Alan Kohler will also Bolster Pamir Capabilities Advising US Companies with Mitigating Business Risk in China
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As rising geo-political tensions continue to affect US organizations with operations in China, Pamir Consulting, a Washington-headquartered risk management consultancy, today announced a new team of China specialists headed up by FBI veteran Alan Kohler.
Mr. Kohler will lead Pamir’s program advising universities on how to manage risk to their research enterprise, specifically when it comes to China. This program will include consulting on National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) compliance, CFIUS compliance, and mitigating IP theft and insider threats. In 2020, universities received $3.77 billion from the U.S. Department of Defense and $5.6 billion from the National Science Foundation, which falls under NSPM-33 guidelines.
Additionally, Mr. Kohler’s experience will be critical in assisting Pamir clients with operations in China as the complexity of bilateral relations continues to grow.
Mr. Kohler comes to Pamir with 27 years of experience at the FBI. Most recently, Mr. Kohler served as Assistant Director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. During his career, Alan held leadership positions in the counterintelligence, cyber, and counterterrorism programs, including chief of the Eurasian Section and Assistant Legal Attaché in London. He also served on the Evidence Response Team and took part in the FBI’s response to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
Mr. Kohler is a recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterintelligence Investigation, and the Exceptional Achievement Medal from the Director of National Intelligence.
NSPM-33 and Chinese Threats to Academic Research
NSPM-33 was implemented in response to increasing concerns about foreign government interference and exploitation of federally funded research. It requires that research institutions receiving federal funding strengthen and standardize disclosure agreement requirements and mandates the implementation of research security programs.
According to a January 2022 report from the Subcommittee on Research Security, “The research security challenges we face are real and serious: some foreign governments, including China’s government, are working hard to acquire our most advanced technologies illicitly.”
Universities typically don’t have the expertise to properly comply with NSPM-33, which requires maintaining the integrity of the US R&D and reducing the administrative burden by standardizing disclosure requirements and processes across all federal funding agencies. This applies to all academic professionals, postdoctoral scholars, students, and visiting scholars.
Failure to comply with NSPM-33 can result in losing federal funding for research projects. In addition to tarnishing the reputation of Colleges and Universities, it can also result in jail time and substantial fines.
“As a direct result of threats from the Chinese government, US universities are burdened with needing the top physical and digital security skills available in the world today,” said Alan Kohler, Executive Vice President, Strategic Programs at Pamir Consulting. “My experience with FBI counterintelligence compliments the exceptional foundation the Pamir team created to help academic institutions successfully continue world-class research efforts safely while minimizing exposure to external threats.”
Risks Beyond Academic Research
In addition to working with academic institutions, Mr. Kohler’s experience will bolster Pamir’s capabilities in safeguarding US corporations with existing operations in China.
US companies have operated in China for more than five decades, including building supply chain operations in what is now the world’s second-largest economy. Starting in the late 1970s, these companies have benefited from lower production costs, access to raw materials and components, proximity to key markets, and a well-developed logistics infrastructure.
While many of these benefits still exist today, the risk of operating in China has dramatically increased as the complexity of bilateral relations continues to grow.
Despite this growing risk, it is not economically feasible or practical for many US companies to exit operating in China. The American Chamber of Commerce in China recently reported that most of its members are not considering relocating their supply chain. “Many of our member companies have been in China for decades, and the majority of them continue to have a long-term commitment to the China market.”
Pamir analysts ensure that US businesses can safely and securely operate in China – and helps them to identify, understand, manage, and confront current and emergent risks.
“Investing in China provides many benefits – but it also comes with risk,” said Thys DeBruyn, President of Pamir and former CIA Senior Intelligence Executive. “Organizations with business in China cannot simply ignore the uncertainty. Alan’s unique skillset and experiences strengthen our existing capabilities and credibility with organizations operating in China.”
Businesses have long benefited from the economies of working with Chinese partners. Advanced manufacturing, world-class research and development, and skilled employees enhance businesses and provide resources to help support and sustain growth plans.
At the same time, there are risks. If you don’t understand the ecosystem so you can assess and evaluate partners, identify, and manage your exposure, your business will face challenges and fail to secure the benefits that China can deliver.
What matters is to choose the right partners so your business can prosper. That’s where Pamir comes in. We will provide the strategic consulting advice to ensure you can make the right decisions, backed by unique insights and the expertise of a seasoned team – partnering with you to make the most of your investments in China.
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