency working group convened to rewrite the Intelligence Oversight Manual for the Department of Defense.

U.S. Department of Defense

  • Drafted, staffed, and garnered Presidential approval of an Executive Order for the Care of Veterans with Service in Uzbekistan providing recognition and care of tens of thousands of veterans exposed to radiation and toxins while serving at Karshi-Khanabad Airbase, Uzbekistan following 9/11.
  • Initiated review of Defense Department investments in rare earth elements through the Defense Finance Corporation.
  • Drafted, staffed, and ensured successful implementation through the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center of a new Digital Talent initiative for the Department of Defense.
  • Identified, assessed, and managed risk to unit and nation for strategic operations requiring Presidential or Secretary of Defense approval.
  • Advised executive leaders on legal issues associated with sensitive technology acquisition and exports.
  • Leveraged internal and external networks to achieve national mission objectives where no precedent existed.

U.S. Special Operations Command

  • Implemented electronic ethics compliance program covering 30 executives, 350 senior officials, and 60,000 personnel ensuring efficient reporting and oversight of all ethics matters.
  • Managed all aspects of a highly sensitive international investigation involving the United Kingdom.
  • Coordinated federal litigation of national security issues involving Classified Information Protection Act.
  • Reduced labor claims by aggressive management of all disciplinary/adversarial employment matters.
  • Supervised multiple high visibility investigations ensuring precise resolution and close coordination with the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, and Members of Congress


  • “Syria Redux: Preventing the Spread of Violent Extremism Through Weaponized Populations and Mobile Safe Havens,” Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Paper, May 2020
  • “Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan,” In Re: The Magazine of South Texas College of Law Houston, 2008
  • “Rule of Law Development in Counter-Insurgency Operations: An Afghanistan Case Study,” Rule of Law Handbook, The U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, 2008
  • “U.S. Export Controls on Dual-Use Goods and Technologies: Is the High-Tech Industry Suffering?” Currents International Trade Law Journal, 1999

Honors & Awards

Al’s highest civilian and military awards include:

  • Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service (2021)
  • Legion of Merit (2016)
  • Bronze Star Medal (2005, 2007)

Profile insights