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Federal Strike Force partners with local exporters at FIU Business to protect national security.

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Members of the Disruptive Technology Strike Force leadership team.

The Disruptive Technology Strike Force, a group of federal crime and regulatory enforcement agencies formed 2023in response to growing threats, held an outreach meeting with South Florida’s export community at FIU Business.

The event was designed  to educate business leaders about the U.S. government’s on-going efforts to thwart attempts by “bad actors” to gain access to sensitive technology, merchandise or more.

Led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a series of panels gave exporters and those in the field a look at the threats making their way into everyday invoices for shipments.

“It's a global world and we need to understand what's going on across not just South Florida, but Latin America, Europe and Asia,” said William Hardin, dean of FIU Business. “The beauty of having this event is that we bring people from the industry together along with the different U.S. jurisdictions.”

The strike force, which aims to enforce criminal and regulatory policies, has filed 16 indictments in a 10-month period that include transferring sensitive information, restricted goods or military-grade technology to counties like Russia, China and Iran.

“We had seven cases that involve the transfer of sensitive items to Russia,” said Nathan Swinton, national coordinator for the strike force at the Department of Justice. “These tended to be items like semiconductors and micro-electronics, oftentimes being routed through third party countries.”

Sometimes of the threats come from inside sources, working for the companies themselves.

“Five of our cases involve former employees of U.S. companies who were trying to steal proprietary trade secrets from those companies and with some sort of a connection to taking that technology to the PRC,” he said. “And two of those cases, the victim companies were Google and Apple, which I think is a reflection that you can have very sophisticated companies with very robust compliance programs that can be victims of these types of efforts.”

Greg Maloney, director of the MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program at FIU Business, who helped organize the event noted that “these important initiatives also provide great opportunities for our students to grow and expand their careers in meaningful ways.”

Several students from the program attended the presentations.

“The presence of all the agencies involved emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government and businesses here in South Florida,” said Maxwell Fera, a junior in the program. “Their support and guidance are invaluable for ensuring that our business practices align with national security standards, protecting our technology and maintaining a competitive edge globally".